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March 23, 2007

Gonzales Won't Fess Up on McKay Firing

Attorney General Abu Gonzales -- he of lust for torture and illegal wiretapping fame -- deigned to speak with Tony and Jane on KIRO's morning news today, but only for the purpose of insulting them with his inability to tell the truth on John McKay's firing. You can listen here as they ask him three times in a row to explain why McKay was fired and each time he repeats the lame talking points given him by his Thursday afternoon luncheon companions, Repulican senators Orrin Hatch and Jeff Sessions. He finds three ways to say this:

Listen, we made a decision at the Department as to the appropriate way forward. There was nothing improper about the decision here … There’s no evidence whatsoever, and it’s reckless and irresponsible to allege that these decisions were based in any way on improper motives.

Did you catch that? It's "reckless an irresponsible" to ask legitimate questions of anyone serving in the Bush White House. Because really, you know they'd just prefer to send troublemakers like us on secret CIA planes to faraway countries to be tortured. They'd do pretty much anything to not have to answer a legitimate question. Goldy's got more of Abu's silly quotes over at his place.

Finally, Jane asks him how it could be that in August a Justice Department official was supporting McKay's appointment to an open federal court seat, and suddenly, one month later McKay was categorized by the Justice Department as someone who should be "pushed out." Instead of rattling off the talking points that he thinks are going to save him his job, Abu could have simply reiterated what McClatchy newspapers reported today: that it was directly tied to voter fraud issues and the fact that prosecutors who didn't go after Democrats on voter fraud in key states were expected to be tossed out on their ears.

Bush, his deputy chief of staff, Karl Rove, and other Republican advisers have highlighted voting rights issues and what Rove has called the "growing problem" of election fraud by Democrats since Bush took power in the tumultuous election of 2000, a race ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.


Frank DiMarino, a former federal prosecutor who served six U.S. attorneys in Florida and Georgia during an 18-year Justice Department career, said that too much emphasis on voter fraud investigations "smacks of trying to use prosecutorial power to investigate and potentially indict political enemies."

Several former voting rights lawyers, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of antagonizing the administration, said the division's political appointees reversed the recommendations of career lawyers in key cases and transferred or drove out most of the unit's veteran attorneys.

The fact that so many people are terrified enough of the Bush White House that they will only speak anonymously tells us that those in the White House are hiding a lot, and hell-bent on retaliating against anyone, of whatever political stripe, who dares to expose them for the criminals they are. I've said before that all roads to the White House must pass through the toll booth named Karl Rove. The strong arming of federal prosecutors over bogus voter fraud claims is vintage Rove. He pushed hard to get his golden boy, Tim Griffin -- a master at disenfranchising 70,000 voters in Florida -- appointed as US attorney in Arkansas. Rove also had his assistant, Glynda Becker, fielding complaint calls from the honchos in the WA State GOP who were freaked out about Gregoire's win for governor. And Rove relayed those complaints, personally, to Gonzales and Bush's former White House lawyer, Harriet Miers.

It is for these reasons that the Senate Democrats must not cave in on the issuance of subpoenas for Rove, Miers and other White House aides. They must testify and there must be a transcript of the testimony. Bush's claims of "executive privilege" are weak in this instance. It's time for Democrats like Chuck Schumer to quit with the playacting. Grandstanding on Tuesday only to wimp out with talk of compromise on Thursday won't get this party very far. I hope that Senator Patty Murray, who now holds the fourth most powerful seat in the Senate, will lean on her colleague to not give up the fight. We, the citizens of Seattle, deserve to know exactly why our US attorney was ousted.

Abu Gonzales is currently touring the country in a half-baked effort to convince Americans that he should be allowed to keep his job. But he's a coward. He gave KIRO that interview from safe harbor somewhere in Denver, Colorado. He's got some 'splainin' to do to the people of this city. I dare him to come to Seattle and face us in person. I dare him.

Update: Uh-oh. Abu's really in hot water now. Guess we won't be seeing him in Seattle after all, because it looks like the judiciary committees are going to want to have him back to clear something up. Here's what Abu told Congress on March 13th:

I knew my chief of staff was involved in the process of determining who were the weak performers - where were the districts around the country where we could do better for the people in that district, and that's what I knew," Gonzales said last week. "But that is in essence what I knew about the process; was not involved in seeing any memos, was not involved in any discussions about what was going on. That's basically what I knew as the attorney general.

But the AP is reporting that the Justice Department's Friday Night News Dump proves Abu was a lot more involved in the firings than he originally stated.

Posted by shoephone on March 23, 2007 at 08:18 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink


Chuck Schumer is my Senator, so I've spent a fair amount of time on the shoephone with his staff. They are past masters at articulating the "no position" position. I always keep pressing them - reductio ad absurdum - but they never snap. My crowning achievement was, at the end of one of these exercises, getting the aide to admit with great exasperation, "of COURSE the Senator supports the Constitution."

Let's hope the Great Wimp will support the Constitution and insist on the perogatives of the legislative branch in this crucial instance.

Posted by: op99 | Mar 23, 2007 9:30:50 PM

Huevos rancheros con Gonzales refrito --- mmmm, mighty tasty breakfast this Saturday morning!

Posted by: lotus | Mar 24, 2007 5:21:37 AM

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