« Gaffe of the Day | Main | Pray for Cathy Seipp »

The Politico: Gonzales To Be Replaced

According to a report in The Politico, linked to on Drudge, the White House is looking to replace Gonzales, and McNulty is supposed to resign soon as well:

Republican officials operating at the behest of the White House have begun seeking a possible successor to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, whose support among GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill has collapsed, according to party sources familiar with the discussions.


Among the names floated Monday by administration officials are Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and White House anti-terrorism coordinator Frances Townsend. Former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson is a White House prospect. So is former solicitor general Theodore B. Olson, but sources were unsure whether he would want the job.

Republican sources also disclosed that it is now a virtual certainty that Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty, whose incomplete and inaccurate congressional testimony about the prosecutors helped precipitate the crisis, will also resign shortly. Officials were debating whether Gonzales and McNulty should depart at the same time or whether McNulty should go a day or two after Gonzales. Still known as "The Judge" for his service on the Texas Supreme Court, Gonzales is one of the few remaining original Texans who came to Washington with President Bush.

I don't understand why the White House collapsed on this issue. Bush and Gonzales did nothing wrong and giving in gives the impression that they did. Every time Bush gives in, the Democrats become more emboldened and ramp up their political attacks.


TrackBack

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The Politico: Gonzales To Be Replaced:

» Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator linked with Gonzales tells U.S. attorneys that he’s sorry

Comments (50)

Boy, that's a pretty blanke... (Below threshold)
ChrisO:

Boy, that's a pretty blanket statement. "Bush and Gonzalez did nothing wrong." Since all of the relevant documents are still being released, how the hell do you know? And really, if the Clinton White House learned that a US attorney was about to indict a senior member of the administration, and the next day e-mails were flying arounbd calling the USA a "problem" and planning how to get rid of her, would you be shrugging your shoulders and saying "What a coincidence?" Can't you at least admit that the current "coincidence" bears a little more looking into before you absolve Bush and Gonzalez of any blame?

How about Michael Brown? He... (Below threshold)
groucho:

How about Michael Brown? Herr vonRumsfeld? How about Bush's college roomate, if there are any who haven't already been rewarded with plum positions? Harriet Miers? No that probably wouldn't fly at this point. Prince Bandar? Probably really should be a lawyer, you know, for appearances. How about one of the Shapiros from Shapiro and Shapiro? They look like they would do just about anything. Hey, what about Ann Vampirella? She's a legal scholar, right?

Whatever you do, don't pick a strong independent jurist, that would be so un-American!

Whatever you do, d... (Below threshold)
Whatever you do, don't pick a strong independent jurist, that would be so un-American!

That depends on what you consider "independent" and you're just another in the long line of cockroaches who apparently are infesting this place tonight? Cut down on the question marks sally...you look like you're having a foaming at the mouth seizure.

Mullah Cimoc say ameriki ne... (Below threshold)
Mullah Cimoc:

Mullah Cimoc say ameriki need investigation for understanding mind control of ameriki people by controled usa media.

please googling: mighty wurlitzer +cia

what part him drudge playing? Not knowing now but for true roger ailes (now control of fox news mind control operations) him recruit the mr. limbaugh and the mr. hannity (stupid man of new york), him groom and train and the syndication.

Is for control the mind? Thinking yes this so ovbvious.

[email protected]

Boy, that's a pretty bla... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

Boy, that's a pretty blanket statement. "Bush and Gonzalez did nothing wrong." Since all of the relevant documents are still being released, how the hell do you know?

The President has the right to fire the attorneys for any reason he sees fit. Thus, by definition, nothing was done wrong.

I'm guessing libs expect to NEVER gain the White House again as you seem quite obsessed with removing all Constitutional powers from the Executive branch.

And really, if the Clinton White House learned that a US attorney was about to indict a senior member of the administration, and the next day e-mails were flying arounbd calling the USA a "problem" and planning how to get rid of her, would you be shrugging your shoulders and saying "What a coincidence?"

Several of the ones turfed in 1993 were in active investigations of Democrat crimes.

Just saying.

Whatever you do, don't pick a strong independent jurist, that would be so un-American!

Like Janet Reno? Or Web Hubbell?

BWA HA HA HA!
-=Mike

"I don't understand why the... (Below threshold)
semanticleo:

"I don't understand why the White House collapsed on this issue. Bush and Gonzales did nothing wrong and giving in gives the impression that they did. Every time Bush gives in, the Democrats become more emboldened and ramp up their political attacks."

The Dem leadership sure hasn't given Bush any reason to display an empty ball-sack of late. Maybe someone
castrated him in his sleep.

I don't understand why t... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I don't understand why the White House collapsed on this issue.

That's because you believe this:

Bush and Gonzales did nothing wrong

Once you wake up it becomes much clearer.

I think it's long past time... (Below threshold)
John F not Kerry:

I think it's long past time for the administration to put its aces on the table and go after corrupt Dems like Harry Reid and William Jefferson. What does Bush have to lose politically? Job approval points? This "new tone" crap has got to end. It's already a handicap match with the media fighting tooth and nail for the Dems.

"Every time Bush gives in, ... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

"Every time Bush gives in, the Democrats become more emboldened and ramp up their political attacks."...hmmm sounds like Bush is doing "cut and run" to me..
....perhaps though...he is sending a message..as Alberto's family may have arrived here as illegal aliens...maybe Bush is taking a stronger stand on immigration..
From TV..
BLITZER: Give us your -- tell our viewers who aren't familiar your personal story, how you got to where you are, your grandparents, your parents. They struggled, they came here. I don't know if they came here legally or illegally. But give us the story.

GONZALES: Well, three of my grandparents were born in Mexico. They came to Texas. My parents -- both my parents were born in Texas extremely poor. My mother...

BLITZER: When they came to Texas, were they legally documented, were they un-legally documented?

GONZALES: You know what? It's unclear. It's unclear"...

and everyone here at Wizbang.. can't we all agree on that? After all the immigration of our familes here is "unclear"...right?

Gonzales messed up in a maj... (Below threshold)
Michael Evilcorn:

Gonzales messed up in a major way by saying the White House had nothing to do with the firings, and that they were fired due to performance reasons. The email and reviews don't back that up. That goofy comment about not knowing what his chief of staff was doing didn't help. What he should have said was the president can fire whoever he wants, end of story.

I'm glad he's toast. I generally support Bush, but this immigration stuff, and the weirdly inappropriate prosecution and 10+ year imprisonment of those border agents is too much.

MikeSC, excellent as usual.... (Below threshold)
Jo:

MikeSC, excellent as usual. :)

The President has the ri... (Below threshold)
Brian:

The President has the right to fire the attorneys for any reason he sees fit. Thus, by definition, nothing was done wrong.

Does he have the right to fire attorneys who do not pay him $100,000 in umarked bills? And if he does, should we accept that?

I'm guessing libs expect to NEVER gain the White House again as you seem quite obsessed with removing all Constitutional powers from the Executive branch.

Oh, thanks for your concern, but we have nothing to worry about. Bush has made it loud and clear that the President is above the Constitution, and can do anything he wants as long as he calls it "national security". On the other hand, the Republicans apparently never expect to gain Congress again, as they did all they could to eliminate Congressional power from our system.

But hey, at least Sock Puppet Jo thinks you're "excellent". Maybe she can come up with a few puppets to say so also.

Does he have the right t... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

Does he have the right to fire attorneys who do not pay him $100,000 in umarked bills? And if he does, should we accept that?

Actually, yes he does. That whole "executive powers" thing is a nightmare, isn't it? Firing for any reason MEANS firing for any reason.

Oh, thanks for your concern, but we have nothing to worry about. Bush has made it loud and clear that the President is above the Constitution, and can do anything he wants as long as he calls it "national security".

Nothing he has done lacks plenty of case law to justify it. That you are unaware of it is not his fault.

On the other hand, the Republicans apparently never expect to gain Congress again, as they did all they could to eliminate Congressional power from our system.

Such as? Removing the power to filibuster judicial nominees, which seems to be FAR outside of their Constitutionally mandated powers, seems to be a stretch, even for you.

But hey, at least Sock Puppet Jo thinks you're "excellent". Maybe she can come up with a few puppets to say so also.

Pulling a Lee here? Claiming sock puppetry without ever citing evidence of it?

Typical.
-=Mike

Gonzales was always way in ... (Below threshold)

Gonzales was always way in over his head as the Attorney General. His extremely inept handling of this matter with contradictory statements, probably more so moltivated by not knowing how to really do a job on this level than anything. His inept handling created a small crisis and really meant that his days as AG were very limited.

Even the conservative NATIONAL REVIEW is running a lead feature this week condemning this administration as being the most inept conservative one ever, giving conservatives a bad name. Gonzales doesn't really deserve to be defended. He's just another drag on this administration that needs to rid itself of problems, not defend them or hang onto them.

> Bush and Gonzales did not... (Below threshold)
Arthur:

> Bush and Gonzales did nothing wrong and giving in gives the impression that they did. Every time Bush gives in, the Democrats become more emboldened and ramp up their political attacks.

Precisely. Plus there's another drawback. This 'scandal' is so weak and trivial that when the Dems and the MSM spend time on it it diverts them from stuff that could be more damaging to the Pres and his goals.

and everyone here at Wiz... (Below threshold)
Taltos:

and everyone here at Wizbang.. can't we all agree on that? After all the immigration of our familes here is "unclear"...right?

If they came in prior to 1921 (quite possible) and weren't on any of the exclusion lists (prostitutes, chinese, alcoholics, psychopaths, etc.) they really didn't need to do anything to be legal immigrants. I believe that nearly all of the Immigration law to that point covered ports and applied to europeans/asians.

Mike SCYou know, j... (Below threshold)
ChrisO:

Mike SC

You know, just saying something doesn't make it true. Bush can't fire a USA in order to stop an investigation. That's known as obstruction of justice, and even the president has to obey that law. On what do you base your blanket statement? And by the way, firing someone because they won't pay you money is called soliciting a bribe, and no, the president can't do that either. Did you even think before you wrote that?

ChrisO, MikeSC began his an... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

ChrisO, MikeSC began his answer with "Actually"! Isn't that worth a Bullshit Point? And bouncing off his own question marks? Into space, but still...

You know, just saying so... (Below threshold)
Taltos:

You know, just saying something doesn't make it true. Bush can't fire a USA in order to stop an investigation. That's known as obstruction of justice, and even the president has to obey that law.

TITLE 28 > PART II > CHAPTER 35 > § 541

§ 541. United States attorneys

(a) The President shall appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, a United States attorney for each judicial district.
(b) Each United States attorney shall be appointed for a term of four years. On the expiration of his term, a United States attorney shall continue to perform the duties of his office until his successor is appointed and qualifies.
(c) Each United States attorney is subject to removal by the President.

Funny, I don't see any caveats in there about current prosecutions. The obstruction charge likely wouldn't get too far since the president has immunity for actions in the course of his duties (ie. removing United States Attorneys) that can only be overcome by showing a pervasive public interest to allow the prosecution.

the president has immuni... (Below threshold)
mantis:

the president has immunity for actions in the course of his duties that can only be overcome by showing a pervasive public interest to allow the prosecution.

You know, like blowjobs and such.

You know, like blowjobs ... (Below threshold)
Taltos:

You know, like blowjobs and such.

1.) Clinton was impeached, an entirely seperate process from prosecution.

2.) The trial that led to the perjury that lead to the impeachment was allowed because the actions involved took place prior to his presidency and weren't seen to cause an undue hardship on his presidency.

3.) I was opposed to the impeachment of Clinton because the intent of impeachment was to immediately remove officials who commit crimes against the nation, not to punish for simple crimes that don't have any direct effect on the country.

Note how the shadows shrink... (Below threshold)
kim:

Note how the shadows shrink with a breath of reason? Foul critters.
================

If Gonzales should resign, ... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

If Gonzales should resign, it should be because of the handling of the Berger case or the apparent failure of the Justice Dept to pursue the leaks of the SWIFT program, etc... not over some contrived political nonsense.

I agree with Mike. I would ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

I agree with Mike. I would like Gonzalas to go because of his handling of the Berger case and his stance on immigration not even taking in his membership in LaRaza. I want him to go but not for this pathetic attempt of the democrats from keeping the good news out of Iraq off the front pages. ww

TaltosThe statute ... (Below threshold)
ChrisO:

Taltos

The statute also doesn't say that he can't take bribes from USAs. Does that mean he can sell the jobs to the highest bidder? Do you agree that obstruction of justice, if it was shown to have happened, would be an impeachable offense? Using the power of his office to eithe initiate or stop investigations into political cronies? Because he would be impeached and not tried in court doesn't measn the law doesn't apply. That's where the high crimes and misdemeanors part comes in. Yes, we deal with the President differently than other citizens, but it doesn't mean he can just ignore any law he chooses.

"Bush and Gonzales did noth... (Below threshold)
Devil's Advocate:

"Bush and Gonzales did nothing wrong".

So it goes in the la-la land of the Bush cultists... They are all bind, deaf, and dumb.

AG's Strata-Sphere is on th... (Below threshold)
kim:

AG's Strata-Sphere is on the same page with me. This was McNulty's doing and he's been exposed. Maybe others, too.
============================

I agree with the original p... (Below threshold)

I agree with the original post. If Bush caves to pressure and replaces Gonzales he only encourages more investigations, more subpoenas, etc. It's known as enboldening the enemy, I believe.

If he let's Gonzales go, he's in for a world of hurt.

More propaganda; the WaPo i... (Below threshold)
kim:

More propaganda; the WaPo is using the same selective quoting in a Fitzgerald article as Patterico exposed at the LATimes to try to get the useful idiots to think this is all about loyalty to the President.

Check it out; they're blatant.
=====================

§ 541. United States att... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

§ 541. United States attorneys

(a) The President shall appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, a United States attorney for each judicial district.
(b) Each United States attorney shall be appointed for a term of four years. On the expiration of his term, a United States attorney shall continue to perform the duties of his office until his successor is appointed and qualifies.
(c) Each United States attorney is subject to removal by the President.

United States Code of Federal Regulation via Taltos

Your reg cite is out of date. The Patriot Act amended this provision such that advice and consent of the senate is no longer required. It was due to the removal of this provision that the Bush Administration had the confidence (arrogance?) to replace these USAs (one of the emails from Sampson, AG Chief of Staff, says something like "why have this authority if we don't use it?"), then lie to Congress about why they were fired (and still lying to this day - the "poor performance" rationale isn't holding up too well).

Congress is now providing a role called "oversight" that Republicans may have forgotten about over the last few years. This means several things: 1) if there's a new law or a significant change in a law (such as this), Congress reviews it's implementation and enforcement to make sure it was effective and not abused; 2) if it was abused (and there has been little evidence to show otherwise in this case) then Congress continues to dig uncovering more facts about the case; 3) once the investigation is complete (and several staff members have resigned) Congress changes the law so it is not abused again.

That is how our government works. Deal with it. This is nothing new and Republicans had just gotten complacent as they controlled both branches of Congress for the majority (almost entirety) of the Bush presidency.

The President has the right to fire the attorneys for any reason he sees fit. Thus, by definition, nothing was done wrong.
MikeSC

You're right. The president does have the right to fire USAs for any reason (that's not criminal). But if he does so for political reasons, he must be willing to pay the political consequences.

Ah, you're out of date, sea... (Below threshold)
kim:

Ah, you're out of date, sean. McNulty was gunning for Gonzales and shot himself in the foot. And Rocky is realizing that his self-inflicted wound is mortal.
=========================

If the administration false... (Below threshold)
trrll:

If the administration falsely impugned the competence of US attorneys and potentially damaged their careers by claiming that they were being discharged for poor performance when they were actually being fired for political reasons, that is clearly wrong, whether or not the President is legally entitled to replace them.

I must agree with Sean, and... (Below threshold)
Joe:

I must agree with Sean, and add that there is a current urge in liberals these days to see everything as a potential illegal act of Bush. I don't think he broke the law here, but the question, as I see it, is whether the law was misused. Were the firings for political reasons (a legal action, but not ethical by any standard) or not? Further investigation should bear this out, and if Bush is considering letting Gonzales go, then it may be to make the story go away. It isn't like Gonzolas will suffer in his career for this. K street is always waiting for the well connected (of either party).

The real story is that th... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

The real story is that the democrats didn't even know the provision letting the AG appoint a USA without consent was in the Patriot Act. How dumb is that? During the campaign season the dimmers went on and on about how bad the Patriot Act is when in reality, they didn't even read it before they voted for it. Remember, the senate could have filibustered the act thus keeping it from passing. The dimmers messed this up big time. Pathetic. ww

Pulling a Lee here? Clai... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Pulling a Lee here? Claiming sock puppetry without ever citing evidence of it?

Happy to oblige. I await your forthcoming apology. As does, I'm sure, Lee, who nailed Jo.

Nothing he has done lack... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Nothing he has done lacks plenty of case law to justify it. That you are unaware of it is not his fault.

That must explain why two federal judges have found the NSA wiretaps illegal. And I'm supposedly the unaware one.

Who here is bothered by the... (Below threshold)
jim:

Who here is bothered by the *ethical* ramifications, of firing US Attorneys because they are investigating corruption?

Who here is bothered by the *moral* issues of ruining people's careers because they are investigating crimes committed by members of *your* political party?

Who here thinks that this possibility is *good* for our country, and good for the common people's faith in our democracy?

It is not certain that's what happened here. The investigation is continuing. But I think we can all admit that there's a suspicious smell here.

Who here thinks that it's wrong to investigate this, to see if that's what actually happened or not?

It would seem that an investigation into this will either dispel the suspicions *or* address some serious problems, wouldn't you agree?

If not, what do you disagree with?

Your reg cite is out of ... (Below threshold)
Taltos:

Your reg cite is out of date. The Patriot Act amended this provision such that advice and consent of the senate is no longer required. It was due to the removal of this provision that the Bush Administration had the confidence (arrogance?) to replace these USAs (one of the emails from Sampson, AG Chief of Staff, says something like "why have this authority if we don't use it?"), then lie to Congress about why they were fired (and still lying to this day - the "poor performance" rationale isn't holding up too well).

Wrong. The provision you're refering to is for installing interim replacements for an empty seat (different chapter and not what we were talking about). The only thing the patriot act did was remove the 120 day time limit on interim placements.
Does that kind of make the interim part sort of pointless? Yes.
Did congress make it the law and therefore entirely legal? Yes.

The real story is that t... (Below threshold)
Brian:

The real story is that the democrats didn't even know the provision letting the AG appoint a USA without consent was in the Patriot Act. How dumb is that? During the campaign season the dimmers went on and on about how bad the Patriot Act is when in reality, they didn't even read it before they voted for it.

Well, the Senate just overturned that provision 94-2. I guess the Republicans didn't read it either, and they think it's just as bad. Or are they just flip-flopping?

Taltos,I will take y... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

Taltos,
I will take you at your word about the specific "interim" language regarding the bill. But as you note, this provision effectively removes the senate from the process.

And regarding general statements about "Dems don't even know what they're voting for/ if the Patriot Act was so bad, why not filibuster it":
1) Some Dems did filibuster (Feingold most notably) and they eventaully gave in to the political pressure to reauthorize it. Of course, during the time it was being filibustered, Repubs were saying "Dems aren't strong on national security" or some such rhetoric, so you can't have it both ways.
2) I'm not entirely familiar with the intricacies of the Congress, but I have heard about provisions being slipped into a bill after it's been voted on while being worked on in conference, which only involved the Republican majority (maybe always was/still is this way that only the controlling party does this). So my point being, we don't know when this provision was added, or if the Dems could have done anything about it.
3) For all the faux-outrage at Dems for not stopping this provision, why is there no actual outrage at the Republicans put the provision in to the bill and who handed over Congressional authority to the Executive branch with no resistance.

BeforeTITLE... (Below threshold)
Taltos:

Before

TITLE 28 > PART II > CHAPTER 35 > § 546

§ 546. Vacancies

(a) Except as provided in subsection (b), the Attorney General may appoint a United States attorney for the district in which the office of United States attorney is vacant.
(b) The Attorney General shall not appoint as United States attorney a person to whose appointment by the President to that office the Senate refused to give advice and consent.
(c) A person appointed as United States attorney under this section may serve until the earlier of--
(1) the qualification of a United States attorney for such district appointed by the President under section 541 of this title; or
(2) the expiration of 120 days after appointment by the Attorney General under this section.
(d) If an appointment expires under subsection (c)(2), the district court for such district may appoint a United States attorney to serve until the vacancy is filled. The order of appointment by the court shall be filed with the clerk of the court.

After

§ 546. Vacancies
(a) Except as provided in subsection (b), the Attorney General may appoint a United States attorney for the district in which the office of United States attorney is vacant.
(b) The Attorney General shall not appoint as United States attorney a person to whose appointment by the President to that office the Senate refused to give advice and consent.
(c) A person appointed as United States attorney under this section may serve until the qualification of a United States Attorney for such district appointed by the President under section 541 of this title.

Taltos,
I will take you at your word about the specific "interim" language regarding the bill. But as you note, this provision effectively removes the senate from the process.

Indeed it does, and the senate voted for it. It is rather sickening the way that congress seems to take absolutely no responsibility for the things they do.

So how are you guys feeling... (Below threshold)
jim:

So how are you guys feeling about Bush's resistance to having his aides testify even with transcripts, let alone under oath?

Does that seem to you like the stance of someone who has nothing to hide?

Looks to me like someone tr... (Below threshold)
kim:

Looks to me like someone trying to avoid the same kind of perjury trap it took Fitz nine hours to sucker Libby into.
==================================

Firing for any reason ME... (Below threshold)
Railroad Stone:

Firing for any reason MEANS firing for any reason.

You forgot the second part of the question:

And if he does, should we accept that?

Because on the face of it, you seem okay with the idea of a President demanding cash bribes.

Bush can't fire a USA in... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

Bush can't fire a USA in order to stop an investigation.

Actually, yes he can. It's not politically a great idea, but yeah, he very much can.

It's like the pardon. You can pardon ANYBODY, no matter how undeserving.

That's known as obstruction of justice, and even the president has to obey that law. On what do you base your blanket statement? And by the way, firing someone because they won't pay you money is called soliciting a bribe, and no, the president can't do that either. Did you even think before you wrote that?

Again, it is unethical, but yes, the President can fire them for ANY reason. Again, it's just like their power to pardon. They can -- and, honestly, HAVE --- sold pardons.

The possible abuse of power does not mean the power does not exist.

The statute also doesn't say that he can't take bribes from USAs.

That there is literally no limitation on the power --- feel free to point out the limitation that is in the statute, if you believe it to exist --- is not really a debatable point. Yes, he can fire them for that reason.

He can also be impeached for doing it.

Does that mean he can sell the jobs to the highest bidder?

Yup. The Senate just has to approve.

Do you agree that obstruction of justice, if it was shown to have happened, would be an impeachable offense?

Very much so. Doesn't mean the President cannot actually do it.

You're right. The president does have the right to fire USAs for any reason (that's not criminal). But if he does so for political reasons, he must be willing to pay the political consequences.

No argument. The accusations about this, though, are laughable and not remotely proven.

That must explain why two federal judges have found the NSA wiretaps illegal. And I'm supposedly the unaware one.

Read Re: Sealed Case No. 02-001. And the judge's ruling against the NSA wiretaps were laughable at the time and remain laughable to this day. That you are actually using THAT as a defense is just weak sauce.

Because on the face of it, you seem okay with the idea of a President demanding cash bribes.

Stating reality is not support. It's stating reality.
-=Mike

Would be genuinely interest... (Below threshold)
AlexM:

Would be genuinely interested to hear your take on these points from Adam Cohen's NYT op-ed (thanks!):

Some crimes that a special prosecutor might one day look at:

1. Misrepresentations to Congress. The relevant provision, 18 U.S.C. § 1505, is very broad. It is illegal to lie to Congress, and also to "impede" it in getting information. Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty indicated to Congress that the White House's involvement in firing the United States attorneys was minimal, something that Justice Department e-mail messages suggest to be untrue. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales made his own dubious assertion to Congress: "I would never, ever make a change in a United States attorney position for political reasons." [...]

2. Calling the Prosecutors. As part of the Sarbanes-Oxley reforms, Congress passed an extremely broad obstruction of justice provision, 18 U.S.C. § 1512 (c), which applies to anyone who corruptly "obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so," including U.S. attorney investigations.

David Iglesias, the New Mexico United States attorney, says Senator Pete Domenici, Republican of New Mexico, called him and asked whether he intended to bring indictments in a corruption case against Democrats before last November's election. Mr. Iglesias said he "felt pressured" by the call. If members of Congress try to get a United States attorney to indict people he wasn't certain he wanted to indict, or try to affect the timing of an indictment, they may be violating the law.

3. Witness Tampering. 18 U.S.C. § 1512 (b) makes it illegal to intimidate Congressional witnesses. Michael Elston, Mr. McNulty's chief of staff, contacted one of the fired attorneys, H. E. Cummins, and suggested, according to Mr. Cummins, that if he kept speaking out, there would be retaliation. Mr. Cummins took the call as a threat, and sent an e-mail message to other fired prosecutors warning them of it. Several of them told Congress that if Mr. Elston had placed a similar call to one of their witnesses in a criminal case, they would have opened an investigation of it.

4. Firing the Attorneys. United States attorneys can be fired whenever a president wants, but not, as § 1512 (c) puts it, to corruptly obstruct, influence, or impede an official proceeding.

Let's take the case of Carol Lam, United States attorney in San Diego. The day the news broke that Ms. Lam, who had already put one Republican congressman in jail, was investigating a second one, Mr. Sampson wrote an e-mail message referring to the "real problem we have right now with Carol Lam." He said it made him think that it was time to start looking for a replacement. Congress has also started investigating the removal of Fred Black, the United States attorney in Guam, who was replaced when he began investigating the Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Anyone involved in firing a United States attorney to obstruct or influence an official proceeding could have broken the law.

Much more needs to be learned, and Senator Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who leads the Judiciary Committee, has been admirably firm about insisting that he will get sworn testimony from Karl Rove and other key players. It is far too soon to say that anyone committed a crime, and it may well be that no one has. But if this were a law school issue spotter, any student who could not identify any laws that may have been broken would get an "F."

Let's take the case of C... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

Let's take the case of Carol Lam, United States attorney in San Diego. The day the news broke that Ms. Lam, who had already put one Republican congressman in jail, was investigating a second one, Mr. Sampson wrote an e-mail message referring to the "real problem we have right now with Carol Lam."

She had been recommended to be fired OVER A YEAR PRIOR.

Just saying.

Fact is, asking if a crime is going to be indicted is not "pressure". To claim it is is comical and if the attorney felt "pressured" by it, then no, he should not be an attorney in the first place.

Lying to Congress? Good luck demonstrating that a lie took place. Every "revelation" isn't remotely proving this charge any more.

A Congressman's aide calling an attorney is proof of the WH doing something? Does that mean that Bush got part of Jefferson's illegally received cash? I mean, since the President is apparently responsible for the actions of Congressmen and all.

Again, the attorneys can be fired for ANY reason. There is no legal challenge to that. Any attempt to limit it would not hold up to any legal challenge.
-=Mike

Hey Alex, McNulty is sure i... (Below threshold)
kim:

Hey Alex, McNulty is sure in your post a lot.
===========================

George W. Bush said Tuesday... (Below threshold)
Bill t:

George W. Bush said Tuesday evening that he'll allow "relevant committee members on a bipartisan basis to interview key members of my staff to ascertain relevant facts" about the firing of eight U.S. attorneys last year.

If that sounds like a pretty circumscribed offer, that's because it is. Check out all the qualifiers -- "relevant" committee members, "key" members, "relevant" facts -- and then throw in the way that White House Counsel Fred Fielding has described the president's offer: "Such interviews would be private and conducted without the need for an oath, transcript, subsequent testimony, or the subsequent issuance of subpoenas."

Put it all together, and the White House proposal is more about arrogance than accountability: You agree that you won't subpoena anyone from the White House, and we'll let those of you we deem "relevant" talk to officials we deem "key" about subjects that we deem "relevant," but you can't do it in public, you can't have a transcript, and you can't issue a subpoena later even if you think that whoever it is we let you interview has lied to you along the way.

"My administration has made a very reasonable proposal," the president said. "And if information is the desire, here's a great way forward."

The white house is running scared and obviously has much to hide.

Yes, much to hide in doing ... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

Yes, much to hide in doing something completely legal.

You know, you'd think the wealth of joke scandals you people have tried to make stick would have eventually caused you to slow down.

I mean, all the Dems have proven is:

Nobody outed Plame. The Intel wasn't cooked. The WH isn't in charge of determining who a journalist is. The wiretaps were legal. Bush wasn't Enron's puppet.
-=Mike




Advertisements









rightads.gif

beltwaybloggers.gif

insiderslogo.jpg

mba_blue.gif

Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile

Contact

Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links

Credits

Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login



Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy