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July 26, 2007


I have to disagree with you on this one. I don't think anybody in the White House would get all concerned about Harriet Miers getting hauled off by the Sergeant At Arms, but they have to be worried about Rove. I think this is an excellent move because it ups the ante. I will qualify that by saying this is a waste of time unless they are committed to following through.

Perhaps Leahy has learned something new in the last few days.

I'll pretty much join your grumpiness here, with the sole exception that it doesn't hurt to go ahead and have issued a subpoena to Rove to testify and/or produce documents, just to get his refusal to comply out of the way and established for future use. We don't need "the goods" on Rove to ask him to testify as part of the puzzle on these matters, so I don't think that is a critical element. There exists plenty of basis for asking him questions under oath. I fully agree it is not the critical focus we should be having right now, but as long as it is just keeping procedural details moving, I am ok with it.

I go along with the person who commented that asking Rove if he was the one who ordered Gonzo to the hospital to appear "on behalf of the President"--which was clearly a rehearsed line Gonzo delivered to SJC--is plenty. If yes, Rove has issues, if no, then the circle of folks who could order Gonzo around is one body tighter.

Is it possible that they are handing him some rope? If he knows that they don't know enough now, he may say things that he will regret later.

No doubt this feeds the White House line about political motives, because in the short term this move really just serves to keep DOJ scandal at the top of the news heap. It appears political because it is partly political. But at the end of the day, White House claims of political witch-hunting are farcical, and two-thirds of the public are ready to call bullshit reflexively on the administration. So, maybe the political risks are diminished beyond their capacity to damage the overall investigation.

That said, I don't think Leahy would move forward with this without a good file. I think the tectonic plates are shifting rapidly after the Comey earthquake, which registered between a 6.0 and 7.0 on the Richter scale.

They have already asked him nicely several times. It will take time to get the subpoena served and have him not show. So no action anyway till Sept. I don't mind him thinking about it over August.

No doubt this feeds the White House line about political motives, because in the short term this move really just serves to keep DOJ scandal at the top of the news heap. It appears political because it is partly political. But at the end of the day, White House claims of political witch-hunting are farcical, and two-thirds of the public are ready to call bullshit reflexively on the administration. So, maybe the political risks are diminished beyond their capacity to damage the overall investigation.

That said, I don't think Leahy would move forward with this without a good file. I think the tectonic plates are shifting rapidly after the Comey earthquake, which registered between a 6.0 and 7.0 on the Richter scale.

albert fall

But I think that falls (sorry) udner the same category--a focus on Rove when there are other more likely culprits.

It was Cheney's damn program. Several pieces of reporting have already said he was at hte forefront of the response, both then and since. So why focus on Rove, when Cheney is more likely?

I also think that Harriet meirs is so pathetic that she might have been able to garner sympathy. She is clearly not alone and not being attacked by the big bad mean congress, which is what I fear might have happened if they had gone after her tooth and nail without these other examples of obstruction.

I also think that this sets up a pattern where they are blocking every attempt in a very public way for the congress to get information. I think it beats the drum over and over again that they are obstructing justice. In my opinion it says in a very loud and clear way that they are refusing to cooperate and it doesn't look good to the public.

In the end is it possible that they could take out the administration for obstruction of justice since we have evidence that they are all working together to block the information. They are co-conspirators preventing congress from doing it's duty of conducting over sight. These issues all have ramifications to our constitution and to our ability to behave as a democracy.

Is that possible that this is the strategy?? I think at the very least the public is getting a drip by drip idea that Bush is refusing to work with congress on just about every investigation. I was amazed at the number of republican who they allowed to speak on c-span this morning stating that the president should not be above oversight or above the law. One or two expressed the opinion that perhaps congress is being over zealous as payback for Clinton but stated that Clinton cooperated much more fully than Bush is. It's the first I have heard turning the tide so to speak. I think the message is getting out to the public that he is preventing the truth from getting out and that he wouldn't be doing this if he didn't have something to hide.

I could swing either way here, but for the sake of the argument that's my two cents.

Sorry for the double-double.

At this point I have to believe that the line "This response included an attempt to cover up the role that you and other White House officials played in the firings." is very important.

It seems that the turkeys in power never seem to get it that it is the cover up not the crime that becomes the uber issue and the one that brings them down. Frankly I think the HJC and SJC have gone way beyond the attorney firings and are now going for cover up and collusion and one step closer to impeachment.

There would be no way in heck that they could get impeachment going just on the fired attorney issue alone.

"In for a penny, in for a pound."
IMVHO and FWIW, Rove is a lot less likely to be perceived as a victim than the relative unknowns, Harriet and Josh. If SJC is unable to enforce the subpoenas, that failure makes a much more effective sound byte with Rove's name in it. The public is much more likely to be concerned about Karl Rove's influence on US Attorneys than the unknowns, Harriet and Josh.

What is supposed to be so pathetic about Harriet Miers? Sure, she looks mousy, but what does anybody know about her demeanor on the job? I certainly haven't come across anything illustrative.

On The Clock: That's some tortured logic, like saying the purpose of murder is to give electric chair manufacturers something to do. Just because something has a political dimension that doesn't mean politics is the cause. In old tymey terms it's a fallacy known as "post hoc ergo propter hoc."

There are no political risks in this investigation as it's been carried out so far, solely because Leahy doesn't go all Kagro OMGIMPEACH. The Judicial Committees are taking the conservative line on this whose purpose will be to engage a process that conservatives cannot quibble with. This administration is being given plenty of opportunities to come clean, which means we get to repeat this dance of being frustrated by their responses to this state of affairs. It's all of a piece, though. The more times the administration stonewalls the more legislative avenues they cut off.

Somebody convince Leahy not to recess the Senate in August. The
Bushies are waiting 'round the corner..Too much B.S. is in the offing. Shame on us all if it happens.

Scott Jennings is subpoena'd as well. That should have taken place a while ago, perhaps when Sampson, Goodling and Taylor were being hauled in, and before it moved up to the principals. And Jennings is part of a nexus of little soldiers, implicated in the Hatch Act-violating briefings as well as the DOJ firings.

And, if we look at this from a political marketing point of view, having a contempt event happening on Miers and Bolton while pinning the subpoena tail on Rove's elephant--and eventually contempt after *he* doesn't show up, while demanding a special prosecutor, and hearing the escalating mutinous rumblings in the House for impeachment of Gonzo (at least)...it's just great politics.

Back the WH into the corner and make the ugly beast get nasty. Set 'em up to publicly act like the dirty rats they are and keep it going right through the election. Can't buy this kind of long-term market presence and message---going negative without having to say a word. We ought to set up a poll to guess the date De Man goes under 20%...

"What is supposed to be so pathetic about Harriet Miers?"

Robert Bork said that Miers has, quote, "no ability to write clearly and argue incisively..."

If I read the subpoena correctly, it said that Rove and Jennings had to show up with all their documents on Aug 2nd, so perhaps Leahy is considering holding hearings through the Aug recess? Can he do that if the Senate is out of session?

The basic problem with all of this wrangling between Congress and the White House is that we have a Senate half-full of cowardly and unprincipled Republicans who will not take action against the Bush administration. When push comes to shove, they will circle the wagons and protect their own, the Constitution be damned.

I am hopeful that if the Dems keep making the admin spin all those plates in the air simultaneously, plates will start to fall...

I do not think the Congress should take August off.


Agree--I'm absolutely in favor of the Jennings subpoena.

The more I think about it and read what folks are saying the more I think the politics behind the dems strategy is solid. I think they are being "overly cautious", but then I know that they are fearful of "looking" as if they are seeking retaliation.

I got to thinking about how this plays out over the long haul. We have Libby, (let's say you are a republican and you give the administration a pass on this one.) Then you have Libby's commuted sentence. You give another pass. Then you have Harriet Meirs refusing to testify. Then you have Bolton refusing to testify. Now you have Karl Rove who is once again caught in the middle of obstruction. It really does start to stack up and look like the administration is hiding a lot.

I think politically it is working to break down the denial. I was listening to Snow on Blitzer tonight and he was arguing that the administration has offered to cooperate but the dems won't have it. I think his talking points kind of point out what they fear.

They are trying to spin it that they are cooperating. Also he used the whole "grey mail idea". This stuff is secret and classified and we can't take any chances that something would get out that would give our enemies a hand up. It's too dangerous to cooperate. Well a little bit of that might work but at this exreme it just doesn't play out. Unless, we have another terrorist attack. That might shift the argument in their favor. But at this point it just sounds hollow.

I agree that right now they are giving Bush/co every chance to come clean and take the higher path. At each turn he refuses he looks dirtier and dirtier.

We will have to see what they do with it.

I do think it would behoove the dems not to take a recess at this point.

I have to agree with the grumpy and sneezy views. No doubt, Cheney, Rove, Bush are the brass rings. Their corruption has debilitated govt for a decade. But an unrelenting focus on Rove is not a strategy, it's a target.

I think that a focus on Gonzales would readily disclose incompetence and illegal behavior that would fully justify his removal from office (and quite likely subsequent criminal prosecution). It would also very likely disclose mountains of evidence about his closest associates in the White House and the DOJ. Much of it could be achieved within the term of this Congress.

In short, a tight focus on Gonzales would get the Dems where they want to go politically, morally and legally, and could lead to getting Americans a competent Attorney General. I also think that the plot line, the issues and wrongdoing, could be spelled out readily to Main Street America.

Directly attacking Rove, on the other hand, is more complex and difficult, certainly in the time allowed. Bush and Cheney would bring down the govt to avoid Congress successfully toppling Rove. A full frontal assault on him by this Congress would be like sending World War One troops over the top into massed machine gun fire. You may win eventually, but at what cost?

The Dems need a more complex strategy and better facts to win that battle, they're not likely to have them in time. But it could certainly be done via a series of investigations backed by the next Congress and president, and should be. Dems should focus on what can be accomplished in this Congress, and follow up with the large number of issues that will remain in the next one. Or they can do what they're good at and shoot themselves in the foot.

You are not alone... And finally--though I seem to be the one person to insist on this--we don't have evidence that Bush wasn't involved. We have only the testimony of those who didn't interact with Bush that they have no evidence he was involved. In at least one case, we have a report that Bush was directly involved, right along with Rove. You convinced me of this Wednesday during the hearing.

I'm not clear on what Leahy is doing with the subpeona for Rove beside the obvious. Prosecutors like to have witnesses talk themsleves into a corner but Rove will claim executive privilege so we'll have one more in contempt of Congress.



So Mueller goes before the committee today and sinks Gonzales. I am starting to be suspicious of the last two day's events. I am not saying I believe this, but we should be on the lookout for indicia that they are setting up Gonzales, and ultimately us. I expressed some "shiny object" concern yesterday, and I am feeling it again....

Perhaps Mueller went before the committee and refused to lie down in front of the bus? I mean, some of these people have got to have a little self-respect and a sense of self preservation, no?

Mueller was the one who tipped off Comey about the Ashcroft gambit.

I wouldn't bet on it Woodhall Hollow. I've got the same sinking feeling as bmaz. Gonzo is in a corner. Last I checked, Congress is going on August recess. Once recess starts, Gonzo declares that perhaps he isn't the person best suited to "fix the problems" at DoJ. He resigns, Bush makes a recess appointment -- Addington maybe? He's a lawyer isn't he? It has to be someone in the inner circle who knows where the bodies are buried and has swilled their fair share of the Kool-Aid.

After recess, Gonzo is gone, the Rethugs get to declare "problem solved, nothing to see here, move along...".

Mueller may have gone to bat for Comey, but that hardly qualifies him as one of the good guys.

If Gonzo does not resign during the recess, they can still impeach him, right? I do fear that he might resign during the recess.

Then what can be done??

Pure speculation but I'm thinking there's some information that we haven't heard in public testimony to date. I thinking there's been some private discussions and meetings that implicate Rove more seriously and that they are methodically working their way up the ranks to the top as any good investigator does. I'm wondering if they don't already have some damning piece of information or email but are just trying to dot their i's and cross their t's here before nailing him and many others who were obfuscating or covering up under oath. Sounds like they've hit the certain protective tier where executive privilege is the all the new rage....maybe they realize it and are ready to go all in? And maybe I'm just wrong.

...some of these people have got to have a little self-respect and a sense of self preservation, no?

Well, when it comes to Republics in Congress, apparently not. It's downright creepy to see that that crowd appears prepared to hand over the White House and allow the solidification of Dem control in Congress just to protect the lame duck criminals now in charge. That, and Gonzales'smug little smile, make me wonder along with many others if there isn't some special Rovian math in the offing, like a major terrorist attack that none of them could have anticipated. They are just dumb enough to think another 9/11 would work to their advantage, not remembering that their part of the deal, in which the American public traded our Constitution for security, was to keep us safe. That deal gets broken and even wingnuts will join the torches and pitchfork parade.

We Democrats have a habit of hand-wringing and over analyzing things, I fear. Still, I think Leahy has something, besides mere political motive, for going after Rove. There are some leaks coming out, now, and there could e things he has received which could place Rove in a tight spot. So, have faith, children of the future; justice will be done.....and, let's hope that there is no recess. I don't think Cheney will give up Addington so easily, to becme AG, as someone above suggested. That said, I also think Abu is being set up for resignation.

my too sense -- I really really hope you're right, but I would still feel better if there was some public acknowledgment by the Dems that impeachment is an appropriate course of action. Even if they aren't ready to follow that course yet, if they could just admit it is a possibility. I can wait if they need to get their ducks in a row, but until they are willing to state that that is a weapon in their arsenal, I am reluctant to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Katie Jensen -- as I understand it he would still be on the hook for perjury, and I think from bmaz' prior comments he could still be impeached as a way to deprive him of his pension, but I'm not convinced the Dems would follow through on the latter if he resigns. And that would be most unfortunate, because impeachment precludes the executive from claiming privilege.

close bold

Along the same lines do you have any comments on Mark Kleiman's
Plan B (subpoena Libby)?

The subpoenas are looking at two spheres important to professional civil servants, and to lawyers; and many signposts pointed to Rove in turbulent affairs in those areas. The politicization of the Department of Justice, broadly, and the civil rights voting section in particular, though a difficult topic to examine dispassionately in a hearing, is an area Rove can discuss knowledgeably, if only in theory; but if he was guiding the civil rights section purge, the politicians will worry about too much tampering with a system which 'worked'. The issue of vote caging is serious; it is illegal, and the Republicans have endured more criticism for violating voting laws covering caging than Dems historically; check this recent research summary from an intern working for a former voting rights attorney in that part of DoJ. And the US attorney purge based on dual strategies of vote suppression, and interruption of investigations of Republicans, is noxious to lawyers whose life plans involve ascending the ranks of the bureaucracy two ways, as career nonpartisan employees or as political appointees; this scam too has Rove's strategic traits. Even if what is presented by hearing Democrat questioners is 'circumstantial', Republicans on the committee might have a few concerns to voice, in easy questions favorable to Rove. Rove himself probably wants the opportunity to test the mettle of the committee publicly. And whatever documentation the committee requests in followup, with committee interrogatories and Rove written responses subsequently, likely is what Bush-Cheney will nix. I think people in congress who lead the Republican party would like to have Rove announce the direction of the party thru the next elections, and will like him to do that ostentatiously. Unlike the defense in the Libby trial which announced plans to call Cheney, clearly a feint from the start, the subpoenaeing of Rove seems genuine, even an appeasement of congress. His dissimilative pauses will be briefer than the attorney general's; and if the hearing gets heated, some of the accusations for which the committee would like to charge Gonzales would be redirected instead at Gonzales' minding political manager, Rove.

A quick puruse through conservative blogs and many of the trogs over there are already saying the Gonzo should go. They THEN WANT for Bush to do a recess appointment or use other stall tactics to have temp ride out the rest of the term.

It's the first time I've looked around over there, and not suprisingly these folks aren't big thinkers - but what got me is what they seem to want is anything that frustrates the dems.

There seems to be no idea or goal behind any of the comments. They just hate Dems and don't want whatever the dems want. It's really sad. Bush is basically left with a bunch of people whose only real goal is "be sure I'm not going along with those guys" for a base.

One might say they are just a bunch of Star-belly Sneeches.

i wouldn't second-guess leahy, schumer, and whitehouse just yet.

they may have good reason.

for example,

the more different individuals you subpoena, the more diffuse the white house counsel's defense effort has to be.

keeping fred f very busy on different defenses is not a bad thing to do, even if he brought half of his law firm over to the white house to work with him.

aside - who's paying these guys?

for example,

rove has used a back-channel (rnc computer network) for much of his government business - he, and the bush admin keep refusing to adhere to archive/record-keeping laws.

he has also been involved in u.s. attorney manipulations stretching back to guam (in 2001 or 02 ?).

and, perhaps most importantly to the congress,

rove is the most important presidential adviser to a president who has refused to co-operate with any version of oversight.

finally, i would be surprised if leahy and conyers committees are not working together.

maybe the sjc subpoena is part of that game plan.

just some thoughts.

I am hopeful that if the Dems keep making the admin spin all those plates in the air simultaneously, plates will start to fall...

Well we can certainly hope. Although Fielding did hire an entire emergency stable of lawyers who actually have degrees from Harvard and Yale just for this purpose....

To be the rap on the Excutive Privilege, you need to establish that there is some criminal activity involved. The subpoena keeps Rove's feet to the fire while the issue of perjury, and the use of Executive Privilege supported the perjury, lays the groundwork for the criminal activity.

The Nixon case opinion on the question of Executive Privilege and perjury was an 8-0 decision (Renquist abstained as he had just been appointed by Nixon). Even this Supreme Court would have a hard time staring that one down.

I saw Congress is playing this as well as they can right now, overall.

If anyone is still there, on recess appts. here's Christy at FDL:

JPL at 41 — They cannot recess appoint an AG, from what I understand, because it is a Constitutional office which requires advice and consent in order to be filled.

Going after Rove gives cheer and energy to the base and to others on the Hill who are doing their own investigations. Rove is already weakened and another distraction may cause more mistakes.

Going after Rove may confuse Bush as to whom he is more loyal, Gonzo or Turdblossom.

Going after Rove may cause him to flip. Rove is only loyal to Bush. Anyone else is expendable.

The more stories, the more discrepancies. Get Rove on the record.

I want to know where the emails are. Call up the RNC about their magic disappearing reappearing emails. There's gold there.

There is so much dirt here, you gotta go after Rove.

Keep your eyes on the prize. Rove is evil, but Bush is the boss. Gotta go through Rove to get Bush. Not gonna get Bush through Cheney because that relationship is strictly one way. Cheney tells Bush what to do. Bush doesn't tell Cheney what to do. Going after Bush and going after Cheney are separate tracks.

BlustateRedhead - Article II, Section 2 permits recess appointments of Federal vacancies. There is no particular limitation of any kind, much less that you describe. Recess appointments have in the past been made for Supreme Court Justices and the Secretary of State, so the "advise and consent" and "constitutional office" bits just don't hold water. On or before the term of the recess appointment expires (at the end of the Congressional session) the recess appointee must be confirmed through the advise and consent process in the Senate or leave office, but that is the only Constitutional restriction.

not to mention, bmaz,

that law, tradition, and precedent mean nothing to the bush gang -nothing.

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