Think Progress has transcript and video of President Bush refusing to answer a direct question about whether he ordered the night visit to John Ashcroft’s hospital room. Then he then dredged up a mass of old and mostly debunked talking points (e.g., that Congress was “fully briefed”) to defend the blatantly unconstitutional program.
Just look to see how pathetic it is.
Back in those happy days in the 90s, if Clinton had refused to answer a question like this a shitstorm would’ve erupted. Ted Koppel would’ve put up a “17 days and still no answer” clock. Tweety would have had 37 blond conservative lawyers on every night to demand “accountability.” etc… etc…
See also Digby.
James Comey’s testimony amounts to a statement that — even according to the administration’s own loyal DOJ officials — the President ordered still-unknown spying on Americans, and engaged in that spying for a full two-and-a-half-years, that was so blatantly and shockingly illegal that they were all ready to resign over it. And the President’s Attorney General then lied to ensure that this episode remain concealed. Mere one-day calls for a Congressional investigation are woefully inadequate here.
There is clear and definitive evidence of deliberate lawbreaking. In addition to Congressional investigations, there is simply no excuse for anything other than the immediate commencement of a criminal investigation by a Special Prosecutor. And the administration ought to be pressured every day to account for what it did here. This is not a one-day or one-week fleeting scandal. These revelations amount to the most transparent and deliberate crimes — felonies — by our top government officials, not with regard to private and personal matters but with regard to how our government spies on us.
We’ve gone way past asking if Bush has done anything illegal enough to deserve impeachment. Seems to me we’ve got a whole smorgasbord of criminal activities to choose from. However, even if we could get a vote of impeachment in the House, it would be a waste of time if we can’t get a conviction in the Senate. And that requires a two-thirds vote. That would be about 16 more votes than there are Democrats in the Senate. And we can kiss off Lieberman. We aren’t there yet.
And then, of course, there’s the Cheney problem.
This morning I wrote that too many people were focusing on what Alberto Gonzales did wrong instead of the fact that Gonzo doesn’t sneeze until Bush tells him too.
Fred Hiatt’s editorial in today’s Washington Post is a little stronger than yesterday’s, which focused almost exclusively on Gonzales. Hiatt seems to be waking up to the reality that some seriously screwed up shit is going on in the White House. But he’s still not acknowledging that Alberto Gonazles and Andy Card wouldn’t have made the night ride to John Ashcroft’s hospital unless they knew the Boss wanted it done.
Christopher Dodd and other Dem senators want a vote of no confidence in Gonzales from the Senate. Apparently a number of Republicans might go along with this. I don’t disagree, but I don’t think the Senate can force Gonzales out. I’m not sure that, by itself, it would have any effect. I don’t think the Senate can order Gonzales to resign. However, anything that further isolates Bush from everyone else in Washington, including Republicans, is a step in the right direction.
[Update: I just heard Wolfowitz finally resigned from the World Bank. About time. Andrea Mitchell is on MSNBC right now saying that the White House was forced to go along. I may have more to say about this later.]