May 27 2006

Good For Gonzales

Published by at 9:30 am under All General Discussions

What I really like about this administration is the people all serve for a hire purpose. They shun polls, they go forth in the face of bad press, and they stick by their positions no matter what. And they do it quietly (something that truly sets them apart from the camera hungry pols and bureacrats who are driven by media attention). So I am not surprised to hear AG Gonzales was adament about holding the line in the Jefferson Bribery case and the search of his Capitol Hill offices:

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, the F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, and senior officials and career prosecutors at the Justice Department told associates this week that they were prepared to quit if the White House directed them to relinquish evidence seized in a bitterly disputed search of a House member’s office, government officials said Friday.

Mr. Gonzales was joined in raising the possibility of resignation by the deputy attorney general, Paul J. McNulty, the officials said. Mr. Gonzales and Mr. McNulty told associates that they had an obligation to protect evidence in a criminal case and would be unwilling to carry out any White House order to return the material to Congress.

The potential showdown was averted Thursday when President Bush ordered the evidence to be sealed for 45 days to give Congress and the Justice Department a chance to work out a deal.

Notice this news is coming out after the fact to explain why Bush did what he did in establishing a cooling off period. As one of our readers noted on my previous post, the adult took charge so the DoJ could continue their investigation while Congres faced up to the fact they were challenging the other TWO branches of government (most reporting on this is pathetic since everyone with two brain cells knows the search was authorized by subpoena).

Congress wanted to fight this, but they would have to go through the court system, the one which issued the subpoena. In fact, given the tie into the NSA leak investigation, I can see this entire Kubuki (sp?) dance as a precedent setting activity to blunt potential caterwalling by Congress when the NSA investigation takes off.

It is not clear precisely what message Mr. Gonzales delivered to Mr. Bush when they met Thursday morning at the White House, or whether he informed the president of the resignation talk. But hours later, the White House announced that the evidence would be sealed for 45 days in the custody of the solicitor general, the Justice Department official who represents the government before the Supreme Court. That arrangement ended the talk of resignations.

My guess is Bush and Gonzales agreed on this together.  Bush wanted Gonzales to make a stand so Hastert’s and Frist’s troops would get a clear message about the 45 day cool off: take it or go for broke publically in the courts.  The media is so naive about how government officials actually do work together and establish a united front when they want to.

12 responses so far

12 Responses to “Good For Gonzales”

  1. sammy small says:

    The times are a-changing for Congress and the MSM. The administration is holding them accountable like they have never seen before. Change is always a shocker for those subject to it. Tantrums will abound. But out of this will come a more disciplined atmosphere. We are lucky to have an administration that knows this and is willing to suffer the political spears associated with it.

  2. az redneck says:

    I see that Lott has now weighed in with Frist and Hasert. Between this and ‘the railroad’, he is rapidly losing my sympathy for his loss of the leadership position.
    Why, oh why could they not have just used this to counter charges of the ‘Republican culture of coprruption’?
    Respect for Gonzales just went up a little.

  3. granitroc says:

    While I can see the 45 days cooling off period is necessary, I can’t understand the disunity between the republcan congress and the president. Don’t these people talk to one another? Even if its a matter of not wanting to spill the beans, it seems the republicans can’t seem to get their act together. It isn’t just McCain who is the maverick here.

    As an aside, I think the talk of resignation has two sides to it. First, it signals congress that the investigation is for real and will continue. On the flip side, didn’t the people in Justice have confidence in the president that he would side with them? For all the vaunted talk of loyalty between the President and his minions, it seems odd that the minions had to resort to a threat.

  4. crosspatch says:

    The disunity is based in fear. They aren’t worried so much about Jefferson as they are giving legitimacy to FBI raids on congressional offices. If that becomes acceptable, they then worry about “leaks” that they generate to the press. Rather than hold debate behind closed doors on certain issues, many in congress, probably those in the minority, decide to take the debate public when frustrated in the formal channel. If they are not going to get into trouble for their leaking, they feel they have no way to further their political agenda and damage the political opposition. Republicans fear this as much as Democrats because both sides use this tactic.

  5. crosspatch says:

    If they are not going to get into trouble for their leaking

    Should be: “If they are now going to get into trouble for their leaking.”

  6. Carol_Herman says:

    Good for Hastert! He stood up for a principle. Gets lost these days, I suppose? But where in the 200 year history of the House did the FBI get “carte-blanche?”

    Hastert’s written his own piece (Washington Times editorial), where he says he’s not defending Jefferson at all. But the MODE the FBI used to break into an office that is protected by Constitutional Separations of POWER.

    Let the Supreme’s decide. I’ll bet at the end of the day, now with Frist also throwing in a “procedure to follow” … that Hastert didn’t go walking off the reservation. OR for that matter do much to hurt the Republicans! Let alone what the Majority Chair’s RESPONSIBILITIES would be, if the FBI just made a grab for power?

    Nothing new, here. WE KNOW THE FBI IS CAPABLE OF DESTROYING A PRESIDENT. They did Nixon!

    So far too many pieces are missing from the puzzle to slam anybody involved with HOLDING THE EVIDENCE, while the appropriateness gets sorted out.

    TOO BAD FOR JUDGE TATEL, that he put an innocent women in jail, BECAUSE HE COULD! Or is his excuse he believed Fitzgerald?

    The longer it takes the curioser it all becomes. This stuff’s got “history” written all over it, far beyond where Woodward went the first time out. (As a matter of fact, Woodward’s been trying to do damage control! He said Pincus, for instance “SHOULD HAVE HEARD” about Plame … long before the set up cross Libby, Cheney or Rove in any cross-hairs.)

    Hastert took money from a Lobbyist? This is supposed to be shocking news? Abramoff was a SUCCESSFUL lobbyist. And, he had a first rate restaurant baited with great food. No. Ambrmoff never expected to go down because someone showed up dead in a bad deal for him. So he gets space now in the newspapers to “scare” Hastert. What’s the FBI promising him? A catered affair in a country-club jail?

    Let’s see what happens down the road. The INTERNET sure gets more traffic than the MSM does on slow weekends. It handles news 24/7 without referring to sound bytes. Not bad for a system like the Net, that’s as public a forum as you’re gonna find, anywhere.

  7. wickedpinto says:

    It’s kabuki. Japanese is so sweet for that, there are few exceptions to the rules. the kana have distinct consonants mixed with distinct vowels (except for the mn sound, but that is a minor thing) if it sounds like Ah, it’s a, if it sounds like oo, its u, if it sounds like ee then it’s i, etc.

    Just wanted to comment about something.

  8. WWS says:

    How can anyone say “good for Hastert”? He’s showed himself to be nothing but a brain dead ex-wrasslin’ coach who knows nothing at all about what the Constititution actually says. How could he be so arrogant to believe that congresscritters are so far above the law that their offices are shielded from a lawfully issued search warrant?

    THERE IS NO SEPARATION OF POWERS ISSUE HERE. Congessmen and women are subject to the same criminal laws as the rest of us, and thus they are subject to the same lawful search issues as anyone else. Congress is NOT some “Sanctum Sanctorum” where criminal activity can be hidden with impunity – that is not in the Constitution, and it is NOT in any law. Bush and Gonzalez got the law and the Constitution *Exactly Right*. Hastert, Bohner, and Pelosi got the law and the Constitution mind-numbingly and absolutely wrong, and any respect I once had for Hastert and Bohner has just about vanished after this bonehead play of theirs.

  9. Terrye says:

    This is off topic but Big Lizards has an interesting poll:

    Matthew Dowd, GOP poller extraordinaire, writes that the ultra-hardline conservatives who insist that the American people demand “enforcement only” and hate the “amnesty” of the Senate bill have it exactly backwards. In fact:

    Dowd’s memo says that an internal RNC poll conducted by Jan Van Louhuzen finds that “overwhelming support exists for a temporary worker program. 80% of all voters, 83% of Republicans, and 79% of self-identified conservatives support a temporary worker program as long as immigrants pay taxes and obey the law.”

    More, from the RNC internal poll: “When voters are given the choice of other immigration proposals, strengthening enforcement with a tamper-proof identity card (89% among all voters, 93% among GOP), various wordings of a temporary worker program (the highest at 85% among all voters, 86% among GOP), and sending National Guard troops to the border (63% among all voters, 84% among GOP) score the highest among both all voters and Republican voters.”

    Also: “Voters don’t consider granting legal status to those already here amnesty.”

    Maybe the base is not who some people think it is.

  10. MerryJ1 says:

    It’s more than a little distressing to realize that a Republican Speaker of the House would be so outspoken about his ignorance of exactly what the Constitution says and doesn’t say regarding separation of powers. Ditto Majority Leader Frist and the rest of the “me too” Republicans jumping in on the wrong side of this kerfuffle.

    Sure, there’s a prohibition against arresting a representative or senator while he/she is voting on a bill, on the way to vote on a bill, or leaving after just voting on a bill — and essentially, against interfering with his/her execution of official duties. None of that was at issue here.

    And, that doesn’t translate to a stay-out-of-jail pass for crimes and misdemeanors, and it certainly doesn’t excuse said rep or senator from complying with a legal requirement to honor a summons or supoena. I think eight months of Jefferson ignoring the lawful order to hand over documents illustrates remarkable restraint on the part of DOJ, who would’ve been busting down doors if the (alleged) criminal was not also a member of Congress.

    In any event, the threats to resign by the AG, FBI Director and others, was in response to Speaker Hastert’s threat to withhold funding for the DOJ, FBI, etc. I see that as an incredibly stupid power play.

    I am curious about the apparent “leak” regarding Hastert as a target in the Abramoff investigation. It looks as though some hot-under-the-collar, failure to count to ten spontaneous combustion might’ve gotten the better of somebody. Not a good play, but… sort of in league with Hastert’s.

  11. crosspatch says:

    Heh, let someone in the executive branch like, say, Rumsfeld ignore a congressional subpoena for 8 months.

  12. Jane W says:

    Altho the “cooling off period” really angered me, Mr. Right, who is not a Bush fan, said he thought Bush’s actions represented a real Sun Tsu moment for President and was “Solomon-like” in its wisdom.

    Maybe so. But if I’m ever served with a warrant I’m going to ask for a “cooling off period” too.

    As far as this co-equal branches of government thing goes – the executive doesn’t issue the warrants, they ask for them from the judiciary. It seems to me that Hastert is trying to elevate the congress above the two other branches of government by taking this position.