Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Gonzales roundup

The Justice Department released 3,000 pages of documents related to the firing of U.S. prosecutors, hoping to persuade critics that the firings were not politically motivated.

(For the raw document dump, go here.)

It's a lot to digest, so not a lot of details just yet. They seem to show a mix of political and performance concerns for at least some of the fired prosecutors, but the full context will take some time to emerge.

Meanwhile, as support for Gonzales continues to erode, Politico is reporting that the White House is already searching for a possible replacement for Gonzales -- something strenuously denied by the White House. Among the names being bandied about:

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and White House anti-terrorism coordinator Frances Townsend. Former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson is a White House prospect. So is former solicitor general Theodore B. Olson, but sources were unsure whether he would want the job.

On Monday night, Republican officials said two other figures who are being seriously considered are Securities and Exchange Committee Chairman Chris Cox, who is former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and is popular with conservatives; and former Attorney General William P. Barr, who served under President George H.W. Bush from 1991 to 1993 and is now general counsel of Verizon Communications.

Then there's this:

Republican sources also disclosed that it is now a virtual certainty that Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty, whose incomplete and inaccurate congressional testimony about the prosecutors helped precipitate the crisis, will also resign shortly. Officials were debating whether Gonzales and McNulty should depart at the same time or whether McNulty should go a day or two after Gonzales.

Separately, the Senate voted overwhelmingly to repeal a Patriot Act provision that let Gonzales name replacement prosecutors without bothering with Senate confirmation -- a situation that helped raise Senate hackles when the firings first came to light.

It almost doesn't matter if the firings turn out to have been political or not. The bungled response, the attempts to marginalize or ignore Congress, the history of poor management and poor legal judgement -- all spell doom for Gonzales. Or doom for Bush's policy initiatives, if he chooses to retain his embattled AG.

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3 Comments:

Blogger daniel said...

See a tongue-in-cheek visual of Alberto & Karl starring in the new White House presentation of "Justice Is Served"...here:

www.thoughttheater.com

3/20/2007 1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most likely either Schumer or Leahy "leaked" that LIE about the White House already shopping for a new AG. President Bush said today that despite "rumors" he is NOT looking for another AG and is firmly standling behind Gonzales.

Shall we place Schumer and Leahy "under oath" about it? While we're at it, let's take a look at all their e-mails to see if there's anything "poltical" in there.

If they vote FOR the supoenas.....looks like there will be a legal fight and they will ultimately lose. It will only hurt them to tie themselves up in a legal case against the White House.

JP5

3/20/2007 9:14 PM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

JP5: The story refers to "Republican" officials and sources. Last I checked, Schumer and Leahy don't qualify.

As for who will win a confrontation, I disagree. It's a battle of implied powers, but Bush's executive privilege claim appears weaker than Congress' subpoena claim, IMO.

Though I hope it won't come to that -- or if it does, I hope the courts rule very narrowly. Intellectually speaking, it would be interesting to have such a major question settled. Practically speaking, though, it would make things very knotty indeed.

3/20/2007 9:40 PM  

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