Flushed Away

All kinds of shit is hitting the fans at the Department of Justice today. Nico at Think Progress reports:

Former White House counsel Harriet Miers and former top Karl Rove aide Sara Taylor, who served as White House political director before resigning last month, have been issued subpoenas over their connections to the U.S. attorney scandal. …

…These are the first subpoenas delivered to the White House regarding the attorney firings. The House Judiciary Committee issued the subpoena to Miers, and the Senate Judiciary Committee issued the subpoena to Taylor. Emails showing Taylor and Miers deeply involved in the Justice Department’s response to the scandal were released last night.

Nico goes on to say that the White House is claiming “executive privilege” and won’t let Miers and Taylor testify even if they want to. House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) issued a statement that the subpoenas are not a request, but a demand.

As usual, emptywheel explains the fine print.

Related: Margaret Talev and Marisa Taylor write for McClatchy Newspapers:

The White House’s former political director was furious at Justice Department officials for disclosing to Congress that the administration had forced out the U.S. attorney in Little Rock, Ark., to make way for a protege of Karl Rove, President Bush’s political adviser, according to documents released late Tuesday.

Then-White House political affairs director Sara Taylor spelled out her frustrations in a Feb. 16 e-mail to Kyle Sampson, then the chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

She sent the message after Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty told the Senate that unlike other federal prosecutors, U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins wasn’t fired for performance reasons, but to make way for former Republican political operative Tim Griffin. Griffin, serving as the interim U.S. attorney, then announced that he wouldn’t seek confirmation to the Arkansas post, but would remain until the Senate confirmed someone else. Griffin has since resigned.

“Tim was put in a horrible position; hung out to dry w/ no heads up,” Taylor lashed out in the e-mail, which was sent from a Republican Party account rather than from her White House e-mail address. “This is not good for his long-term career.”

There are some former U.S. attorneys who didn’t think getting fired was good for their long-term careers, either, I believe.

The interesting question here is not what Bush will do about it, or even what Democrats will do about it. It’s what Republicans in Congress will do about it. Most people realized the emperor is naked a long time ago. However, the GOP and news media are holding up a fig leaf to maintain some semblance of dignity and respect for the Creature and his administration. Who will be first to drop the fig leaf? Yes, Senate Republicans defended Alberto Gonzales yesterday, but they were holding their noses as they did so.

Alexander Bolton reports for The Hill:

Financial projections for the President’s Dinner tonight confirm that Republican confidence in the president is in a state of collapse.

The National Republican Congressional Committee’s (NRCC) fundraising goal is $7.5 million, which is half what was raised last year. But to reach this lesser goal, each individual lawmaker has been asked to raise the same amount as 12 months ago. In other words, the NRCC is assuming lawmakers won’t be either willing or able to hit the targets they managed last year.

George W. Bush used to be the all-time champ at fundraising. Back in 2003 I used to keep tabs on his day-to-day activities, and I realized he spent most of his time doing GOP fundraising. And he was doing this at our expense. He’d get on Air Force One and fly somewhere to preside over a ceremonial public function — announce a new forest policy to the annual logging industry convention, for example — then by some coincidence there would be a black-tie zillion-dollar-a-plate GOP fundraising dinner in the same community that very evening. He raked in money hand over fist. Between the fundraising and the exercise biking he hardly had time to do much else. Nice job if you can get it.

But the times, they are a-changed.

Between immigration, Iraq, and everything else, I wonder at what point the GOP will cut him loose. I know it’s going to be a hard decision, because they’re all up to their eyeballs in the same muck. But I don’t believe the Republicans can afford to wait out the clock on this administration and pretend to support it for the next 18 months. The position they are in is too precarious. Action will have to be taken. Eventually.

10 thoughts on “Flushed Away

  1. Conyers has a diary at dKos in which he tidily catches us up on the tangled web:

    Great title for this post, “Flushed Away.”

    I especially like the paragraph that reflects on Bush’s political fundraising on the taxpayer’s dime. Remember all the trouble Gore got into for making some phone calls from his office? Maybe the changing times will hold Bush to that standard. (Yeah, right.)

  2. Action will have to be taken.

    You’d think. But look at, say, Chuck Hagel. He tried to help them out of this and is being primaried for his troubles. They would seem institutionally impeded from preventing their own self-destruction.

  3. Rumor has it that Miers and Taylor will take the Fifth. Interesting in that Gonzales in June, 2002, said that “the nature of the war on terror makes existing laws and international agreements irrelevant.” Can we now assume the 5th Amendment irrelevant too?

    Of course, the over-riding law of the Bush Administration, nationally and internationally, is the law of double-standard – what applies to you does not apply to me – so Harriet and Sara can take the Fifth, no problem.

  4. sniflheim — in some ways congressional Republicans really aren’t much different form congressional Democrats. The Dems want to stick to tactics that worked in 1992. Republicans have been playing by their own rules for about the same amount of time, if not longer. Neither side seems fully cognizant of how reality has changed.

  5. How about a bible lesson to interpret Gonzo’s situation?…

    A huge storm arises. The sailors, realizing this is no ordinary storm, cast lots, and learn that Jonah/Gonzo is to blame. Jonah/Gonzo admits this, and states that if he is thrown overboard, the storm will cease. The sailors throw him overboard, and the seas calm.

    I am glad that the Democrats are still pushing to get to the truth. It seems we’ll find out where Jimmy Hoffa is buried before we find out who put the names on the list of U.S. Attorneys to be fired.

  6. Our current system of government is not presided over by George W. Bush, but by Charles Ponzi:
    Lies and obfuscation’s are used to divert attention. The operating principle here is, “When face with the truth, lie like a rug.”
    Facts are distorted by accusation. Truth is fictionalized. Lies build on lies, hiding truth behind impenatrable layers. “I can’t remember” is a lie that needs to called out. But isn’t…

    This Ponzi scheme is about to collapse. And the bill for it will have to be paid over generations. That’s if it can ever be paid.

    One last question. One that should have been asked along the way: How do you judge the cost of a lost reputation?
    When the Prom Queen show’s that she’s actually a harlot, how does she gain her reputation back? When the Captain of the Football Team is caught using steroid’s, how does he prove that his athleticism is real.
    America was never the pure nation that we were cornfed to believe. But we did, compared to the rest of the world, have that reputation. The shame is that we’ve shown the face of our evil to the rest of the world. And that’s something we’ll never get back.

    We have become what we once feared. Goodbye USA; Hello USSR.

  7. Because of the immigration bill support by President Bush, many conservatives are now talking about the “I” word, impeachment. He has been warned by at least one Republican senator to back-off. Will he? No, he’s too arrogant and stupid.

  8. I have been thinking of that phrase felicity wrote in comment #3 above: ‘the law of double standard’. Isn’t that the actual ‘leadership’ which Bush offered and which the Republicans followed like dependent sheep? To look back at his life, we can see that the standards, the ‘rules’ of military service or the ‘rules’ of capitalism, and even the ‘rules’ for elections were altered for George W. Bush.

    That the Supreme Court used a bypass of vote counting and went ahead and installed this man counts as the ultimate betrayal of our national standards. It has been downhill for America ever since that double standard was used by the Supremes.

  9. Ah, the Jonah theory. I like it. If Gonzo had any dignity, he’d pick up a cannonball and climb overboard.

    Problem is, he has to be ostracized by his fellow crewmates in the administration first, and that ain’t happening.

  10. I wanted to let you know Marisa, Margaret and all the McClatchy correspondents will have a new site and many new tools launching early next week (probably Monday) at news.mcclatchy.com. Among other things, the foreign correspondents now all have blogs, which look to be terrific. There will be Q&A forums with staffers, user submitted video opinions, multiple editorial cartoons, new blogs and the rest. I can send you a preview site link if you want to have an advance look. hweaver (at) mcclatchy.com

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