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Truth Comes out in Silence

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No matter how much the White House wants to keep secrets around the firings of at least eight U.S. attorneys, their silence is telling us the real story.

In the latest round of trying to keep a lid on what led to the firings, the White House has invoked executive privilege for President George W. Bush’s top political adviser, Karl Rove, and his deputy, Scott Jennings. Rove and Jennings were to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee investigating the firings Thursday.

“It is regretted that the committee has forced this action, as the president’s offer of accommodation to you and to the House Judiciary Committee could have provided information being sought in a manner respectful of presidential prerogatives and consistent with a spirit of comity,” wrote White House Counsel Fred Fielding.

Fielding said that Rove, as an adviser to the president, couldn’t be forced to tell what he knows, and when he knew it.

The White House said it would make its top advisers available as long as they were not placed under oath (so they could lie) and if there was no transcript taken (so there would be no record of what was said).

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, smells something fishy with the whole situation. Senator, you are not alone, my friend.

Leahy said that Rove had no problems with shooting his mouth off about the firings before (when it turns out he was completely, utterly, fantastically wrong), but now is going to take a vow of silence. Jennings is going to testify, but will zip his lips if he feels the answers to questions are covered by executive privilege, his attorney, Mark Paoletta, told CNN.

U.S. Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, has also taken a vow of silence (or developed a faulty memory) when it comes to the firings. He testified that he does not remember the details of the firings that took place Dec. 7, 2006.

So, in a nutshell, that means we the people won’t get the answers. It also means the separation of powers has become a thing of history.

The White House has also invoked executive privilege to block former White House political director Sara Taylor and former White House counsel Harriet Miers from testifying, as well as to block White House chief of staff Josh Bolten from turning over documents subpoenaed in the investigation.

With all this silence, it’s not hard to see what actually happened.

Allow me, your fearless commentator, to fill in the blanks: Eight judges were fired, because they were not “loyal Bushies,” people who did not share the president’s views of the world and how it works. Karl Rove put it in the president’s head that they need to go, and the president, being a loyal puppy, whispers to Gonzales that the judges need to go. Gonzales, not wanting to be out of his job as the United States’ attorney, fired them. And then, well, they all developed foggy memories.

It is the sound of silence, folks, and it’s telling us the real story of what happened.

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About S. Manley

  • You hit the nail on the head, Shaun! It’s so obvious what’s happening, and so galling to hear people like Tony Snow always whining that there’s been no evidence of wrongdoing, it’s all a big witch hunt, blah, blah, blah…

    What happened in this case is nothing less than the perversion of the justice system for political advantage. I can’t think of anything more unamerican.

    Gonzales should be tried for perjury, then impeached, then sent to his room without dinner.

  • Get a grip people. You’re exactly right about why the attorneys were fired. Now, where is the crime in it?

    Good luck finding one. I won’t hold my breath.


  • Well, Dave, let’s start with perjury. I believe that’s a crime, is it not? Gonzales’s testimony to congress has been contradicted by several other people in a position to know. Just because you’re the Attorney General doesn’t give you carte blanche to lie to congress.

    Why would he lie? He’s obviously lying to cover his ass, Karl’s ass, and probably W’s ass. Even if the firings weren’t technically a crime, they were certainly sordid and corrupt and went against what Americans like to think they believe in, i.e. the equal application of justice, without the influence of political machinations.

  • Nancy

    Dave, something you and all politicians have never learned, seemingly, is that while something may not be illegal per the letter of the law, if it violates the spirit of the law, or is unethical or amoral, it’s just as wrong. The only reason I suspect congress doesn’t make it illegal is that they themselves are just as guilty in some other aspects yet uncovered.

    As for Rove or any other member of this current administration telling the truth even under oath, I wouldn’t bet on it. Rove after all is like the maggot at the heart of the apple, & one of the key perpetrators of the lies, dirty tricks, cheating, & all other skullduggery that has gone on by BushCo.

  • Dave,

    If YOU called up a U.S. attorney and “suggested” that it might be best for him or her to rethink their handling of a case or cases, with the implication that there could be some sort of retaliation if they didn’t, do you think there’s the slightest chance someone just might find a crime to charge you with?

    There’s no problem with finding several possible crimes–intimidation of a public official, conspiracy, bribery, perjury, etc.;there is a big problem with proving it, which is what Rove, Cheney, the AG, et.al. count on.

    John Brownlee, U.S. attorney in VA, prosecuted Purdue Pharma for overmarketing OxyContin, which is too easily abused.

    He reached a plea deal with the company and several former company executives. The night before the deal was finalized Brownlee was contacted by a high-ranking Justice Department official who pressured him to slow things down. A few days after he disregarded the call, his name was added to a dept. hit list of those to be fired.

    Brownlee, who had never received a negative performance review, was only on the list temporarily. The Justice Department’s criminal division had signed off on the plea agreement before the call.

    Brownlee had to testify honestly that he could prove no direct link between the call to back off and his name being placed on the list. Politics is expected in appointing U.S. atorneys;playing politics for fun and profit with their official duties should be considered criminal, unless that’s the kind of government we’re willing to tolerate.

  • moonraven

    Nalle is incapable of seeing crimes by Republicans.

    If he were a capable person he would not be living with a shotgun by his side in a trailer in Texas.