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Persecuted Prosecutors

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Karl: Get Iglesias.

“‘Under the Bush regime, honest and well-performing US Attorneys were fired for petty patronage, political horse trading and, in the most egregious case of political abuse of the US Attorney corps — that of US Attorney Iglesias — because he refused to use his office to help Republicans win elections,’ Conyers said. ‘When Mr. Iglesias said his firing was a ‘political fragging,’ he was right.‘” The House Judiciary Committee releases the information they’ve collected on the US Attorney scandal, and — hold on to your hats, people — it looks like Karl Rove has been less than truthful with Congress about his role in the illegal firings. A huge surprise, I know.

So…are political firings and lying to Congress still against the law these days, or is the plan to treat these particular criminal offenses like we do torture? In the meantime, I’d expect Rove is on the phone right this very moment, imploring his good friends at FreedomWorks and the like to dial up the crazies for the next few news cycles.

Update: More comes to light on Harriet Miers’ involvement as well.

The Axe Falls on Renzi.

Speaking of Arizona Republicans in hot water, Rep. Rick Renzi is indicted on 35 counts of “conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, extortion and insurance fraud.” Kicked off the House Intelligence Committee when news of his shadiness emerged in 2005, Renzi also played a role in the persecuted prosecutors scandal, when it came out that both he and former AG Alberto Gonzales had pressured the US attorney to hold fire on him.

In Contempt.

At long last, some movement on the persecuted prosecutors front. As the Republicans walk out in a huff (after disrupting Tom Lantos’ memorial service — classy), the House votes to hold Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten in contempt of Congress. “The citations charge Miers with failing to testify and accuse her and Bolten of refusing Congress’ demands for documents related to the 2006-2007 firings.

Mukasey Unleashed.

“I think what I said was that we could not investigate or prosecute somebody for acting in reliance on a Justice Department opinion.” The honeymoon is way over. In congressional testimony yesterday, Attorney General and theoretical straight-shooter Michael Mukasey announces he won’t look into waterboarding, won’t look into the warrantless wiretaps, and won’t enforce the persecuted prosecutor contempt citations. His rationale for all this? If the Justice Department says it’s ok, it’s not illegal. “That would mean that the same department that authorized the program would now consider prosecuting somebody who followed that advice.” Sigh…it’s enough to make one miss Alberto Gonzales. Ok, not really.

Contempt for Karl.

Remember the persecuted prosecutors? The Senate Judiciary does, voting 12-7 to hold Karl Rove and Josh Bolten in contempt of Congress. “Two Republicans, Arlen Specter and Charles Grassley, joined the committee Democrats in the contempt vote. Today’s action means contempt citations are now pending in both the House and Senate.

And, Whoa, My Nights are so long.

In the big news this past week, the wheels continue to come off over at Team Dubya. First Karl Rove jumped ship. Then Tony Snow told us he’ll be off soon to make some money. And now, at long last, Alberto Gonzales has announced his resignation as Attorney General. “[W]ithin the past week, Justice aides and other officials said, Gonzales concluded that his credibility with Congress, his employees and the public was so shattered that he could not promise to remain through the end of Bush’s term, as the White House chief of staff had demanded of Cabinet officers.” Well, that, and there’s the matter of continuing investigations into Gonzales, which the Dems say will continue (and should, since there’s solid evidence he’s perjured himself.) At any rate, good riddance, Gonzales. Like too many Dubya appointments, you’ve embarrassed the nation, with your justifications for torture and illegal wiretapping as much as with your tortured evasions and denials. Frankly, this should’ve happened months ago.

Act like a pup…

…and this is the treatment you should expect: Despite rolling over for Dubya on his formerly-illegal wiretaps, the Senate still put up a show of outrage after Karl Rove simply skips a Senate hearing on the persecuted prosecutors scandal. (Citing executive privilege once again, Dubya instead dispatched a lower-level flunkie, Scott Jennings, to the meet.) “The privilege claim can be challenged in court. But Specter has said the courts would be unlikely to resolve any challenge before Bush leaves office.

Now will we will touch the bottom of this swamp.

With respect to the U.S. Attorneys, there has been, I think, a bit of a witch hunt on Capitol Hill as they keep rolling over rocks hoping they can find something,” In an interview with Larry King, Cheney calls the persecuted prosecutor probe a “witch hunt,” and defends loyal capo Alberto Gonzales as “a good man, a good friend, on a difficult assignment.” (In another interview yesterday, he also claimed the Libby jury was wrong.) I doubt anyone really needs a credibility check at this point, but just in case: Cheney is also the guy who told us “we’d be greeted as liberators,” the Iraq insurgency “is in the last throes,” that “there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction” and is amassing them to use against” us, that the administration is learning “more and more about pre-9/11 connections between Iraq and Al Qaeda, and that the evidence of said connections is “overwhelming.” Simply put, Dick Cheney is an inveterate teller of untruths, and I wouldn’t trust him to walk Berkeley at this point, much less run the country. Impeach him already. (Cheney pic via this post.)

But is he truthy?

‘He’s a slippery fellow, and I think so intentionally,’ said Richard L. Schott, a professor at the University of Texas’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. ‘He’s trying to keep the president’s secrets and to be a team player, even if it means prevaricating or forgetting convenient things.‘” In a front-page story, the WP surveys Alberto Gonzales’ decade-long history of evasions and forgetfulness at the service of Dubya: “Whether Gonzales has deliberately told untruths or is merely hampered by his memory has been the subject of intense debate among members of Congress, legal scholars and others who have watched him over the years. Some regard his verbal difficulties as a strategic ploy on behalf of a president to whom he owes his career; others see a public official overwhelmed by the magnitude of his responsibilities.” So, liar or idiot…take your pick. (My money’s on liar.)

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