RUSH: ‘Republicans and Democrats sparred today over whether to force a showdown with President Bush over federal prosecutors as a Senate panel authorized subpoenas for political advisor Karl Rove and others. The Democrats angrily rejected the president’s offer to grant a limited number of lawmakers private interviews with various White House aides, including Rove, and no transcript, and without a requirement they testify under oath.’ This led to heated debate today in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. We have an exchange between Arlen Specter and Senator Patrick ‘Leaky’ Leahy.
SPECTER: If we don’t like what we get, we can always issue a subpoena, and move with a subpoena if we don’t like what we get.
LEAHY: That’s not —
SPECTER: Why not — why not take what we can get in the efforts of —
LEAHY: No! What — no! What — No! What we’re told we can get is nothing, nothing, nothing. We are told that —
LEAHY: — we can have a closed-door meeting with no transcript, not under oath, limited number of people, and the White House will determine what the agenda is. That to me is nothing.
RUSH: Whoa! Leahy angry, ladies and gentlemen. Leahy boiling. What Specter was saying (paraphrased) is, ‘Come on. They’ve offered us Rove, and they’ve offered us Miers. Let’s bring ’em up here and let’s talk to ’em and if we’re not satisfied with what they say, then let’s get the subpoenas, let’s get the ball rolling,’ and that’s when Leahy said, ‘No, no! That’s nothing, nothing, nothing!’ Democrats are furious over this. Listen to this next bite. This is on the Today Show today with Meredith Vieira, and she said, ‘Look, to paraphrase Tony Snow and President Bush, what you guys are involved in here is not a search for the truth. They don’t believe it is. They say it’s a political spectacle, a partisan fishing expedition. What do you say to that?’
LEAHY: Let me tell you this. When you have something done that looks like you’re trying to twist the way prosecution is done, you affect law enforcement all the way down to the cop on the beat. You read in the paper where they forced prosecutors to change from a $130 billion suit against the tobacco companies down to a $10 billion. That’s money out of the taxpayer’s pocket.
RUSH: I have that story. That story runs in the Washington Post. When you read the story you find out how totally phony it is. They had a debate in there among the people involved in this tobacco case. It was not at all about pressure being applied. They had a debate, which is what goes on in these kinds of places. At any rate, you see what happens here when you stand up to Democrats. They lose it! Vieira said, ‘Wait a minute. They’ve already said they’re not going to do that, sir. You have a compromise in mind over this whole thing?’
LEAHY: No. I mean, they came up and said (not actual quotes), ‘This is our offer. Take it or leave it. Accept these papers where we’ve erased 100 pages or more so you don’t even know what’s on there. Do a closed-door hearing where the public has no idea what was said, and then not under oath,’ and they said, ‘If you don’t like that — take it or leave it.’
RUSH: Exactly right. There is no criminality here. Democrats are trying to make this out to be Watergate 2. There is no criminality here — and by the way, the more people look into this, the more there was cause involved for some of the dismissals of these US attorneys — one of them particularly for just dragging her feet and going nowhere on the prosecution of illegal immigration cases. She was not even bringing them forward. In fact, there was a Bush loyalist was one of the eight that was targeted for being replaced here! Look, this is totally a non-story. Democrats can’t get anything done legislatively. Stories are all over the Stack of Stuff today about how they can’t come together on anything to do with Iraq. Code Pink showing up at more congressional offices to protest the lack of things being done.
Another story — in the Politico, no less, a left-leaning website that published a newspaper now and then, two or three times a week. It’s these guys from the Washington Post that left the dead tree paper, went over to the Internet, and started this Politico website. They are out saying, ‘Nancy Pelosi, the honeymoon’s over.’ Steny Hoyer, who is second in command in the House for the Democrats, has decided that the House is going to continue to hold open votes rather than have a definite closed period for votes. This is something they excoriated the Republicans for doing. The Republicans always held the votes open longer than scheduled in order to round up the votes to whip the votes into place. Democrats screamed, ‘You can’t do that! That’s violation of the way the House operates,’ which is not surprising. I’m just surprised anybody’s surprised about this.
Now, I want to say something here, and I will be very, very diplomatic about this. There have been many instances — well, there have been a few instances — where the White House, in the recent past, has appeared to put up its dukes, enter the ring, and said, ‘We’re going to get in a fight on this,’ such as the NSA and the wiretapping and so forth, a number of other things, and then all of a sudden, after a year goes by or two weeks or six weeks… What was the most recent one? It happened January and February. They had everybody totally supporting them on something. I can’t remember what it was, but I blew my gasket when they changed their mind on this and can’t remember what it is. It will come to me in just a moment. My point with all of this is that there is a pattern — and I must say this. You get ready to rumble out there, you’re going, ‘All right, finally!’ Now, there is a pattern. This may not be one of those instances, but there is a pattern where the White House after a period of time eventually relents and gives the Democrats what they want.
My experience tells me that we can’t go out too far on a limb as though this is going to hold up, because the recent past indicates that sometimes it won’t. I would like to suggest to people inside the White House: if you’re going to draw a line in the sand like this, you get everybody on your side thinking that you’re going to hold fast and you’re going to resist these subpoenas, and you’re going to say you’re not going to participate in a fishing expedition, and you’re going to protect the executive branch and this constitutional mettle over the separation of powers, don’t draw the line in the sand like this and then pull back and expect to have your credibility intact. If you lose credibility with your political enemies, along with your base, then you are in deep doo-doo.
Look, it’s the same for me. It would be the same for me. If I made a case about something, and I was pedal to the metal on it, and I was out there, and I was going to go as fast as I could on something, and I assured you that I was not going to waver and then a period of time later, six months, six weeks, whatever, I changed my mind, where would you be? You would be fit to be tied. ‘Rush, you caved! You wussed out. How can you do this?’ We have had this experience on some issues with the White House. So while it looks like they’re dead serious on this one (finally), we still have to understand that the pattern out there that does exist. I would suggest to people in the White House, if you’ve drawn the line in the sand, don’t cross it or don’t erase it, whatever you do, because you’ve got people rallying to your defense on this now, particularly out in the country. It still remains to be seen what congressional Republicans both in the House and Senate are going to do on this. They are crucial, by the way. Look, one of the reasons why I’m sure that they’re somewhat timid is because of the same pattern that I describe. There are a lot of people who have gone out, ‘The White House says X and we’re not budge from this,’ and go rah-rah-rah, get a bunch of people supporting it, and some short period of time later they do a 180.
RUSH: I want to make this clear one more time here. The White House seems firm here in their resolve to fight these subpoenas that the Senate has authorized, the subpoenas for Rove and Harriet Miers. As I suggested yesterday, go get some big gun powerhouse lawyers and just play this out as long as you can play it out. Just delay these people. Paper ’em with motions, tie everybody up, and try to get this strung out to the end of the term here. There’s plenty of precedent here for the Bush administration winning this. There’s no criminal activity that’s taken place here whatsoever. This is nothing more than a desire (it’s almost an obsession with Democrats) to get Karl Rove, however and whenever they could. Tony Snow is up to speed on this. He was on Good Morning America today. He was on a bunch of shows, actually. We have a Limbaugh Echo here from Tony Snow, that is that liberals have Karl Rove-itis. Diane Sawyer said, ‘If you haven’t got anything to hide why not go up and testify under oath? Why not let Karl Rove go up there and show he has nothing to hide. Testify under oath and with a transcript! Let everybody see it.’
SNOW: This is what I love, this Karl Rove obsession. What do you want? Do you want Karl Rove on TV or do you want the truth? It seems to me that all this —
SAWYER: Why can’t you have both?
SNOW: White House aides have to have the expectation that they can give their full advice to the president, and if you have to think, ‘OK, you can get called up on Capitol Hill because somebody has heard something from somebody or read an e- mail,’ that not only has a chilling effect, it means that everybody’s going to guard everything they say. So the real question, Diane, is: Is there a single fact that they will not have available to them? And the answer is no. They’ll have all the facts. So what you’re missing now is a televised spectacle.
RUSH: Not only do they have all the facts, not only is that the case, they want this televised spectacle. But there’s another aspect to this, too, and that’s the separation of powers. There simply is no criminality here, and as such, there’s no requirement that White House aides go up and answer questions from partisan-oriented members of the Senate and members of Congress who simply want to politically embarrass the president. This is not Watergate. This is not something that is even close to it. What do you think Leahy would do if George W. Bush said, ‘I want to talk to your staffers. I want to talk to your staffers and you, Senator Biden, and you, Senator Kennedy. I want to talk to your staffers. I want to see your staffers in the Oval Office and I want to find out from your staffers just who you’ve been coordinating with and for how long on trying to raise hell over my judicial nominees. You’ve tried to destroy some of my judicial nominees lives and their careers, not just their appointments. I want to find out who it is that you’ve been working with and coordinating with on this. You have a Karl Rove or a bunch of them. You’ve got legislative aides and all this. You’ve got chief of staff up there. I want to talk to them.’
What do you think Leahy and Kennedy would do if such a request or demand were made? ‘But, Rush! But, Rush! The executive branch has no oversight of the legislative branch.’ That may be true, but this does not fall under oversight. This is political. It is a witch hunt. It’s a desire to find a crime. And I’ll tell you what else it is. Listen to me carefully on this. The reason that Leahy wants these people, Rove and Harriet Miers up under oath, is to set a perjury trap. He wants to pull a Patrick Fitzfong on them. He knows there’s no crime here. He has said so. He has said so previously in numerous television appearances, that there was no crime, no crime in firing US attorneys. Chuck Schumer has said the same thing. So why in the world do you need them under oath? There was nothing inappropriate. The White House maintains it. Alberto Gonzales, the attorney general, this morning said, ‘I’m not resigning. I’m not quitting. Everything was appropriate. I’ll be glad to go talk to these guys. I’ll clarify whatever they want clarified but we’re not sending people up there under oath,’ because that’s just a perjury trap.
This is nothing more than a trap. That’s why I hope and I pray that the White House holds firm on this like they’ve held firm on the Iraq war. I hope they hold as firm on this as they have on anything else, because they’ve drawn this big line in the stand. The Democrats are fit to be tied. Make the Democrats continue to keep the country in tumult and chaos, and make the American people grow tired and weary of it. Tony Snow again on CBS Early Show with Harry Smith, who today acted as an appendage of the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Harry Smith said, ‘Tony, here’s what it looks like. These people certainly serve at the will of the president, pleasure of the president, have been or are kicked out for undue political influence. Even on the front page of your Washington Post today, you had the lead prosecutor in a Big Tobacco case saying that Alberto Gonzales justice department, ‘political interference is happening at justice across the department.” I’m going to get to that story in just a second, because it’s phony and as contrived a story as you’ve ever seen. Anyway, Harry Smith says, ‘The rule of law goes out the window in this justice department.’
SNOW: Harry, you’re sounding like a partisan rather than a reporter here. Please permit me to try to explain what’s going on, because if you take a look also at reporting in the New York Times, what they have said is look at the documents that indicate that there is no political interference. When people have looked at the available documentary evidence in the case of the US attorney, zippo. So I think what you need to do is to stop trying to make a break for political interference and maybe do what we’re asking members of Congress to do.
SMITH: All right.
SNOW: Figure out what the facts are.
RUSH: ‘Figure out what the facts are.’ It’s a perjury trap. That’s all they want. They want to create their own process crime in the Senate Judiciary Committee with these subpoenas, because there is no crime. They keep talking about this Washington Post story. It’s a long, drawn-out affair, and the story was written, this story was put together specifically to give people like Harry Smith and Diane Sawyer something to talk about today. I’m not surprised that Diane Sawyer and Harry Smith are ignorant, or at least not thinking about the whole concept of separation of powers here. ‘Well, if you got nothing to hide…?’ Why don’t you try that in any criminal proceeding? ‘I’ve got nothing to hide.’
Like Conrad Black is on trial Chicago. ‘Conrad, you say you’re innocent and have nothing to hide, then go say what you did.’ That’s not the way it works, folks. It’s not up to the innocent to prove their innocence in a court of law where charges have been made; it’s up to the accusers to prove the guilt. Now, here the guilt is being assumed. The Drive-By Media is carrying that assumption throughout the country — and of course now everybody is out there with the assumption the White House and Rove and Miers are guilty of something, and they’ve gotta go up and defend themselves. That’s not how it works. No crime has been committed, and the Democrats on this committee have said so themselves.