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November 28, 2007


Under sedation.

Follow-up: Who came to see you in the hospital? Was it Alberto Gonzales and Andrew Card? Or Bozo the Clown and a Pink Elephant?

Do you recall that?

Follow up question: Who did your wife say called her?

Yeah, like his wife never mentioned it after the hospital. That's hilarious. If my hubby's boss tried to railroad him while he was in the hospital, you would not want to imagine the level of wrath that would be incurred. Granted, I don't qualify as a "nice woman", but I would bet you everything I possess that Ashcroft's wife gave him a detailed blow-by-blow description of just exactly what she thought of the s.o.b. on the other end of the phone. I would even bet that that nice woman even referred to the so-and-so as an s.o.b.

Kathleen, you did a great job. You really put Ashcroft in a tight spot -- incur the wrath of his wife or a particular member of BushCo. I'm impressed how readily he weaseled the answer. I bet he's been waiting for that question for some time now.

Thank you Kathleen; excellent work. As to the followup question several have asked about, Ashcroft, unfortunately, wasn't going to answer that either. The mere fact that he dodged the question likely means the correct answer is not the one the Bushies want the people to know.

Phred - You like TNH, the Sawx and the Packers. You sound very nice to me....

Another follow-up: Were you surprised to see Jack Goldsmith and Robert Mueller show up? Why did they come to your hospital room?

For that matter, were you actually surprised to see Gonzales and Card show up? If not, why not?

Kagro - He WAS sedated you know. Hell, he probably really meant to tell them to go ahead with "The Program", he was just delirious.

Oh yes, he was sedated. That's probably 100% true.

But he remembers that he was. So there's hope yet.

Thanks bmaz, I'm presentable most days ;) But, what can I say, there's a reason redheads have a certain reputation, for umm, flammability ;)

Hell, he probably really meant to tell them to go ahead with "The Program", he was just delirious.


I'm not sure what Bush wants people to know, in this case. It looks bad if it was Cheney who made the call, acting as chief executive again, but it looks even worse if Bush made the call.

Good work, directly addressing the ex-AG, and with the most targeted question.
I thought of another question reading a news conference transcript today concerning US State Department policy on torture. Evidently, the State Department is prohibited from saying anything about it, according to counsel who addressed a press conference in Geneva yesterday, part of a several-day meeting; all State's Bellinger would proffer was that Mukasey also wonders how to write a definition of tortcha, so State in solidarity is remaining silent on the topic. In fact Bellinger is adding it is ok to put nationals of several dozen countries in administrative detention without any habeas when the accusations are based on acts as part of a stateless entity. I would ask Ashcroft if he would opine on tortcha, or detention without habeas, but in a college convocation setting that might elicit raucous comments from attendees; and I think Ashcroft already set a clear path of where he was going on the executive detention issue before he quit working at the Department of Justice.

Great work, Kathleen, but yes, such a puzzler: how can he not know what his wife must have said? I mean, some of us have been wives ...

Can someone explain to me the legal restrictions that people like Ashcroft and Comey still face? It seemed to me that Comey especially was planting hints in his testimony and more or less asking people to go further; I understand why he couldn't (or felt he couldn't) talk about classified info and privileged exchanges, but there were other spots where he left little bomblets, some of which have gone off since. This is one of them. The references to Mueller are another. The thinly veiled disgust at Gonzales for talking about teh program in an insecure setting -- "which I will not do" -- is another. That kind of thing.

He's at Cornell on Nov. 29th s part of his Pro Patriot Act Tour sponsored by Young America Foundation. Anyone in the threads close enough to go and ask the follow-up. EW, any friends on faculty at Cornell?

He may have said "I was under sedation" but in his heart of hearts, he meant "It was a sedition" against tyranny and James Comey helped me grow a pair.


A brother and sister-in-law live in Ithaca. She'd have the interest but two kids and a bad back may put her out of commission. Let me know if you'd like me to ask.

Saw a bumper sticker "My Patriot Act is the Bill of Rights"

But real kudos to Kathleen for asking the question we all want answered...
Posted by: Emptywheel | November 28, 2007 at 13:07

Hear hear Kathleen!

... and here too.

As I said in my blog back in August,

Ashcroft sings signs?

As we re-live the moment:

Somewhere deep underground in his hardened bunker, Deadeye takes a short break from potting rats with his laser shotgun to meet with a couple of his toadies:

Deadeye, after removing his headphones: I thought I told you to get his signature?

Gonzo: Bu...bu...but he woke up before we got the pen in his hand.

Deadeye: Drat! Without his fingerprints, it won’t work. And just what the hell were you doing Joker?

Card: I...I...I was holding the paper.

Deadeye: Double-Drat! I knew I should have sent Scooter and the boys.

Gonzo: Ple...ple...please Boss, give us another chance! I bet he’ll go back to sleep soon. Puleeeeeeeze?

Deadeye: Nope! Can’t do! Won’t do! As your punishment, Gonzo you’re gonna have to take his job as Attorney General. And Joker, you’re gonna "retire". Just be glad you ain’t sleeping with the fishes!

Card: Bo...Bo...Boss! Puleeeeeze! Not that!

Gonzo: Bu...bu...but they’ll find out I don’t know shit about the law!

Deadeye: That’s the point! Now get outa here, both of you! And send Junya in, willya? He’s gonna have to tell a couple more whoppers.

And so it goes; just another day night of work for the living dead. More victims, more pleasure!

Would this be to forward?

If you have no obligation to treat that information confidentially, may I give you my private phone number so that you can consult with Mrs. Ashcroft and get back to me?


I know looseheadprop works (as an attorney) in NYC, so perhaps she is a viable attendee?

Mrs. Ashcraft defended her husband in that hospital room so tenaciously it's almost as if hundreds of millions of dollars in potential personal liability and her own future financial health were at stake.

I just let LHP know over at FDL that I volunteered her name as a possible attendee to John-boy's Cornell gig.

As I said at FDL, boy, am I in trouble now. *g*

MD, You are in trouble, Manhattan is about four hours from Ithaca.

Another question for John-boy (phrased in a "suck-up" way so as to get an yes or no answer):

(cough) General (cough) Ashcroft, you took a very (cough) principled (cough) stand during your mortally-threatening stay in the Hospital ICU. Did you take this (cough) principled (cough) stand because of the FISC rulings?


Oh oh, I did say I was in trouble. I was right. *g*

I googled Cornell University in their map section and it came up with NYC.

A normal google would have shown me that Ithaca was its main site. Doh!

Mad Dog. Maybe you should fly to Ithaca?

Actually, maybe I can talk my sis-in-law to go down. She's not that far away, though I doubt my niece and nephew want to learn about waterboarding yet.

MD, I've gotten in trouble googling myself.

It's worth revisiting the only testimony under oath that we've heard on this point, that from James Comey:

COMEY: (John Ashcroft' chief of staff, David Ayers,) had gotten a call from Mrs. Ashcroft from the hospital. She had banned all visitors and all phone calls. So I hadn’t seen him or talked to him because he was very ill.

And Mrs. Ashcroft reported that a call had come through, and that as a result of that call Mr. Card and Mr. Gonzales were on their way to the hospital to see Mr. Ashcroft.

SCHUMER: Do you have any idea who that call was from?

COMEY: I have some recollection that the call was from the president himself, but I don’t know that for sure. It came from the White House. And it came through and the call was taken in the hospital.

So, now with Ashcroft's bald evasion, and George Bush's bald evasion to Kelly O'Donnell's question from last March 17th, I'm getting a clearer and clearer reading that Bush called that bedside:

O'Donnell: "Sir, did you send your then chief of staff and White House counsel to the bedside of John Ashcroft while he was ill to get him to approve that program, and do you believe that kind of conduct from White House officials is appropriate?"

Bush evaded the question wholesale, so O'Donnell asked it again.

O'Donnell: "Was it on your order, sir?"

Bush: "As I said, the program is a necessary program that was constantly reviewed and constantly briefed to the Congress..."


Why can't we pin this story down??? Who called the hospital?

Good work, Kathleen.

"Mad Dog. Maybe you should fly to Ithaca?"

As punishment? *g*

Seriously, upstate New York can be a marvelous place to visit. But not necessarily as winter sets in. Spring, summer or fall would be great.

Winter, that would be as much fun as visiting here in the Twin Cities in winter. Hibernation is the only viable state for us tundra-types.

Mad Dogs -- you gotta learn to ski. Especially out your way, bright blue skies all winter (well, when it's not snowing ;) I'd rather play outside in the winter than the summer any time :)


Skiing? You mean where you're cold all the time, plus you fall head-over-heels endlessly down and down big hills, over and over? That skiing?

In my yute, been there, done that, and much prefer falling down big hills if necessary, in summer. *g*

MD, A trip to Ithaca is punishment only when you have to drive there.

phred, do you ski in NH or VT? I like sugarbush for family fun.


Given that Ithaca (and Syracuse, where my bro lives) is about the only place with more overcast days than my little corner of the midWest, I think you've got nothing to complain about out there in the Twin Cities. I'll trade your sun for our gloom any day.

Neil -- We have friends in the greater North Conway area, so we tend to ski up there most of the time. Wildcat is my favorite, but I'm equally happy spending an afternoon over at Bretton Woods with the hubby who tends to share MD's opinion of the falling downhill thing more than my own ;)

EW, there tends not to be much sun here in the Twin Cities during winter. Tis gray a whole lot of the time from November 'til March.

It may be marginally sunnier than what you get in Michigan hemmed in by those 3 Great lakes, but Phoenix it ain't. *g*

Currently 77 degrees and high thin clouds in Phoenix. We are suffering a cold stretch...

LOL bmaz!

Yeah, it warmed up here this morning from 6 to 25 degrees with wind gusts of 30 mph.

But did you have sun, MD?

We're on the fourth day since we've had sun. It's really bummming me out this year.

Yes EW, it actually did turn sunny about 1 PM today. Broke out the swimsuit and sunscreen in celebration. *g*


I thought you were from that neck of the world (Twin Cities)

Was this your question to Novak? When I read it I thought it must be you or Jeff.

Minneapolis: Anne Kornblut, who now works for The Post, reported back when she worked for the New York Times that you'd been questioned again some time after Rove testified before the grand jury in October 2005. Your book only mentions testifying much earlier, in early 2004. Was that report incorrect, or did you leave the later testimony out of the book?

Robert D. Novak: I testified only once to the grand jury, which is reported in the book.
WAPO 11/26/07

Very good question BTW

Give John Ashcroft a break. He was sick. As a matter of fact he was in a hospital bed.

And what does it matter who called?

By no stretch of the imagination does Janet Ashcroft have executive privilege. Patrick Leahy, John Conyers: Where is her subpoena?

Bush: "As I said, the program is a necessary program that was constantly reviewed and constantly briefed to the Congress..."


Why can't we pin this story down??? Who called the hospital?

From On the Clock

The telecoms have that answer in a large manila folder in their safe. Written on the outside in large red letters, it reads..."Please send contents on this envelope to NY Times and Washington Post if Congress does not grant full immunity to (fill in blank of ATT&T or Verizon) for illegal actions related to FISA prior to January, 2008. Original copy must remain in safe in case the Bush administration convinces them to sit on the evidence related to the call to Ashcroft's hospital on the night of March 10, 2004."


I think that is utterly crass. What next, supoena the Ashcroft children, and then his mother and father?

Jail them all until one of them turns State Evidence, but then what is the crime???

What is the crime this Janet Ashcroft has committed?

Thanks for the leads for people to go tonight to Cornell. I actually live in Columbus, Ohio. I just happened to look up his speaking schedule and posted it -- because the follow-up question needs to be asked... If you do know someone, encourage them to go and give them the follow-up question: once you were alert and not under sedatives, please share who your wife said called to notify her/you that Gonzo and Card were on their way to the hospital -- ?

A subpoena (/səˈpinə/) is "a command to appear at a certain time and place to give testimony upon a certain matter.

Janet Ashcroft is a witness, not a criminal.


As I'm sure you know too, Novak's answer is deeply misleading. While Kornblut's report, strictly speaking, appears to be wrong in reporting that Novak testified before the grand jury some time after Rove did in October 2005, that could simply be an imprecision and leaves open the possibility that Novak testified in some other form - specifically, in a deposition - or perhaps was questioned on a more informal basis. And Novak's answer is strictly speaking a misleading non-denial denial by focusing not on the question of testifying but specifically on the issue of testifying before the grand jury. Novak makes it sound like he only testified once. But we know as a matter of fact that that is untrue: the 9-27-04 affidavit from Fitzgerald states that Novak participated in a deposition on September 14, 2004 - which is also left out of his book. And that leaves open the possibility that Novak gave a deposition or was in some other questioned in the investigation again some time after Rove testified in October 2005. Indeed, the fact that Novak answers the question in the casuistic way that he does make it more likely that he did indeed answer questions again during 2005.

Thanks for the question Marcy. Mine were o.k. but yours was far more interesting. Of course I thought too late about how I should have immediately responded "but your wife was not under sedation" Or should have followed up with how James Comey described Ashcrofts amazing speech that night when he sat up and hammered both Gonzales and Card. Comey described that scene in great detail during his testimony. Ashcroft was not too sedated then.

You know I really expected more honesty out of Ashcroft based on what Comey had said about him. Instead Ashcroft did the Bush administration jig talking about how great they are, stirring up and how history will tell a different story (that is if Perle, Cheney,Feith and Bolton are writing the history books), he even tried to link 9/11 with the invasion of Iraq and really tried hard to stir up more fear.

I thought he might rise above party politics, but instead he looked foolish doing the Bush administration lying jig.

I really expected more honesty out of Ashcroft


I suspect that the House and Senate committees have a certain etiquette about calling the family members of Senators, Representatives, and High Government Officials. I think it is one of those things that is commonly agreed on by each side, for the convenience of each side.

i.e. Or, next time there is a power change, the families of the other side might be paraded up to the witnesss stand, etc.

You must be very young, because I remember Hilary having to testify, and who could forget Martha Mitchell during Watergate.


well you got me there. I don't remember any of that. I was still working on moves to the basket when the Clinton impeachment trial was going on, and I can only assume/guess Martha Mitchell was the wife of John Mitchell back in Watergate which I have only read about.

Still I don't see other wives being called up to testify recently. Do you know of any?

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