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October 21, 2007


And Jeff Taylor stays in place to be the guy who doesn't prosecute any contempt of Congress referrals.

But that's on us, to some extent, if we let Mukasey through.

[Get asked questions, lawyer up, resign]

That's my pick too. AG's resignation surprised me because if Bush cared at all about the law and/or appearances of improper behavior in the DOJ, AG would have been gone a very long time ago.

What was the trigger to finally force the resignation? The IG's investigation sure looks like it, especially after AG lawyered up.

If Terwilliger was representing AG before this, and AG confided in him what was going on in DOJ, how the hell could he consider taking the job of Atty Gen? That would be inappropriate, and mind boggling.

Immediately after his firing, McKay said he thought about “going quietly,’’ but then he began comparing notes with the seven other U.S. attorneys dumped at the same time in a historically unprecedented move by the White House.

“They led each one of us to believe we were the only one told to resign,’’ he said. “None of us particularly sought the spotlight.’’

It still amazes me how childish the Bush administration can be. Going out of their way to make people like McKay feel isolated, just to cover for the administration's misdeeds.

wow, I didn't realize Taylor's appointment had been made permanent by Judge Hogan.

Even with that though, wasn't Taylor initially appointed directly by Gonzales, and not technically by Bush, via the delegated authority enabled by the PATRIOT provision?

Wouldn't that fact mean that Taylor would be legally REQUIRED to recuse himself? Can you fairly prosecute the man who gave you your job? I don't think most other USAs would have to recuse, because they have been legally, and technically, appointed by Bush. (We'll have to set aside the reality of who directed Gonzales to do everything he ever did at DoJ.)

In any case, I think the pressure for Taylor to recuse could be overwhelming.

So if he did recuse himself, wouldn't that then give MUKASEY full and unfettered authority to decide who would prosecute Gonzales?

And wouldn't Mukasey then feel an extreme obligation to put the case in the hands of an unimpeachably nonpartisan outsider? (As he is portraying himself?)

So in that scenario, shouldn't we now be watching out for Bush himself to replace Taylor with another loyal Bushie, but someone with no significant ties to Gonzales? Possibly within the week, before Mukasey is confirmed?

(adapted from my comment on Talk Left.)

Hoping the McKay family comes to the rescue for restoring an independent DOJ.

John McKay's older brother Mike McKay is also a former U.S. attorney. He was US attorney for Western Washington from 1989 to 1993. He was also (too bad for him) the state vice chair of President Bush's 2004 re-election campaign. Despite the latter involvement, he does not mince words about Gonzales:

Mike McKay (per The Seattle Times, Aug 28, 2007):
"My initial reaction was, 'It's about time,' " Mike McKay said after Gonzales announced he would leave his post Sept. 17.

"If you simply accept as fact what [Gonzales] has said, that he was not in the loop in connection with the firing of the U.S. attorneys," McKay said, "that is a dereliction of duty and he should have resigned as soon as that became known."

This Seattle Times article ends:
'Mike McKay declined to comment on what the firing of his brother has meant to him personally. But he hopes an ongoing investigation by the Justice Department's inspector general will finally reveal why his brother and eight other U.S. attorneys were fired last year.'

Re: The order of events.....

Indeed, #1 does seem most logical/plausible.


....'some other reason' was something even larger/not quite yet realized?


"....'some other reason' was something even larger/not quite yet realized?"

That my gut feeling as well

Is Jeff Taylor's appointment by the Judge actually permanent, or just a non-PATRIOT non-expiring judicial interim appointment?

I don't know Taylor, but if I were the Bush administration I would pick an apparatchik for the DC USA office, because it's a critical vector in the firewall--more so than any other USA. So Taylor must know--either implicitly or explicitly--why he was selected and what he's being paid to do. Therefore, I don't think there's any amount of public pressure which would force him to recuse himself if he's not legally required to. Outrage over such a refusal would fade, and by 09 he's in a plum private sector position and everything is fine. He could even come back, too, like Elliot Abrams. If we say for the sake of argument that he does recuse himself, and the selection of AG's prosecutor falls to Mukasey, then I say the exact same thing, only louder--the attorney general's office is the heart of their firewall strategy, their (hopefully) Maginot Line, and you can be damn sure Mukasey was not picked for his independence. I don't trust this guy any more than I did Roberts: the way you do it is to say what you need to say and then do whatever the hell you want once you're in office. Who cares if everyone thinks you have a credibility problem? You're still calling the shots. In terms of assuming Bush administration motives, I don't think anything I'm saying is more sophisticated than just imagining the mindset of people who have a lot to hide. It's not hard to outline their thinking and by extension their actions.


Mckay said this before in an on camera interview after he met with oig

Couple of thoughts. I would swear I read somewhere that AbuG lawyered up immediately upon resignation; I guess that still leaves open the question of whether that means the announcement of his resignation, or the effective date he actually left. I would, and I think the common reading would, assume the statement means when he formally tenders the resignation, i.e. the date it is accepted and publicly announced. Now here is the rub with that. As a lawyer, I find it beyond credulity. They did not want to lose Gonzales in the worst way; he was a pliable cipher and the already established firewall, any changing out of the firewall brings unpredictable and potentially critical risk. I have extremely little, if not no, doubt that Bush/Cheney intended to tough it out with AbuG for the last 15 months of the home stretch. Outside pressure and clamoring, that was in the public sphere, did not particularly faze them, or the split would have happened much earlier; so the pressure that forced the divorce had to be something occurring internally, behind the scenes, making it simply untenable to continue. And the Fielding and/or Bolten and/or Poppy Bush and friends ain't it; it wasn't a suggestion from someone, it was a logistical necessity.

Now, back to the incredulous part. The second it is recognized that there exists an issue so bad that divorce is inevitable, AbuG HAS TO seek independent counsel. Even a legally inept twit like Gonzales would recognize that he has serious issues that he needs advice on including, and this is important, how to accomplish the separation with the maximum amount of intelligence and protection for his own interests. And this discussion simply cannot be had with any attorney within the Administration, whether at the White House, DOJ, or anywhere else. Has to be private. Stack on to that the fact that there would be a LOT of issues to cover, clean up all loose ends possible on, and scheme how to address. Neither Gonzales, nor the Administration, would want this to be done completely with Gonzales personally; having him have counsel allows a vehicle to tuck a lot of sticky aspects of conversations under the umbrella of attorney-client privilege.

Bottom line: The only viable sequence is "questions, lawyer up, resign". Here is another potential question though. Was the counsel Terwilliger all the way from the outset, or was there one or more before Terwilliger took charge? Lastly, I think it is a very good argument that any charges cannot be prosecuted by Taylor, nor any other member of the Administration or DOJ either. If it was some other official, probably any other official, it could probably be done with an acceptable level of appearance of impropriety. As to Gonzales, the leader of the DOJ and Administration cabinet officer, the appearance of conflict and impropriety is simply insurmountable.

The Real Gonzales Hearing:

Senator, I've come here not to answer your questions, but to say, "I don't recall." I don't recall who I am, what I've been doing or even who you are. Why am I here?

Please let me ask my new lawyer why I'm here and who I am!

Senator, my new highly paid lawyer tells me I must forthwith resign and spend more time with him.

Oh, and by the way, Fuck you!

AbuG. Just noticed: A bug. Beetle, I'd say.

Cockroach type beetle. As in Kafka.

bmaz, something I have been wondering about: Is there any provision in the law whereby Gonzales' opinions about torture, wiretapping, etc. could be set aside as defective? That would obviously have some serious implications for those who relied on them, but it would also provide a basis for many of the dysfunctional actions this administration has taken. In that way, they could theoretically begin building a case to get off the hook -- that they believed what Gonzales told them.

I know this is reaching, but I keep feeling like these idiots have to have an "out" for themselves. As loyal as the president purports to be, I doubt seriously he and Cheney would have any qualms about throwing Gonzales under the bus to save themselves.

Probably everyone who reads this blog regularly knows who Jeff Taylor is, but you might want to update the post to note that he's the DC USA.

Plame won't be prsecuted for violating other federal employees IIPA. It's all classified and the AG and AAGs weren't obeying the law, so they were fired. It's classified based on IIPA.

So if you were Pat Leahy and you knew all this was coming down the pike in the next couple of weeks, wouldn't you slow-roll the committee vote on Mukasey?

Seems like if an OIG report is going to lead to criminal indictment of the previous AG, you'd really have an obligation to get that aired before confirming the next.

Did you happen to see this comment left at AboveTheLaw.com in its 11-OCT post about Gonzo lawyering up with Terwilliger?

From Terwilliger's bio:

"Representation of a senior US government official in connection with a grand jury investigation involving matters of national security."

So is it fair to conclude that there is a Grand Jury looking in to this?

Posted by: LAST! | October 11, 2007 11:31 AM

Makes me wonder if RossK's and looseheadprop's shared gut feeling doesn't merit a little more credence? Was Terwilliger selected both to interview as AGAG and as AGAG's attorney because he was already inside the fence because of "some other reason"? Maybe he's already been on the books, too, for quite a while, just not on AGAG's personal dime?

A house built upon shaky shifting sand doesn't stand.

Nor does a prosecution.

I wish Gonzales would be prosecuted for his crimes against the Constitution. Torture. Secret prisons. Denial of habaes corpus. Spying on people without warrants or probable cause (i.e. massive violations of the 4th amendment.)

These are much bigger crimes than his petty political crimes (which should also be prosecuted.)


Why don't tap Gonzo phone, deny him access to a lawyer, whisk him off to a secret prison and torture him?

Oh, yeah. That's HIS policy. WE THE PEOPLE recognize something called unalienable rights. But this criminal sat before Congress and belittled habeas corpus.

Really, his crimes have already been exposed. If we had an operating Constitution and elected officials who honored their oaths (to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution), Gonzo would already have been tried, convicted and imprisoned.

A house built upon shaky shifting sand doesn't stand.
Nor does a prosecution.
Posted by: Jodi | October 22, 2007 at 00:17

A shit stain can be cleaned with hot water and bleach. Corruption and lawlessness can be prosecuted under the law.

From Terwilliger's bio: "Representation of a senior US government official in connection with a grand jury investigation involving matters of national security." So is it fair to conclude that there is a Grand Jury looking in to this?

It could be, but I doubt it. Most likely is some other client and situation. I am wondering if Terwilliger didn't represent his old law partner and best buddy Tim Flanigan on something.

"Representation of a senior US government official in connection with a grand jury investigation involving matters of national security."

Perhaps the investigation into the Risen/Lichtblau leaks?

What if the OIG Report recommends a referral for Charges against Gonzo that includes, among others, Obstruction of Justice?

Just like Scooter.

Add to that Refusing Subpoenas by Rove, Miers, Bolten and others and that might add up to...Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice.

Which is exactly what it's looked like for the last 6 years.

bmaz 1:32 -- are they trying to hide what Terwilliger already knows behind attorney-client privilege?

Rayne - If they are not now; they will be soon. I may be full of it here, but, think about it. You have executive privilege on one side of any discussion; and attorney-client privilege on the other side. Combined, that is like having a Romulan Cloaking Device for a whole bunch of nefarious stuff. I have often made the other party to something I was trying to do get a lawyer for just this reason; every now and then, even paid for them to get a lawyer. Easy example is a witness to the crime or crimes your client is charged with. They want to help you out, but have criminal implications of their own, and you don't want them inadvertently making confessions or otherwise inculpating themselves. So you get them lawyered up, they can talk to the lawyer about all kinds of stuff under the attorney-client privilege; and you can then talk to their lawyer off the record, not only about what their client said; but also in the other direction about what your client said, and neither one of the clients is making statements or having interaction that is particularly discoverable. This just seems like a tool that is so blindingly useful in the current situation; that it must be being used to some extent.


Interesting, and plausible, suggestion.


Gonzales resigned when he was confronted with Senator Specter's disclosures that they intended pushing for an investigation on the OxyContin matter, not the firing of US Attorneys. I know, I was the physician codefendant to Purdue Pharma in the $5.2B fiasco.

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