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March 07, 2007

Hastings/Cassidy -- Let the Spin Begin!

John McKay's bombshell at the hearings yesterday has led to more panic for the Republicans involved in the attempted coup at the U.S. Attorneys Office. Doc Hastings responded that there was nothing inappropriate about his former chief of staff's call to McKay. Now Ed Cassidy, the CoS in question, is whipping up some feverish spin of his own:

My conversation with John McKay was a routine effort to determine whether allegations of voter fraud in the 2004 gubernatorial elections were, or were not, being investigated by federal authorities...As the top aide to the chairman of the House Ethics Committee, I understood the permissable limits on any such conversation. Mr McKay understood and respected those boundaries as well. I am pleased that Mr. McKay recalls both our agreement to respect those boundaries and my subsequent decision to end the conversation promptly.

Good try, Mr. Cassidy, but it's clear that it's precisely because you didn't understand about the boundaries that John McKay had to take out a piece of chalk and teach you about them. He was so bothered by your seeming ignorance of protocol he had a conversation with his assistants about whether you and your boss were creating a problem by dancing oh-so-close to the line of interference.

And again, I just have to point out that as "the [former] chairman of the House Ethics Committee" during the period of time in which that call took place, Hastings is likely to be meeting with his lawyers today, because CREW is already on the case. Just ask Domenici and Wilson.

Speaking of lawyers, it turns out that McKay's memory includes a brief brandishment delivered to him by none other than Bush's very recently departed White House counsel, the supremely qualified Harriet Miers:

In remarks after the hearings, McKay said that officials in the White House counsel's office, including then-counsel Harriet E. Miers, asked him to explain why he had "mishandled" the governor's race during an interview for a federal judgeship in September 2006. McKay was informed after his dismissal that he also was not a finalist for the federal bench.

White House spokesman Scott Stanzel declined last night to respond to McKay's comments.

Two questions. First, if Harriet Miers was accusing McKay of "mishandling the governor's race", is it even remotely believable that she wasn't speaking on behalf of the president? Secondly, when is Miers going to be called to testify before the judiciary committees?

The Seattle Times has more.

Update: TPM Muckraker reports that the Senate plans to subpoena five more Justice Department officals when it meets tomorrow. Where would we be without Josh Marshall and his team's fantastic digging into this story?

Posted by shoephone on March 7, 2007 at 11:23 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink


Where would we be without Josh Marshall and his team's fantastic digging into this story?

In the dark, I suspect. The WaPo is picking up the story now, sort of. They've had a reporter, Dan Eggen, assigned to it since late January, it appears.

There's also this about the DoJ subpoenas:

Sen. Schumer is quoted as being interested in finding "those responsible" for the firings.

Posted by: Cujo359 | Mar 8, 2007 12:45:14 AM

It just keeps getting worse, doesn't it?

People like this do not belong in any position where they have the power to make decisions that have far-reaching consequences for the syatem of justice and the potential to affect - negatively - people's lives. In fact, many of them, in my opinion, probably belong in prison.

The magnitude of their disregard - and disrespect - for the concept of the co-equality of our three branches of government and the rule of law is dwarfed only by their sense of their own importance and what they believe is their right to meddle in the process for their own benefit.

It's as saddening as it is maddening, and I'm glad it is finally being exposed for all to see. It's yet one more corner of government that has been compromised and corrupted - and I think the people are finally beginning to see that the pattern is not a figment of partisan imagination.

Posted by: Anne | Mar 8, 2007 5:09:48 AM

"The supremely qualified Harriet Miers." Heh. It was so obvious that the only qualification necessary was to let Bush and his minions skate on any future cases before the Supreme Court. Not that Bush won't get that anyway with Roberts and Alito, but at least they appeared to be of a caliber that belonged in the club. I hope the Democrats will hang tough on Bush's judicial nominees for the rest of his term - don't even let anyone ideological out of committee.

Anyway, it'd be nice to see Dirty Harriet's ass in a sling over this.

Posted by: op99 | Mar 8, 2007 8:42:51 AM

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