Gonzales resigns

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Hat Tip: by Todd J. Gilman, Dallas Morning News

WASHINGTON – Al Gonzales was a corporate lawyer with little political experience when Texas’ newly elected governor stopped by his office to size him up. They hit it off instantly, the scion of a political dynasty and the son of migrant workers.

Mr. Gonzales became counsel to the governor, and for the last dozen years, hitched his career to that of his patron.

But the ride has ended. Mr. Gonzales announced his resignation Monday morning after more than two years as the nation’s first Hispanic attorney general. He submitted the resignation to the president last Friday, and the president accepted Sunday during a meeting at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

“It has been one of my greatest privileges to lead the Department of Justice,” Gonzales said, announcing his resignation effective Sept. 17 in a terse statement. He took no questions and gave no reason for stepping down.

The announcement ends a months-long battle with Republican and Democratic critics who said Mr. Gonzales should be forced out over the handling of FBI terrorism investigations and the firing of U.S. attorneys.

It’s sad that we live in a time when a talented and honorable person like Alberto Gonzales is impeded from doing important work because his good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons,” President Bush said Monday in Waco, portraying Mr. Gonzales as the victim of “months of unfair treatment.”

Mr. Bush called him “a man of integrity, decency and principle,” and touted among Mr. Gonzales’ accomplishments some of the same legislation and policies that have most angered civil liberties groups, including the Patriot Act and the law allowing accused terrorists to stand trial by military commission.

Solicitor General Paul Clement will be acting attorney general until a replacement is found and confirmed by the Senate, Bush said.

Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff was among those mentioned as possible successors, though a senior administration official said the matter had not been raised with Chertoff. Bush leaves Washington next Monday for Australia, and Gonzales’ replacement might not be named by then, the official said.

When Mr. Gonzales moved to the White House, he became the legal architect of some of the administration’s most controversial policies – on torture, domestic snooping, detention of terror suspects – and a central player in fights over reshaping the judiciary to the president’s liking.

It was a mutually beneficial relationship, until the uproar over the bungled, politically charged firings of U.S. attorneys.

“They just bonded. Al is a very, very fine lawyer. He has a way of being direct and thorough and was just a great counselor, a great consigliere,” said Houston attorney Pat Oxford, a longtime friend of the president who was with him that day in Houston, when Mr. Gonzales’ career turned and Mr. Bush became his sole client. “It’s worked perfectly, until this moment.”

The Harvard-trained lawyer from Humble, Texas, loyally protected George W. Bush’s secrets and pushed the Bush agenda through five assignments, endearing himself with utter discretion on such matters as the governor’s youthful brushes with the law, and with valued legal advice on such knotty topics as death row clemency requests..

Mr. Gonzales worked for Mr. Bush as counsel to the governor, Texas secretary of state, justice on the state supreme court, White House counsel and, finally, U.S. attorney general – a cabinet post, the nation’s top law enforcement official, an achievement far beyond the dreams of his immigrant parents.

It was a meteoric rise, and a spectacular fall.

Critics say Mr. Gonzales can blame himself for the bungled firings, providing Congress with contradictory and misleading explanations and opening the administration to allegations of cronyism, politically-motivated interference and plain bad judgment.

“Embodying the American dream is not sufficient reason to serve as attorney general,” Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said recently. “The attorney general of the United States is the people’s lawyer, not the president’s lawyer.”

Now, it’s back to private life for Mr. Gonzales. Mr. Oxford said in a recent interview that, “Any law firm in America would be honored to have Al Gonzales. … His career is still on the upward trajectory.”

The departure lets the president shed a major political albatross, but also costs him a longtime confidant. And it marks the near-purge of Mr. Bush’s Texas inner circle. Political guru Karl Rove’s last day at the White House is later this week. Adviser Dan Bartlett and White House counsel Harriet Miers, a former Dallas councilwoman, quit earlier this year.

It’s not clear why, after months of demands for his firing, Mr. Gonzales finally succumbed.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn, speaking Monday morning on Fox News, called it a “sad day” and blamed a “hyperpartisan atmosphere” in Washington for the attorney general’s ouster.

“I think he was probably just worn down by the criticism,” said Mr. Cornyn who, like Mr. Gonzales, had served as a justice on the Texas Supreme Court. “I guess Al Gonzales had had enough.”

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said Mr. Gonzales had turned the Justice Department into “a political arm of the White House,” and had “suffered a severe crisis of leadership that allowed our justice system to be corrupted by political influence.”

House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., emphasized the “cloud of suspicion” that continues to hang over the attorney general.

Accusing him of manipulating the nation’s justice system for partisan political gains, Mr. Conyers indicated that Congress will keep pressing the administration for more details about political motives behind the firing of U.S. attorneys. “The continued stonewalling of the White House in the U.S. Attorney scandal has deprived the American people of the truth. If the power of the prosecutor has been misused in the name of partisanship, we deserve a full airing of the facts,” Mr. Conyers said.

Matthew Orwig, a Dallas lawyer who served President Bush for more than five years as chief federal prosecutor in East Texas, said Mr. Gonzales still has plenty of friends in Texas and will be welcomed home “with open arms” – and, probably, a decent private sector job.

But “whether he’s at the height of his marketability – that’s been somewhat devalued. Even his friends will have to say that his term was not successful,” said Mr. Orwig, who stepped down three months ago as U.S. Attorney and is now managing partner at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal’s Dallas office.

“To a person, every one of the US attorneys who was asked to leave has more talent and integrity than the people who wanted them to leave, and I still don’t think there’s any plausible explanation of a good reason for the administration to ask them to leave,” Mr. Orwig said. “…At the beginning of his term people were concerned that Al Gonzales didn’t have the experience or talent to be attorney general, and by the end of his term people were concerned that Al just didn’t have the character. Why he held on, I don’t know.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Karl Rove resigns

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 Karl Rove is 2 4-letter words

Hat Tip :By John D. McKinnnon, Wall Street Journal

Karl Rove, President Bush’s longtime political adviser, is resigning as White House deputy chief of staff effective Aug. 31, and returning to Texas, marking a turning point for the Bush presidency.

Mr. Rove’s departure removes one of the White House’s most polarizing figures, and perhaps signals the effective end of the lame duck administration’s role in shaping major domestic policy decisions. Mr. Rove revealed his plans in an interview with Paul Gigot, editor of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page. (See related commentary.)

Mr. Rove also said he expects the president’s approval rating to rise again, and that conditions in Iraq will improve as the U.S. military surge continues. He said he expects Democrats to be divided this fall in the battle over warrantless wiretapping, while the budget battle — and a series of presidential vetoes — should help Republicans gain an edge on spending restraint and taxes.

Mr. Rove established himself as the political genius behind the rise of George W. Bush and the brief period of united Republican rule. But he did it largely through highly divisive policies and campaign tactics, such as the attacks on Democratic rival John Kerry the 2004 campaign. That strategy appears to have backfired, as seen in the Republican loss of Congress in 2006, and Mr. Bush’s low poll numbers.

Mr. Rove has advised Mr. Bush for more than a decade, working with him closely since Mr. Bush first announced he was running for governor of Texas in 1993 and serving as chief strategist in his presidential campaign in 2000. Before joining the White House, he was president of Karl Rove & Co., the Austin, Texas-based public affairs firm he founded. Mr. Rove first became involved in Republican politics in the 1970s.

Mr. Bush was expected to make a statement Monday with his aide at the White House, before they fly to Texas to Mr. Bush’s Crawford ranch retreat.

“Obviously it’s a big loss to us,” White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino said. “He’s a great colleague, a good friend, and a brilliant mind. He will be greatly missed, but we know he wouldn’t be going if he wasn’t sure this was the right time to be giving more to his family, his wife Darby and their son. He will continue to be one of the president’s greatest friends

Mr. Rove, who has held a senior post in the White House since President Bush took office in January 2001, told Mr. Gigot he first floated the idea of leaving a year ago. But he delayed his departure as, first, Democrats took Congress, and then as the White House tackled debates on immigration and Iraq, he said. He said he decided to leave after White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten told senior aides that if they stayed past Labor Day they would be obliged to remain through the end of the president’s term in January 2009.

“I just think it’s time,” Mr. Rove said in the interview. “There’s always something that can keep you here, and as much as I’d like to be here, I’ve got to do this for the sake of my family.” Mr. Rove and his wife have a home in Ingram, Texas, and a son who attends college in nearby San Antonio.

In the interview, Mr. Rove said he expects Democrats to give the 2008 presidential nomination to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, whom he described as “a tough, tenacious, fatally flawed candidate.” He also said Republicans have “a very good chance” to hold onto the White House in next year’s elections.

Senate subpeona’s Karl Rove

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Hat tip: by Klaus Marre, the Hill 

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday issued a subpoena for top White House adviser Karl Rove to compel him to testify about the firing of several U.S. attorneys.

“The evidence shows that senior White House political operatives were focused on the political impact of federal prosecutions and whether federal prosecutors were doing enough to bring partisan voter fraud and corruption cases,” Leahy said. “It is obvious that the reasons given for the firings of these prosecutors were contrived as part of a cover-up and that the stonewalling by the White House is part and parcel of that same effort.”

Leahy issued the subpoenas, one to Rove and one to White House aide Scott Jennings, after consulting with Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), the committee’s ranking member.

“The Bush-Cheney White House continues to place great strains on our constitutional system of checks and balances,” Leahy added. “Not since the darkest days of the Nixon administration have we seen efforts to corrupt federal law enforcement for partisan political gain and such efforts to avoid accountability.”

The move is a further escalation of the constitutional battle between Congress and the White House over whether Bush administration officials must provide testimony and documents to legislative branch investigators.

Leahy said he is not taking this step lightly and only decided to proceed after “[exhausting] every avenue seeking the voluntary cooperation of Karl Rove and J. Scott Jennings.”

The Judiciary Committee chairman concluded that the investigation has “reached a point where the accumulated evidence shows that political considerations factored into the unprecedented firing of at least nine United States attorneys last year.”

In a letter to Rove, Leahy gives the White House official a week to appear before the panel and testify under oath.

“I hope that the White House takes this opportunity to reconsider its blanket claim of executive privilege, especially in light of the testimony that the President was not involved in the dismissals of these U.S. Attorneys,” Leahy said in his letter. “I am left to ask what the White House is so intent on hiding that it cannot even identify the documents, the dates, the authors and recipients that they claim are privileged.”

House Judiciary Committee finds a pair and issues contempt of congress charges against Bolton and Miers

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The House Judiciary Committee found a pair, manned up, and issued contempt of congress charges for the White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolton and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers.   Wow.  The Republicans actually called this move unnecessary and unprecedented with straight faces.   Incredible.  

Let me get this straight, y’all can call President Clinton’s secretary to testify in front of Congress about some hat pin he gave Monica Lewinsky but Bush’s White House Chief of Staff and Counsel cannot testify before Congress about the selective firing of U.S. Attorney’s who refused to comply with orders to investigate and indict Democrats on spurious claims of vote fraud to save GOP members of Congress in last year’s election.   Hmmm.

Playing the “White Girl role”

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Emily Bazelon and Dahlia Lithwick brilliantly deconstruct the testimony of Monica Goodling, a former attorney and assistant to Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty in the Justice Department contretemps that has engulfed the Agency in the swirl of scandal over the political firing of 8 U.S. Attorneys.  They “go there” and call Goodling out and bust her chops for playing, what blackfolks term as the helpless, “white girl role.”

Women of color in particular, and black women especially, find this feminine B.S. infuriating.  White men, especially Republicans, fall for it every time.   Democratic Congresswomen Maxine Waters and Linda Sanchez cut to the quick with their questioning of Goodling last week as the above clip of Linda demonstrates. 

Bazelon and Lithwick elaborate in their Salon piece, “Monica Goodling and the “girl” card: Nobody seems to want to go there, so we will.”

“Let’s pretend for a moment that the world divides into two types of women: the soft, shy, girly kind who live to serve and the brash, aggressive feminists who live to emasculate. Not our paradigm, but one that’s more alive than dead.”

“When she was White House liaison in Alberto Gonzales’ Justice Department, Monica Goodling, 33, had the power to hire and fire seasoned government lawyers who had taken the bar when she was still carrying around a plastic Hello Kitty purse. Goodling, in fact, described herself as a “type-A woman” who blocked the promotion of another type-A woman basically because the office couldn’t tolerate infighting between two strong women. (“I’m not just partisan! I’m sexist, too!”) That move sounds pretty grown-up and steely. Yet in her testimony this weekbefore the House judiciary committee, Goodling turned herself back into a little girl, and it’s worth pointing out that the tactic worked brilliantly.”

“Look past Goodling’s long, silky blond hair, which may or may not have been a distraction. She’s entitled to have pretty hair. Look past her trembling hand as she swore her oath and the tremulous voice as she described her “family” at Justice. What really shot Goodling into the stratosphere of baby-doll girls were her own whispered words: “At heart,” she testified, “I am a fairly quiet girl, who tries to do the right thing and tries to treat people kindly along the way.” [Late-breaking discovery, courtesy of a sharp reader: Goodling used the word girl in the written rather than spoken version of her testimony.] The idea, of course, was to scrub away her past image as ruthless, power-mad, and zealously Christian. But—as professor Sandy Levinson noted almost immediately over at Balkinization—it was in calling herself a “girl” that the 33-year-old did herself a great favor. It was a signal to the committee that she was no Kyle Sampson. Or Anita Hill.”

“To be sure, plenty of twenty- and thirty- and eightysomethings refer to themselves and their friends as girls. Particularly when there are mojitos around. But they don’t often do so before the U.S. Congress. The same Goodling who once wanted to be powerful, so powerful that she refused to relinquish her power to hire and fire assistant U.S. attorneys even when she changed jobs at the Justice Department, painted herself as helpful and empathetic and out of the loop. She testified that the biggest and most important part of her job was hooking up employees with tickets for sporting events. The little matter of firing assistant U.S. attorneys was a minor extracurricular. She testified that she went to a Christian school because of her devotion to “service.” One half expected her to leap up out of the witness chair and start offering canapés to the assembled members of Congress.”

“And at the heart of Goodling’s ingénue performance? The astonishing claim that while she broke the law, she “didn’t mean to.” This is the stuff of preschoolers, not cum laude graduates of law school.”

SHAFT

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sung to the same tune as the Shaft Theme by Issac Hayes

Who’s the stupid dick that’s thinks he’s slick?
Al! yo’ ass is ‘bout to get the SHAFT! (Ya damn right!)

Who is the man that would risk his neck tellin’ falsehoods to shield the ignorant patrician in the White House? Al! yo’ ass is ‘bout to get the SHAFT! (Can you dig it?)

Who’s the cat that cops out in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee when there’s danger all about? Al! yo’ ass is ‘bout to get the SHAFT! (Right On!)

The Senators say this cat Al is a stupid mother . . .
“Shut your mouth!” Yo’ ass is ’bout to get the SHAFT! (Then we can dig it!)

He’s a complicated man, but no one understands him but his main man (Dubya)
Resign befo’ ya get the SHAFT!
Alberto Gonzales

And I am Telling You….

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Alberto Gonzales on the Hot Seat

 Sung to the tune of And I am Telling You (Dreamgirls)

And I am telling you
I’m not going. 
Dubya’s the best gringo I’ll ever know.
There’s no way I can ever go,
No, no, no, no way,
No, no, no, no way I’m livin’ without him.
I’m not leavin’ the Administration.
I don’t want to be free.
I’m stayin’,
I’m stayin’,
And he, and he, my President loves me.
Ooh, my President loves me.

And I am telling you
I’m not going,
Even though the rough times are showing.
There’s just no way,
There’s no way.
We’re part of the same place (Texas).
We’re part of the same time.
We both share the same blood (I know its a stretch, work with me).
We both have the same (mediocre) mind.
And time and time we have so much to share (hopefully not in somebody’s penitentiary),

No, no, no,
No, no, no,
I’m not wakin’ up tomorrow mornin’
And findin’ that my limo driver is not there.
Darling, there’s no way,
No, no, no, no way I’m livin’ without him.
I’m not leavin’ the Administration.
You see, there’s just no way,
There’s no way.

Throw down some damn subpeonas,
Yell, scream and shout.
You can say what you want,
Executive Privilege will bail my ass out.
Stop all legislation,
Push, strike, and kill.
I’m not tellin’ y’all nothin’ bout no U.S. Attorneys,
There’s no way I will.

And I am telling you
I’m not going. 
Dubya’s the best gringo I’ll ever know.
There’s no way I can ever, ever go,
No, no, no, no way,
No, no, no, no way I’m livin’ without him.
Oh, I’m not leavin’ the Administration,
I’m not livin’ without him.
I don’t wanna be free.
I’m stayin’,
I’m stayin’,
And he, and he, 
My President loves me.
Oh, my President loves me,
Yes, ah, ooh, ooh, love me,
Ooh, ooh, ooh, he loves me,
Loves me,
Loves me,
Loves me,
Loves me. 
My President loves me.

Al Gonzales faces the music

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 Att. Gen. Alberto Gonzales

HAT TIP: POLITICO.COM  By: John Bresnahan
April 19, 2007 02:49 PM EST

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales faced sharp questioning Thursday from Democrats and Republicans alike on the Senate Judiciary Committee as he tried to counter a tidal wave of criticism of him over the firing of eight U.S. attorneys.

“Today, the Department of Justice is experiencing a crisis of leadership, perhaps unrivaled during its 137-year history,” said the committee chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). “The truth is that these firings have yet to be explained, and there is mounting evidence of improper considerations and actions resulting in the dismissals.”

Also, Leahy made clear in his opening statement, “I cannot excuse the attorney general’s actions and his failures from the outset to be forthright with us, with these prosecutors and with American people.”

Some of the toughest questioning of Gonzales, though, came from Republican Sens. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Jeff Sessions of Alabama. And Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he believed that Gonzales and other senior Justice Department officials had decided to fire the prosecutors first, then made up justifications for the firings after a crisis engulfed the department.

“Some of them sound good, some don’t,” Graham said of the justifications.

Gonzales, who publicly apologized to the fired prosecutors, said repeatedly that he could not remember any details of a critical Nov. 27 meeting at the Justice Department, where the plan to oust several federal prosecutors was discussed, or an Oct. 11 meeting to discuss voter fraud allegations with President Bush and his top political adviser, Karl Rove.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has already called for Gonzales’ resignation, engaged in a testy exchange with him over whether he lied to Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) regarding the replacement of the U.S. attorney in Arkansas and whether the Bush administration would seek Senate confirmation of a new prosecutor there.

Gonzales admitted that he had heard complaints from both Rove and Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.) about David Iglesias, the former U.S. attorney for New Mexico. Domenici is the subject of a preliminary inquiry about his contacts with Iglesias and whether he pressured Iglesias to indict local Democrats prior to the midterm elections in November.

Though he admitted to mistakes in the Justice Department’s handling of the firings and his public response to questions about them, Gonzales stuck by the decision to sack the prosecutors.

“First, those eight attorneys deserved better – they deserved better from me and from the Department of Justice, which they served selflessly for many years,” Gonzales said. “I regret how they were treated, and I apologize to them and to their families for allowing this matter to become an unfortunate and undignified public spectacle. I accept full responsibility for this.”

Gonzales added that, after conducting his own review and speaking with Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty about whether he should “reconsider the firings,” he was not going to backtrack.

“What I have concluded is that, although the process was nowhere near as rigorous or structured as it should have been, and while reasonable people might decide things differently, my decision to ask for the resignations of these U.S. attorneys is justified and should stand,” Gonzales said.

The attorney general also denied any suggestion that he had lied to lawmakers about his role in the firings. “I never sought to mislead or deceive the Congress or the American people,” he said. “To the contrary: I have been extremely forthcoming with information. … These are not the actions of someone with something to hide.”

Gonzales stated repeatedly in his opening statement and under questioning that “nothing improper occurred” in dismissing the prosecutors. There has been speculation by Democrats about whether Gonzales fired U.S. attorneys who were investigating Republican lawmakers for corruption.

Gonzales said his former chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson, was responsible for reviewing U.S. attorneys. He called it “Mr. Sampson’s project” under questioning by Specter and said that he had only a “limited role” in it.

“Putting it in context, I would say that my involvement was limited. I consider that an accurate statement,” Gonzales said. 

In response to inquiries from Sessions, Gonzales said five times that he could not recall attending a Nov. 27 meeting with senior Justice Department officials, which included McNulty, Sampson and Monica Goodling, a former senior adviser who has since resigned.

“I have no memory of this,” Gonzales said. “I cannot recall the contents of that meeting.”

By the end of the morning session, it was unclear if Gonzales had made any headway in his effort to stave off the calls for his resignation.

House subpeona’s Justice Dept Documents

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WASHINGTON – The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed new documents Tuesday from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as part of its investigation into the firings of federal prosecutors, with the panel chairman saying he had run out of patience.

“We have been patient in allowing the department to work through its concerns regarding the sensitive nature of some of these materials,” Rep. John Conyers (news, bio, voting record), D-Mich., wrote Gonzales in a letter accompanying the subpoena. “Unfortunately, the department has not indicated any meaningful willingness to find a way to meet our legitimate needs.,”

“At this point further delay in receiving these materials will not serve any constructive purpose,” Conyers said. He characterized the subpoena as a last resort after weeks of negotiations with Justice over documents and e-mails the committee wants.

The Justice Department did not have an immediate comment.

But one Justice official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said the House request included the full text of all documents that had been partially or completely blacked out in the Justice Department’s initial release of more than 3,000 pages last month. The Justice official said some U.S. attorney evaluations were included in these documents.

The official said the request also included an unredacted list ranking the performance and standing of each of the 93 U.S. attorneys. Government officials have previously confirmed that Chicago-based prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, one of the Justice Department’s premier U.S. attorneys, was ranked as “not distinguished.”

Democrats who control Congress say statements by Gonzales and his lieutenants, three of whom have resigned in the aftermath of the dismissals, have raised questions over whether the ousters were politically motivated.

The Justice Department denies that and

President Bush has stood behind Gonzales, but calls for a new attorney general have continued. Gonzales, Bush’s longtime friend, is scheduled before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week.

Along with the subpoenas, Conyers released letters of negotiation between his committee and the Justice Department dating to March 8, when the panel’s Democrats requested follow-up interviews with Gonzales’ top aides and any documents between the agency and the White House about the firings.

The Justice Department responded by releasing more than 3,000 documents, including internal communications between agency officials, White House aides and some of the fired prosecutors. But substantial portions of the documents released were blacked out, or redacted.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Richard Hertling wrote that the agency blocked information that raised privacy concerns, including the names of prosecutors who were considered for removal but ultimately retained, as well as candidates for judicial appointments.

“We are seeking to preserve the privacy and professional viability of those who are continuing to serve,” Hertling wrote.

Senate Judiciary panel authorizes subpeona’s in Justice Dept probe

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By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, Associated Press Writer

A Senate panel, following the House’s lead, authorized subpoenas Thursday for White House political adviser Karl Rove and other top aides involved in the firing of federal prosecutors.

The Senate Judiciary Committee decided by voice vote to approve the subpoenas as Republicans and Democrats sparred over whether to press a showdown with President Bush over the ousters of eight U.S. attorneys.

Democrats angrily rejected Bush’s offer to grant a limited number of lawmakers private interviews with the aides with no transcript and without swearing them in. Republicans counseled restraint, but at least one, Sen. Charles Grassley (news, bio, voting record) of Iowa, backed the action.

A House Judiciary subcommittee authorized subpoenas in the matter Wednesday, but none has been issued.

Democrats said the move would give them more bargaining power in negotiating with the White House to hear from Bush’s closest advisers.

“We’re authorizing that ability but we’re not issuing them,” Sen. Charles Schumer (news, bio, voting record), D-N.Y., said of the subpoenas. “It’ll only strengthen our hand in getting to the bottom of this.”

Republicans countered, however, that subpoenas were premature.

“I counsel my colleagues, both Democrats and Republicans, to work hard to avoid an impasse. We don’t need a constitutional confrontation,” said Sen. Arlen Specter (news, bio, voting record) of Pennsylvania, the panel’s top Republican.

Even as Democrats derided the White House’s offer, Bush spokesman Tony Snow maintained that lawmakers will realize it is fair and reasonable once they reflect on it.

“We’re not trying to hide things. We’re not trying to run from things,” he said. “We want them to know what happened.”

Democrats, however, called Bush’s position untenable.

“What we’re told we can get is nothing, nothing, nothing,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (news, bio, voting record), D-Vt., the Judiciary chairman. “I know he’s the decider for the White House — he’s not the decider for the United States Senate.”

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, fighting for his job amid the prosecutor furor, vowed he would not step aside and promised to cooperate with Congress in the inquiry.

“I’m not going to resign,” Gonzales told reporters after an event in St. Louis.

“No United States Attorney was fired for improper reasons,” he added.

The Senate panel voted to approve subpoenas for Rove, former White House counsel Harriet Miers and her former deputy, William Kelley. The House subcommittee Tuesday authorized subpoenas for Rove, Miers and their deputies.

Snow, in an interview on CBS’s “The Early Show,” accused supporters of subpoenas of wanting “a Perry Mason scene where people are hot-dogging and grandstanding and trying to score political points.”

“I know a lot of people want this ‘Showdown at the OK Corral’ kind of thing. People might have a beef if we were withholding anything. We’re not,” he said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Even as both sides dug in publicly, prominent lawmakers worked behind the scenes to avert a court battle between the executive and legislative branches. Specter said he wanted to find a way for Bush’s aides to testify publicly with a transcript — which he called “indispensable” — but would not insist on putting them under oath.

He said later he had not spoken with anyone at the White House about such a compromise.

“The dust has to settle first,” Specter said.

Bush is standing by Gonzales, as Republicans and Democrats question the attorney general’s leadership. The president insists that the firings of the prosecutors over the past year were appropriate, while Democrats argue they were politically motivated.

The prosecutors are appointed to four-year terms by the president and serve at his pleasure. meaning they can dismissed at any time.

Democrats have rejected Bush’s offer — relayed to Capitol Hill on Tuesday by White House counsel Fred Fielding — in large part because there would be no transcript and the testimony would not be public.

Sen. Harry Reid (news, bio, voting record), D-Nev., the majority leader, said it would be “outrageous,” to allow Rove to testify off the record.

“Anyone who would take that deal isn’t playing with a full deck,” Reid said.

House issues subpoenas for Rove and Miers

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HAT TIP: MSNBC

WASHINGTON – A House panel on Wednesday approved subpoenas for President Bush’s political adviser, Karl Rove and other top White House aides, setting up a constitutional showdown over the firings of eight federal prosecutors.

By voice vote, the House Judiciary subcommittee on commercial and administrative law decided to compel the president’s top aides to testify publicly and under oath about their roles in the firings.

The White House has refused to budge in the controversy, standing by embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and insisting that the firings were appropriate. White House spokesman Tony Snow said that in offering aides to talk to the committees privately, Bush had sought to avoid the “media spectacle” that would result from public hearings with Rove and others at the witness table.

“The question they’ve got to ask themselves is, are you more interested in a political spectacle than getting the truth?” Snow said of the overture Tuesday that was relayed to Capitol Hill by White House counsel Fred Fielding.

Publicly, the White House held out hope there would be no impasse.

“If they issue subpoenas, yes, the offer is withdrawn,” said White House spokesman Tony Snow. “They will have rejected the offer.”

He added that the offer for interviews on the president’s terms — not under oath, on the record or in public — is final.

‘There must be accountability’
Democrats dismissed the overture, in large part because there would be no transcript.

“There must be accountability,” countered subcommittee Chairwoman Linda Sanchez, D-Calif.

The Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled a vote Thursday on its own set of subpoenas, with Democrats complaining that the threat of force is the only way to get a straight answer from the White House.

“The White House is in a bunker mentality — won’t listen, won’t change,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. “I believe there is even more to come out, and I think it’s our duty to bring it out.”

The House subcommittee Wednesday approved, but has not issued, subpoenas for Rove, former White House Counsel Harriet Miers, their deputies and Kyle Sampson, Gonzales’ chief of staff, who resigned over the uproar last week.

George Betta Shop Around

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SHOP AROUND (For Another A.G.)

sung to the tune of Smokie Robinson’s shop around, traditional arrangement

Just because you’ve become an unpopular President now
There’s still some things that you don’t understand now
Before you show Alberto’s ass the door now
Make up your mind as fast as you can now
My mama told me you better shop around ( for another A.G. )

There’s some things that I want you to know now
Just as sure as the wind’s gonna blow now
Democrats are itchin for a pretext to impeach your can and send Karl to jail now
Before you tell someone else to join the Admin now
My mama told me you better shop around (For another A.G.)

Try to get yourself a bargain, boy
Don’t be sold on a wingnut one
Good-looking guys come a dime a dozen
Try to find you one who’s gonna give you true lovin’ and fall on his sword

Before you take a man and say I do now
Make sure he’s in love with your B.S.  now
Make sure that his love for torture and coverups is true now
I hate to see you disgraced and discredited now (by Karl spilling the beans)
My mama told me you better shop around (for another A.G.)

White House shopping around for new AG

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 HAT TIP: POLITICO.COM

By: Mike Allen
March 20, 2007 03:35 PM EST

President Bush this morning telephoned Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, one of the few remaining Texans who came to Washington for Bush’s first term, to try to buck up his friend after word leaked that GOP officials operating at the behest of the White House have begun seeking a possible successor.

The president called Gonzales from the Oval Office at about 7:15 a.m. “They had a good conversation about the status of the U.S. attorney issue,” deputy White House press secretary Dana Perino said. “The president also reaffirmed his strong backing and support for the attorney general.”

A Republican source said Tuesday that Bush is “unmoved” and that Gonzales will not be pushed or fired, but instead will depart if he concludes he has lost his effectiveness because of the furor over the firing of eight U.S. attorneys.

At the same time, the president will be prepared if Gonzales steps aside. Republicans close to the White House continued to discuss potential replacements, including John Danforth, an Episcopal minister and former Republican senator from Missouri. “I think it is going to come down to who is willing to take the job,” said an official close to the process.

Among the names floated Monday by administration officials were 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. 

On Monday night, Republican officials said two other figures who are being seriously considered are Securities and Exchange Committee Chairman Chris Cox, who is former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and is popular with conservatives; and former Attorney General William P. Barr, who served under President George H.W. Bush from 1991 to 1993 and is now general counsel of Verizon Communications.

Perino Tuesday denied that the White House is searching for possible successors to Gonzales. “Those rumors are untrue,” she said.

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.

In a sign of Republican despair, GOP political strategists on Capitol Hill said that it is too late for Gonzales’ departure to head off a full-scale Democratic investigation into the motives and timing behind the firing of eight U.S. attorneys.

“Democrats smell blood in the water, and (Gonzales’) resignation won’t stop them,” said a well-connected Republican Senate aide. “And on our side, no one’s going to defend him. All we can do is warn Democrats against overreaching.”

A main reason Gonzales is finding few friends even among Republicans is that he has long been regarded with suspicion by conservatives who have questioned his ideological purity. In the past, these conservatives warned the White House against nominating him for the Supreme Court. Now they’re using the controversy over the firing of eight federal prosecutors to take out their pent-up frustrations with how he has handled his leadership at Justice and how the White House has treated Congress.

Complaints range from his handling of immigration cases to his alleged ceding of power in the department to career officials instead of movement conservatives.

Without embracing Gonzales, Republicans pointed out that presidents are free to replace U.S. attorneys at will. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) noted on MSNBC that some of those who were replaced “haven’t whined or complained about it” and added, “I think that there’s a lot of politics, but I don’t think it’s just on one side.”

But officials on Capitol Hill said that after the Justice Department failed to turn over a batch of e-mails about the prosecutors on Friday as expected, Republican senators became less likely to defend Gonzales or the White House. They feared the delay signaled more damaging information was in the pipeline.

“We have a crisis where there doesn’t need to be one, and now Democrats have an issue where they can open up the subpoena floodgates,” said an exasperated Republican aide. “Once these investigations start, there always ends up being a lot of messy collateral damage.”

Now the White House is girding for a confirmation battle at the same time it is coping with Democrats’ threats to subpoena aides to Bush, including senior adviser Karl Rove.

Among the contenders to replace Gonzales, Chertoff is a former U.S. circuit judge for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Philadelphia. Before that, he was confirmed by the Senate in 2003 as assistant attorney general for the criminal division.

Under this scenario, Chertoff’s successor at the Department of Homeland Security might be Townsend, who now works in the White House as assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism. Townsend held senior Justice Department posts under Attorney General Janet Reno during the Clinton administration and is also a potential nominee for attorney general.

Republican sources said other widely respected Republican lawyers have been considered for attorney general, although some of them may not be interested in taking the job.

Memo to Al: You’re still colored

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Al, it’s me again-Skeptical Brotha and I’m here to tell you that you’re colored.   Don’t look surprised.  I know you believe that because you became Attorney General it somehow entitled you to some protection and conferred upon you some condescending “honorary white” status.   It doesn’t.   You’re colored.   Because of your colored status, you can be sacraficed anytime by the big cahuna to save his lily white arse.

Yes, Alberto.  I know you and the big cahuna are best buds and pals.   It don’t mean a thing.  Really.  It means less than what you leave in the commode every morning.   Rest assured, if your self-serving and vague “mistakes were made” B.S. don’t cut it up on the Hill, you will be unemployed.    Worse still, you may be looking at some federal time because you are either incompetent or you are lying.   Both should be against the law.  

Your tortured authorization for Guantanamo, prisoner rendition and torture qualify you for Skeptical Brotha’s Handkerchief Head Award.   Your facilitation of war crimes and your cavalier attitude regarding civil liberties is not only revolting, it makes you an unmitigated embarassment to the Latino community. I hope and pray that the right-wing DLC Democrat Ken Salazar, a corporate shill who wears his moderation as a badge of honor wipes the smirk off your face by calling for your dismissal or resignation.  After all, he voted for your confirmation and needs to apologize to all the American people.