RUSH: There’s no sense of unrest for me. Clearly times are troubling and so forth, but I maintain my cheerful optimism about things. Nothing’s happened to cause me to change that. I know the Gonzales thing is still percolating out there, and it’s becoming absurd. It’s just absurd. The White House doesn’t seem interested in doing anything about it, in a PR sense, other than trying to stop the resignation of Gonzales. But now you have John Sununu, a Republican (he’s a back bencher from New Hampshire) who has called for Gonzales to step down. Big mistake. Why do we keep giving them scalps? Now, I don’t know what influence Sununu is going to have. I doubt he’s going to have any influence with the people. Of course, the media going to eat it up. You never know what’s going to happen with other Republican senators. It only takes one for the rest of the lemmings to go off the cliff, as you know.
RUSH: All right, on to the continuing non-story of the firing of eight US attorneys. “The Senate Judiciary Committee today cleared the way for subpoenas compelling five Justice Department officials and six of the U.S. attorneys they fired to tell the story of the purge that has prompted demands for the ouster of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.” You know, it’s interesting. You do a Google search and search for the terms ‘Watergate’ and ‘Gonzales.’ I found at the time 303 hits and they all mention Watergate. Watergate, Watergate, Watergate. This is not Watergate. Did I not tell you people that what the Democrats are trying to create here is another Watergate — the war in Iraq, Bush lied, all of these things — now this Gonzales story and the so-called purge of eight US attorneys. This is Nixonesque.
They are attempting to redo Watergate and the Vietnam War all in the same bubble. It is their standard practice. If you search just on Google for ‘Watergate’ and ‘Alberto Gonzales,’ you’ll find 141,000 hits and a whole bunch of them mention Watergate. From Salon.com to CBS News to a bunch of blogs, to the Washington Post, you’ll find references to Watergate with this US attorney business. Now, Andy McCarthy, my friend at National Review Online and one of the prosecutors of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers, one of the associate US attorneys that prosecuted that case, sent me a little note last night about all this. He said, “The maddening thing with these controversies is it’s never about the guy so much, it is about the fight. Gonzales was probably never on anybody’s big list of AG candidates except the president’s, but it was worth fighting for his confirmation because Democrats had turned it into a referendum on the conduct of the war. Now, no matter what you think of Gonzales’ performance, it would be a travesty to allow him to be forced out because the opposition has turned the US attorney fiasco into a referendum on abuse of presidential power.”
Well, how absurd can this be? There cannot be abuse of presidential power when the president is exercising his constitutional authority! Still the Drive-By Media is stretching and bending over forwards and backwards to make all kinds of distinctions between Bill Clinton firing 93 US attorneys and Bush getting rid of eight. They’re doing it by saying, “Well, Bush was trying to stop some corruption investigations against his friends.” Oh, as though Clinton didn’t get rid of Jay Stephens in Chicago to stop an investigation into Dan ‘Rosty’ Rostenkowski, and he didn’t get rid of the US attorney in Little Rock and replace him with Paula Casey to stop an investigation into Whitewater? (Which worked.)
By the way, it was the US attorney in Little Rock that was Clinton’s real target. He tried to cover it up by having Reno announce he got rid of all 93, Jay Stephens in Chicago being one of them. But this is a powerful paragraph: “It is remarkable that this is what it comes down to after the disgraceful Sandy Burglar sweetheart plea, the inexplicable lack of movement on the Jefferson investigation, that would be Congressman William Jefferson (Democrat-Louisiana) who is now on the homeland security committee, despite the fact that there are two people who have pled guilty to bribing Congressman William Jefferson (Democrat-Louisiana). Also, the happenstance of his being on tape taking a $100,000 bribe, 90,000 of which was seized from his refrigerator, and there is an agent who has sworn under oath that he obstructed the search of his home.
“We’ve had the about-face on José Padilla, now he’s an enemy combatant, now he’s a criminal defendant, keeps going back and forth. We’ve had the sudden shift of the NSA’s terrorist surveillance program to the FISA court after a year of the administration asserting that this vital program couldn’t work under the FISA statute, then they put it under the FISA statute. We’ve had a lack of movement on any of the wartime classified information leaks, not one. And the absence of meaningful immigration enforcement against employers and on the borders.” Now, if you look at this — and this is just a partial list, but these are the big stories. These are the things the justice department is not doing. Where is action on Congressman Jefferson for example? Why the slap on the wrist to Sandy
You look at the Scooter Libby fiasco. You look at this fiasco. The Drive-By Media is getting away with totally mischaracterizing this as an abuse of presidential power, comparing it now to Watergate over and over and over again. Meanwhile, the justice department is sitting on its hands and not doing anything. It gives rise to the question: who’s really running the show in this place? Plus, Andy’s right. All of these leaks to the Washington Times and Washington Post and New York Times, where is the investigation into these? There isn’t one. Nobody cares, it seems. So you have to ask who’s in there bottling this stuff up? Who’s making sure it doesn’t happen? This is not about the US attorneys. The US attorneys are located in 93 cities and states. I’m asking questions about the justice department. The same thing could be asked about State. The same thing could be asked about the Pentagon. The same thing could be asked about CIA. What’s frustrating about it is the administration seems…just willing to bend over and give the Democrats part of what they want every time they start bellyaching and complaining.
Now, McCarthy tells me in his note here that “Gonzales rates being defended strictly because it would be an outrage if he lost his job over this manufactured scandal. But the president shouldn’t be shocked that there isn’t exactly a tidal wave rushing to the attorney general’s defense, because there are a lot of people with a lot of questions of what the hell the Department of Justice has been doing or not doing and who in the DOJ is stifling these investigations.” Why is Congressman Jefferson
EMANUEL: The fired US attorneys were aggressively investigating public corruption cases, and they were fired ostensibly for job performance, which in this White House means you’re guilty of doing your job. The question some of us want to know, is where are these public corruption cases today? And as Washington debates whether Alberto Gonzales, the attorney general, survives by the weekend, some of us want to know whether we can bring back to life these public corruption investigations to these five jurisdictions.
SPEAKER PROTEM: Time.
“I don’t claim to have been following closely the controversy over the recent dismissal of seven (or is it eight?) U.S. attorneys, but I have reviewed the internal Administration documents posted on the House Judiciary Committee’s website. Based on what these documents show, the reaction to these dismissals seems curiously overwrought. This Washington Post story from today, for example, seems to strain to characterize the documents in the most one-sided manner possible. Let me explain my understanding.
“1. U.S. attorneys are executive-branch officials who serve at the pleasure of the President. On the one hand, the President has plenary power to dismiss them for any reason — including failure to adhere to Administration priorities on law enforcement — or for no reason at all. On the other, it is widely accepted (and, I certainly believe, sound) that decisions regarding prosecutions should not be politicized. For that reason, it is generally highly imprudent for the White House to intervene in, or to offer advice or direction with regard to, a specific pending matter involving, say, prosecution of elected officials or candidates for elective office. It would follow as well that, absent malfeasance, U.S. attorneys shouldn’t be fired because of dissatisfaction with their handling of an ongoing matter of that nature.
“2. The Post story asserts that decisions to dismiss the eight U.S. attorneys ‘were heavily influenced by assessments of the prosecutors’ political loyalty.’ This assertion evidently rests on a March 2, 2005, e-mail from Kyle Sampson (Attorney General Gonzales’s Chief of Staff) to White House counsel Harriet Miers that groups U.S. attorneys in three categories: those whom DOJ recommends be retained, those it recommends be removed, and those as to whom it makes no recommendation. Those in the ‘to be retained’ category are said to be ‘strong U.S. Attorneys who have produced, managed well, and exhibited loyalty to the President and Attorney General.’ By contrast, those in the ‘to be removed’ category are ‘weak U.S. Attorneys who have been ineffectual managers and prosecutors, chafed against Administration initiatives, etc.’ In context, it seems clear that Sampson and DOJ are not assessing ‘political loyalty’ broadly understood but rather fidelity to ‘Administration initiatives.’ That is an entirely proper standard for assessing the performance of U.S. attorneys.
“3. As to several of the seven or eight removed U.S. attorneys, the documents that have been made available provide specific affirmative evidence that the decisions to remove were not made on improper grounds. For example: A September 20, 2006, e-mail from a DOJ attorney, Brent Ward, to Sampson is titled ‘Obscenity cases’ and complains: ‘We have two U.S. Attorneys who are unwilling to take good cases we have presented to them. They are Paul Charlton in Phoenix (this is urgent) and Dan Bogden in Las Vegas.’ The e-mail further indicates that the Attorney General had told folks to ‘kick butt and take names.’ A May 31, 2006, e-mail from Sampson to Bill Mercer in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General (“ODAG”) asks: ‘Has ODAG ever called Carol Lam and woodshedded her re immigration enforcement? Has anyone?’ (Lam was U.S. attorney for the Southern District of California.)” Nobody was doing anything on illegal immigration, the justice department, they were upset about it.
“4. That the White House wanted Tim Griffin to become U.S. attorney in Arkansas does not suggest any nefarious reason for the removal of U.S. attorney Bud Cummins. No one (especially no one on the Hill) should be surprised, much less scandalized, that political favorites get political appointments. … 5. The very fact that the decision making process on the dismissals took so long—nearly two years—is powerful evidence that the dismissals were not a general effort to push folks out in a hurry in order to affect the handling of pending cases.”
Ed Whelan is exactly right. This was a two-year process to identify these eight US attorneys who were not performing up to administration standards. People get fired all the
RUSH: Now some more of the fanaticism from the left — and make no mistake. Howard Dean’s even got a fund-raising letter out to members of the Democratic National Committee, donors to the Democrat Party, that this is George W. Bush’s Watergate. Make no mistake, that’s the attempt now to link this to Watergate. It’s just as I’ve said all along: they’ll try to take this president out if they can before ’08 comes around. Short of that, they want to isolate Bush so that he will have no support whatsoever from members of his own party on virtually anything. They’ll fail on Iraq, but it looks like they’ll succeed on some of the other things. Here’s Dingy Harry at a Washington press conference, talking about Gonzales.
REID: It’s unethical. It’s immoral. I believe it’s illegal, and Gonzales should be fired, or he should resign.
RUSH: Mrs. Bill Clinton has joined that fray, by the way, saying that Gonzales should be fired. Here’s Pat Leahy on the Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer last night. Wolf’s question: Is there anything illegal in putting one of Karl Rove’s associates in and making him the US attorney in Arkansas?
LEAHY: There’s nothing illegal in a president firing — by itself, in firing — a US attorney. What I am saying is that that hurts law enforcement, that it hurts fighting against crime.
RUSH: How the
LEAHY: If I do not get the cooperation, I will subpoena. We will have testimony under oath before this committee. We’ll have the chance, both Republicans and Democrats, to ask questions — and we’ll find out what happened.
RUSH: Unbelievable. Unbelievable. There’s no scandal; there is no crime; there have been no damage to law enforcement except maybe… Here’s the frustrating thing. The Democrats are being who they are. This is no shock. I’m wasting my breath and I’m wasting my energy getting upset about them. I finally zeroed in on this, got deep down inside the gut to get to the root feelings on this, and the thing that has continually surprised me — stunned me, amazed me — is the appearance that this administration does not understand that they are under an attack designed to