Saturday, March 03, 2007

Not At All Funny: Politically-Motivated Purge At Department of (In)Justice

In today's White House Scandal du Jour, a somewhat sheepish admission (in reality, an attempt at damage control) that approval of a politically-motivated purge of U.S. attorneys who were "not team players" was indeed approved at the highest level. (Title bar.)

If you've been sleeping in a snowbank the past couple of days, the scandal involves allegations that Congresspersons tried to pressure U.S. attorneys in charge of corruption investigations either on behalf of their fellow Republicans or against Democrats ~ in advance of last November's elections, natch. Those attorneys who were not swayed were fired, or judiciously opted to step aside voluntarily.

A little-noticed provision of the Patriot Act permitted the sweep.

Certainly smells bad, does it not?

Now the Congressional subpoenas are flying (I should note here that no Republicans apparently wanted to take responsibility for being there for that vote, or else the Dems shut them out on that score).

Are you shocked, good citizens? Demon Princess is ~ shocked that it's not being spun as yet another good & moral attempt to "protect our troops," or "keep the evil demon terrorists from sneaking up on us," or that great catch-all tactic for shutting any inconvenient probes down--"national security."

The White House Cabal seems to be losing its grip.

In the interest of entertaining the court & jury, I move to admit into evidence the following statement by Alberto Gonzales, as reported by Robert Novak earlier today:


"Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has indicated he is too busy to answer letters from Democratic congressional leaders about his firing seven U.S. attorneys involved in probes of public corruption, though a lower-level Justice Department official rejected their proposals.

"Rep. Rahm Emanuel, House Democratic Caucus chairman, had written Gonzales two letters suggesting that he name Carol Lam, fired as U.S. attorney in San Diego, as an outside counsel to continue her pursuit of the Duke Cunningham case. Asked by Melissa Charbonneau of the Christian Broadcasting Network about this column’s report that Gonzales did not respond, Gonzales said: 'I think that the American people lose if I spend all my time worrying about congressional requests for information, if I spend all my time responding to subpoenas.'”

"Richard A. Hertling, the acting Justice Department lobbyist, responded Wednesday, 22 days after Emanuel’s letter. He contended 'the Justice Department would not ever seek the resignation of a U.S. attorney if doing so would jeopardize a public corruption case' and rejected naming Lam as a special prosecutor."

Read more at TPM Muckraker:

Demon Princess sez: Pass the popcorn. This is going to be good.



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