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October 11, 2007

Comments

Heh. Welcome back EW. Nice to see you had time on the plane to get some typing done.

tekel

Oh no, it took me yesterday to get back into things.

I'm out of town almost all of next week. But then I should be a full time blogger.

This is indeed total scandal porn. The Time coverage has really put it on the fast track.

Great news that you'll be a full time blogger. But you still should put up a tip jar somewhere, sometime -- not fair that we're getting all this great research and analysis just for dropping by. You are as good as any investigative journalist I know of.

That's coming too, mk. Give it a month or so...

I'm just addicted to the transcript. *g*

One observation I'd like to make about it is that it sure seems that the Minority Counsel Caroline Lynch seems to be more like an Administration Defense Attorney protecting her client than a HJC Committee attorney (albeit a Minority representative) interested in determining what the witness knows.

Ms. Lynch continuously seems to go out of her way to attempt to cast doubt on Ms. Simpson's recollection of the "facts". I note Ms. Lynch has no objection to raising objections. *g*

I love how Simpson repeatedly tells her she has already answered her questions--Lynch seems to be trying to get her to slip up. And then she uses that analogy at the end about how she might tell her her dress was ugly to distract her.

The other thing that hasn't been reported is the story with the transcript.

Conyers told Simpson the transcript would only come out if both sides agreed. But it appears to have snuck out on the Republican side before it was officially released.

That, plus the fact that the Republicans tried to stick more than their 3 people in the interview, sure suggests some powerful Republicans wanted to make sure they learned what Simpson has said.

Rob Riley is preparing his own affy, he says. It'll be tough to come up with one that doesn't contradict all the evidence Simpson has offered to show a long-term relationship with Riley. I wonder how much perjury he'll be willing to commit for the cabal.

Mad Dogs, I am glad someone else is as fixated as I am with the Simpson testimony. Lynch did not do well questioning Jill and sounded like an nitwit saying "Objection!". Broderick-Sokel just let the witness tell her that she could not object and it is not a courtroom. That showed a low level of competence as did her questions as she did not impeach anything she said really. But as I posted in a short remark at FDL the information in the exhibit on the dirt Jill dug up on the judge is what is amazing. Judge Fuller leaves off hundreds of millions of dollars in defense contracts in his federal judgeship disclosures, dissolves a defense contraction corporation in Bama and turns around and incorporates in Colorado, obviously to hide this enormous conflict. His ruling in the Siegelman case are Stalinist. I am shocked, and I am a cynic.

BeBe

I agree--and that seems to be the stuff that won't go away. It's pretty astounding he didn't recuse. Which ought to make it easier for a Siegelman appeal to work, not least on his sentencing.

Maddogs
Fuller could not recuse. He had been specifically chosen and prepped to do the trial. The defense contracting has something to do with this and it is his payoff. It is the way Repubs do business. They pay off their friends who do the illegal favors with taxpayer paid contracts. Fuller moved the corp to Colorado to avoid detection, and the great irony is another Repub low level lawyer dug it up. Jill was fine with doing dirty tricks and tailing opponents of the Rileys, until she had adopted a child. The stakes go up when you could get caught and go to jail. She did not want to do whatever it was that was illegal, but she did not want to be the one to cross them and give the affadavit. She dug up the stuff on Fuller to protect herself if they tried to make her do illegal stuff to pay her dues as part of the club. Jill is no angel. She was fine to play along until the stakes went up.

Riley is going to reinject, at this point, with a controverting affidavit? Hoo boy, I would like to know what attorney thinks that is a good idea. Must be Rove's personal lawyer (and Gold Bars wouldn't do it) giving that advice; because I can't imagine who else would. Maybe Fielding. I dunno; you got to be kidding me on that one. I have to look into Fuller's history, and the makeup of that Circuit, to get a better read; but it is not inconceivable that more comity than you would think is accorded Fuller despite his malfeasance.

EW -- do you ever sleep or turn your mind off? ;-) Jiminy!

I have had the thought a time or two that Ms. Simpson really has some intestinal fortitude to come forward and testify as she has. It is nice to know that someone has the ability to tell right from wrong, and do what is right regardless of their political affiliations...

As for the transcript being leaked from the HJC, could that have been around the time that a couple of notable personages who worked in the WH turned in their resignations?

bmaz,
Can you imagine how angry the Rileys are? Rob shooting off his mouth for years to a colleague and friend who he thinks is also a bottom feeder , he must be furious. His father, the Gov is probably even more angry at his son spilling the beans. I wonder was Rob was trying to impress Jill or something. Why would he tell the big secrets to a minor player like Jill, unless she is lying and in much deeper than she admits. She was apparently afraid to do the affadavit beyond dissing a federal judge. She has supposedly been run off the road in her car, and her house burned. Who is she afraid of and why?

BeBe - Oh, the Rileys must think they are Sadaam during shock and awe. Broadsides right in the middle of their arrogant Rethug battleship. And not just the old man, the kid is having his little wingnut career arc blown to smithereens before he even ascends to his supposedly god given rightful place. I'll say this much, there is something (like the truth we have been speculating on) that scares the crap out of the big Beltway boys on this; else there would have been a lot more organized powerful effort from the big guns to squash this little backwater (to the DC folks anyway) dustup right from the get go. As Ms. Hamsher would say, I kind of kept the powder dry on this for quite a while; but I am beginning to think that whoever it was that said early on that the Seigelman mess was the Holy Grail combining all the dung in one vessel, was right. If I were Riley the younger, I would not be drafting out an affidavit to further cement my involvement in this cesspool; I would be planning an extended vacation to somewhere tropical and sparsely populated. Winter is coming; it is nice down there......

If I were John Conyers, I'd haul Rob Riley's ass to DC tomorrow, because he's hatching a cover story:

"I'm working right now on an affidavit I plan to file with the committee addressing the untruthfulness of Ms. Simpson's testimony," said Rob Riley, a Birmingham lawyer.

When asked if he is willing to testify under oath before the committee, he said, "Absolutely." He said he has not been called to testify.

Simpson's hearsay testimony and Rob Riley's willingness to testify puts pressure on the committee to force reported participants in a November 2002 telephone call Simpson said she overheard to testify.

[snip]

Thomas Gallion III, who represents Simpson "on a limited basis," said she has been told not to discuss the matter publicly.

Gallion said that since Rob Riley once said he barely knew Simpson, a classmate at the University of Alabama, anything he says has to be taken with a grain of salt.

"Jill Simpson has shown me, and I have witnessed with my own eyes, she has represented Rob Riley in plaintiff cases and has canceled checks and documents ... and I believe what she says is true," Gallion said. "What they ought to do with everybody involved (on Rob Riley's side) is to go to Washington and testify."

[snip]

Rob Riley said errors in Simpson's testimony lead to questions about her overall testimony.

In 143 pages of testimony, Simpson said Rob Riley once mentioned e-mailing something to a "Karl." "I believe that is Karl Rove," Simpson testified. Rob Riley said "Karl" was Atlanta attorney Karl Dix.

Dix said in a phone interview that he had worked with Rob Riley and Simpson on a FEMA cleanup contract. "Rob did give me an e-mail in 2002 and I was the Karl in the e-mail," Dix said.

bmaz
I agree with you that the whole Repub party in Alabama is probably in shock. I do not think they were aware of how much detail Jill would go into, or that she dug up the dirt on the judge who she claims she did not know. If Jill did not know Fuller before all of this before Siegelman, it would indicate Fuller was fairly small potatoes until he was chosen to be a Rove judge to go after Dems. This is all coming out before a completely irreversible takeover of the state could be done. Siegelman was one of the last to be gotten rid of and they went overboard and got sloppy. This truly is a criminal conspiracy. I feel certain that this is why Rove and Gonzales resigned when they did. They managed to slip by with everything else, but this is something that anyone can understand. It will scare anyone to know that they could be tried and imprisoned for basically nothing. Siegelman's attorney knew about the judge and the conspiracy to go after him, when they filed for Fuller to recuse from the sentencing. Fuller had the balls to deny it, then seal it so the defense could not speak of it to the press. The proscecutors and Fuller tried to spin it to the press after silencing Siegelman's attorneys. They must have known they were caught and they would have to brazen it out or Karl would get them.

here's a thought i've been playing with for a while based on my reading of scott horton and e'wheel over the last several months.

i think that the siegelman case, and perhaps that of mississippi attorney paul minor, was a test model which convinced rove and bush of the great value, following the 2004 election,

of replacing uncooperative u.s. attorneys with republican party loyalists.

with rove's and main doj's help, the u.s. attorney in alabama, leura canary, went after siegelman repeatedly over several years, contributing to a siegelman loss in a statewide election and eventually a conviction and imprisonment.

before his conviction this year, siegelman endured two previous indictments. these had been thrown out by a judge (and maybe by a jury - though i'm going here from memory).

so here's the hypothesis:

alabama politicians, the doj, and rove go after siegelman, eventually successfully.

in doing so, they effectively take him out of alabama politics -

due to his need for time and money to defend himself

and due to the allegations of misconduct on his part.

in the same time frame, a mississippi trial lawyer, paul minor, who funded democratic efforts in that state was charged with CRIMINAL campaign finance infractions and now sits in jail - like siegelman.

hey,

karl must have thought to himself,

this legal stuff works great.

it REALLY is our ticket to the second coming of william mckinley:

just take out a few democratic governors or candidates for governor, by accusing and indicting them, intimidate the hell out of wealthy democratic donors by setting them up on false charges and jailing them.

and you can win control of another 2-6 senate seats, house seats, governorships, or state legislative bodies.

so,

after the 2004 election rove and bush and gonzales began to systematize this little jewel of a strategy.

what to do?

put highly loyal republicans in u.s. attorneys seats throughout the nation.

and then watch unfold, in state after state, efforts and effects similar to those in the siegelman case in alabama:


- in wisconsin a state travel section employee was indicted, tried, and sentenced by the u.s. attorney's office in order to defeat the re-election of the state's democratic governor.

- in new mexico they tried to play the game in order to save heather wilson's seat, but david iglesias would not play.

- in the us.s. senate race in new jersey.

post 2004, perin preparatioin for 2008, they would also have liked to play the game in in missouri, in arkansas, in washington state, and no doubt other states.

the model:

the white house/rove's office plays liaison between state republican party members who "initiate" complaints against democratic politicians in that state.

the u.s. doj encourages, facilitates, or demands that its u.s. attorneys bring charges against democratic state figures - governor, senator, congressman, attorney general, lt. governor, etc. - based on these complaints.

compliant media report the charges of democratic "corruption" in highly charged, but uncritical, dispatches

pretty neat huh?

TPM, et al detected the pattern of replacing u.s. attnys

and e'wheel and others analyzed it.

but what wasn't clear, at least to me, was that all these replacements were part of a masterplan to destroy the careers and electoral chances of democratic leaders throughout the united states,

which was to begin with replacement of uncompliant u.s. attorneys like david iglesias.

I've gotten through only about half of Jill Simpson's testimony; what strikes me is how eager she is to get out as much information as she can. One of her lawyers keeps reminding her to just answer the question that was asked (as any good lawyer would) but she seems to be hell bent to tell all and mention as many names as she can. I quess this may be her only chance to get her story on the record, and she certainly has a good story to tell.

orionATL
You are correct but it goes further back than even the Bush administration. Rove stated running campaigns to take over the state judiciary of Alabama and Texas. He wanted to control the courts thus the political system and economy. To do this he had to start small because it had not been done like this before (political machines maybe did it previously) and he needed somewhere small and cheap to experiment, hence Alabama a small poor state. He needed a way to finance this and he got the corporations to fund, hence TORT REFORM. Corporations were tired of paying out settlements to people who were supposed to just crawl off in the woods and die and leave them alone. Thus Karl got what he wanted and so did the corporations. This is the basic goal of the Federalist Society which mostly a frat pack for the well connected and criminally inclined. By taking over the courts they control everything. They can restrict who can bring cases to court, limit awards, and most importantly control elections, not to mention get rid of political opponents permanently and supposedly legally.

orion

They're doing the same against Jeffrey Feiger here in MI.

OrionATL, it is funny but some of the same thoughts crossed my mind recently -- but not nearly in such great detail. I always felt there had to be some big motive behind the US Attorney firings beyond simple political gain. The Republicans will moan that we are conspiracy theorists, but it makes a hell of a lot of sense to me! YOu did a fine job of connecting the dots!

So how the heck do we get this out to people and make them pay attention to how absolutely corrupt the Republicans are (I no longer consider myself one, because this is NOT my Republican party)? Alabama citizens used to be pretty good at lynchings... Riding peoople out on a rail used to be pretty embarrassing, or was supposed to be.

Better yet, how do we get the Dem leadership in DC to stop rolling over and playing dead? They are the best hope that we have, but if they are not going to fight to help us restore our country to some semblance of what it was, then what good are they?

As EW pointed out, Riley is already trying to blunt the truth (and I pray that it is!). It is almost like we have to (and I am condoning this literally) take them out and drive stakes through their hearts and shoot them three times will silver bullets or something to make them go away.

Thanks EW for all the fine reporting!

I'm with bmaz, Riley the Streaker is about to veer into the briar patch.

Looks like Canary called Rove to 'get rid' of Siegelman. And now Canary's 'boy' Riley is firewalling for both Canary and Rove with the really, really flimsy Karl Dix bright shiny object e-mail.

http://www.harpers.org/archive/2007/06/hbc-90000351

"The curtain was pulled back on this plan when Dana Jill Simpson, a Republican lawyer who previously worked on a campaign against Siegelman, decided to blow the whistle. Her affidavit described William Canary, a legendary figure in the Alabama GOP, bragging that “his girls” would take care of Siegelman. Canary’s wife is Leura Canary, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama. Alice Martin, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama is a close confidante of Canary’s. He referred repeatedly to “Karl,” assuring that “Karl” had worked things out with the Justice Department in Washington to assure a criminal investigation and prosecution of Siegelman. Canary is a close friend of Karl Rove, and I have documented their long relationship in another post."

(snip)

"However, those who have dismissed Simpson are in for a very rude surprise. Her affidavit stands up on every point, and there is substantial evidence which will corroborate its details."

bebe

you're right.

it does indeed go back further than siegelman in alabama.

my take, just from reading james moore and joshua green, is that rove's alabama laboratory for testing political corruption goes back at least to a judicial election in, it think, the '90's

(i would rather talk than research,so, be forewarned: fact-check!).

the reason i remember reading about that campaign was that it seemed so vicious, so astonishingly amoral:

- the judge holding the seat was a democrat who had a fine reputation as a judge who cared about and actively worked to do something for the welfare of children who came under his purview.

rove's campaign turned this man in to a "pedophile by rumor".

the particular campaign technique that rove used, as i recall, was that if one wanted to start a rumor about a political candidate, the best place to go to do the foul deed was the univ of alabama law school. and that's where rove went with his rumor.

but this prior history aside,

my point earlier was that i think it may be the case that alabama was the lab where rove stumbled upon, tested, and perfected a strategy for fatally damaging democratic candidates

by using fanatically loyal u.s. attorneys and judges to attack democratic politicians with federal law.

a strategy which he subsequently attempted to institutionalize following the 2004 election.

aside: why is it, or is it, the case that no state law has been applied by state officials in these various political fraud cases? why only federal law and only u.s attorneys?


http://www.drought.unl.edu/dm/12_week.gif

If there's a conspiracy to go after Democratic pols at DOJ, why is it that in Alaska the Feds are going after Republicans? (Besides the fact that there are no Democrats to go after.) Are we just a unique situation? Does anyone have a clue? Also, does anyone know anything about Nicholas A Marsh and Edward P Sullivan (the two Public Integrity Section attorneys working the Alaska cases) and Joseph Bottini and James Goeke (The two Assistant US Attorneys on the cases)? If you do, email me - there's an email link in the blog profile.

The corruption is so endemic and systemic up there that even the Bush Administration had to finally do something. Stevens turning into an ever battier loose cannon; probably figured they could earn some offset points for actually prosecuting some Goopers that were throw aways anyway; then install some shiny new crooks in their place.

It's worth pointing out, IMO, that there were serious allegations of organized FEMA fraud by Joe Allbaugh in AL shortly before, IIRC, the 2002 elections. IIRC, the outline of the allegations were that FEMA money, in fairly large chunks, was going to faith-based hurricaine relief orgainizations that were fronts for GOTV efforts. There was a flurry of rumors/stories, then a federal investigation that seemed like it was going to address the issue but ended up just indicting a bunch of individuals for fraud and never mentioned the GOTV front groups. Based on what we know now about the USAs involved, the investigations were probably run to cover up what was going down and not real investigations. I've been surprised that the matter hasn't resurfaced.

Also, just a footnote, I've also been surprised that various journalist players in the Siegelman prosecution and other GOP games--Eddie Curran and Quinn Hillyer at the Mobile Register--haven't been mentioned so far. And, I think it's odd that there hasn't been a peep about Mayer Mitchell or Howard Bronson, as well as other background players in AL.

anon

Very very interesting.

Also, what do you mean with your comment about the "various journalist players"? Horton has been talking about how involved they are in all this. Or is there something more?

Steve

I think they may have made a mistake when they hired Cohen, who should have been a nice player for DOJ. Instead, he let the investigation go forward. Though, FWIW, Bush refused to allow either Stevens or Murkowski (either one) input on the USA selection.

EW
I think that some of the journalists, and I use that term loosely, are ex Repub staffers and do not provide the readers in Alabama with that information to consider when reading their columns and stories. It is rather incestuous if you know what I mean. I think I read that several of the players in this also belong to the same very large church in B'ham. I may be getting some things backwards as I read it a few months ago. But there is something creepy about these people, and I cannot quite figure out why.

i realize there is an investigation of sorts underway in the congress and another one at the doj under glenn fine,

but i am wary of democratic congressmen

and i am really desirous of seeing serious consequences befall all those involved in using the doj for political gain in the siegelman and similar cases.

so,

we have had many discussions here in the past about impeachment - of bush, of cheney, of gonzales.

but those impeachments, however merited, were never more than electrons in a wire, given the weakness of the opposition to the bush admin.

however,

impeaching a judge or a u.s. attorney is both feasible and manageable, politically and administratively, within the congress.

if i recall correctly and i'm not certain i do, it is also proof against a presidential pardon.

i'll be perfectly happy to let the law run its course with the siegelman matter and those other cases across the u.s. spawned by it's "success",

but if there is not specific punishment in terms of jail time and disbarment (for lawyers and judges),

then i vote for impeachments, e.g., judge fuller, pryor, hillerman, gonzales and complicit deputies.

a decision to proceed is still a long way down the road, but i mention it out of profound distrust of the long-term vision of the democratic senators and representatives currently serving.

at times they seem to have only slightly greater moral clarity than the republicans.

deals are a necessary part of congressional interaction,

but in the siegelman case, and its relatives,

there must be specific, painful professional and personal punishment

which (one prays) will serve as powerful disincentive to ever again attempt this soviet-style amalgamation of the party and the state.

"It sure does make you wonder what Stewart Hall got in exchange for giving his core business away for free, doesn't it?"

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/1/12/153044/479

Mr. Hall [founder of the Federalist Group] has a remarkable string of successes for his clients, and has been instrumental in altering and amending federal policy in the areas of telecommunications, defense, transportation and finance.
...
Mr. Hall served as Legislative Director to Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) from 1992 until his departure in 1996. During his tenure with Senator Shelby, Mr. Hall directed numerous legislative efforts on behalf of the Senator, serving as the Senator's personal liaison to the Senate Appropriations Committee, and managing the Senator's Defense
Appropriations work.

Sounds like Hall and Hillman would both be nice to hear from -
http://www.harpers.org/archive/2007/07/hbc-90000509

Mary - In addition to hearing from Hall and Hillman on Siegelman, I'd also like to hear from Bradbury regarding the two recent secret torture memos - his work is likely to stand out for being particularly egregious examples of 'Bending the Law to fit the Policy.'

It would also be interesting to see if Bradbury understands the Geneva Convention like The Schloz understood the DoJ Policy Handbook? Perhaps both of them had to call 'higher ups' every day for guidance?

I understand your feelings about Comey and Goldsmith, and I feel the same way about them personally - they aren't knights in shining armor with nary a fault. I see Goldsmith as a skillful 'framer' of perspective, but too soft on accountability. Comey, otoh, comes across as a strong and decisive, but blunt, enforcer of the Law.

But politics, the art of what's possible, makes for strange bedfellows, as they say.

For six years now, We on the Left have been powerless to challenge Bush's Ideological Agenda. He gets what he wants, and he dismisses anyone or any body of standards that would attempt to constrain him as either Irrelevant (external) or Disloyal (internal.)

Until the mid-terms in 06, We were being shoved around the BushCo Bully Ring for their amusement.

What makes Comey significant, imho, is that he stepped forward, as a member of BushCo, and drew a line with Bush. A line he, and many of his senior peers at DoJ, were willing to resign over if crossed.

And that's the source of our common ground with him, imho - We both agree that principle, the Rule of Law, should not only inform Our Standards of Civil Conduct, but also serve as a Uniform Guide for its Enforcement - equally for all.

We can collaborate together, the Left and Comey, to use the Rule of Law to herd Bush and the Crusaders back into the fold of normal, everyday American citizenship and away from the Madness of King George and his Separate Kingdom of the Elites.

That's where Goldsmith comes in. He wants to 'immunize' the Loyalists before Bush leaves office. He doesn't want them to be liable/responsible/accountable for 'following orders.' He sees them as having Battered Subordinates Syndrome, and he's sympathetic. He wants to give them a pass.

Which is why I really feel we have to fight and keep blanket Immunity out of the FISA revision bill. If we give Immunity to the Telecoms without first letting the Courts determine Liability - without knowing what laws were broken and how much damages caused - then we've set a precedent that could easily be rolled right over to the Loyalists.

We need to rally Goldsmith and the Dems to a "Validation of System Integrity/Privacy Protection/Personal Accountability"-type Standard, before Granting Immunity, whether it's for the Telecoms, Loyalists, CIA, FISA, etc.

Other than the common ground on principle, and respect for the Rule of Law, I don't think Comey and Goldsmith would come to our parties.

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