Tuesday :: Mar 20, 2007

The Man Who Got Caught Attempting Partisan Fishing Expeditions

by Steve


"These extraordinary steps offered today to the majority in Congress demonstrate a reasonable solution to the issue. However, we will not go along with a partisan fishing expedition aimed at honorable public servants."
--From the man who got caught trying to use federal prosecutors for partisan fishing expeditions

There is bipartisan unhappiness with the FBI and Justice today. Members of the House Judiciary Committee have threatened to restrict the FBI’s use of National Security Letters in the wake of new revelations from the DOJ IG that the bureau repeatedly violated the law in spying on American citizens. But just as quickly as the GOP members made the threats, others began saying the problem wasn’t with the law but rather with the enforcement of those laws. In other words, FBI chief Robert Mueller and AG Alberto Gonzales have dropped the ball on a grand scale.

To that end, amidst stories last night that the administration was actively sounding out Republican supporters on possible replacements for Gonzales, Bush today squashed all that talk. However, the Senate voted anyway to eliminate the Patriot Act loophole that allowed the administration to sack and replace the federal attorneys without Senate approval. Separately, Dianne Feinstein is now on the trail of the former federal prosecutor in Los Angeles, who left last year while investigating GOP Representative Jerry Lewis to go to work for the law firm that is in fact representing Lewis.

And as expected, even in the face of Democratic calls for Rove and Harriet Miers to testify under oath on the attorney firings, the White House rejected such demands and offered to let both meet and discuss the issue privately with Congress without being under oath.

As much as I would like to get worked up over this matter, the truth is that the Democrats are too splintered to pose any real threat to the White House on anything, and Bush knows it. Pelosi can’t even get 218 votes for the House’s binding resolution on Iraq, because an equal number of liberals and conservatives oppose it for different reasons. The GOP watches such disunity on the major issue of our times, and feels no pressure yet on other issues because the Democrats are simply a bunch of cats who can’t and won’t be herded.

Bush is to make an announcement later today outlining the offers regarding Rove and Miers, wherein he will probably state once again that it was handled badly, but it was entirely proper for him to fire federal prosecutors for political reasons and then mislead Congress about it.

Update: Bush as expected threw the gauntlet down, and said he will not allow a "partisan fishing expedition" that will smear such honorable public servants as Karl Rove, Gonzales, and Harriet Miers. He warned Democrats that he will force them to go to court.

OK Dems, it's your move. This is what the election was about: oversight and accountability. Will you shrivel from the challenge or grow a pair?

Glenn Greenwald points out the GOP’s weak claim to an executive privilege defense, given their past positions on the matter

Steve :: 2:18 PM :: Comments (27) :: Digg It!