Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hypocrisy, Republican flavor

This is funny:

A Republican congressman who issued a large number of subpoenas for Clinton administration officials in the 1990s joined fellow Republicans in criticizing Oversight Committee Chairman Henry Waxman for alleged overuse of subpoena authority....

[Rep. Dan Burton] chaired the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in the 1990s, and became famous for issuing a wide variety of subpoenas to Clinton White House staff and other executive branch officials. In a report on the oversight activities conducted to date in the 110th Congress, Burton joined other House Republicans to warn Democrats not to "abuse" their authority.

"The minority is concerned the majority may abuse the deposition authority provided to this committee under the 110th House Rules. The minority also is concerned with the majority's practice of threatening subpoenas to witnesses unless they 'agree' to transcribed interviews," warned Burton with other Congress members.

Dems do the same thing, of course. Indeed, the article sounds a cautionary note for them, from former White House counsel Lanny Davis:

"We complained about Burton’s use of the subpoena power in the 1990s and need to show restraint and not use the same clearly partisan tactics," he argued.

Yep. Tempting as it is to play tit for tat, Dems need to take the high road. They were elected to oversee the executive branch, not bury it in partisan investigations. In the prosecutor case they have come dangerously close to overplaying their hand a couple of times, only to be saved by further White House bumbling. They can't count on getting that lucky all the time. They are probably convinced that the administration is a sea of corruption and vice. But the way to expose that is to find a thread and unravel it, not go on unjustified fishing expeditions.

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8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Dems on the Judiciary Committe have already overplayed their hand. You've got a lawyer...Chuck Schumer....who should know better-- saying that it is now up to Alberto Gonzales to prove that the Attorneys were NOT fired due to political reasons. As a lawyer, Shumer KNOWS that the burden of proof is on the prosecution, which is what he is here in this instance. Asking a defendant (Gonzales) to prove a negative and prove his innocence is NOT the way it works. Most people see that as totally unfair and against our entire legal system. And at some point, the unfairness they are exhibiting will backfire on them.

JP5

4/10/2007 8:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And you are correct....there is a lot of "tit for tat" going on. Big difference is that when Burton was doing it, Democrats stuck together and circled-the-wagons and protected his target--no matter how good his reasons were. Example: Janet Reno. But now---the wimpy Republicans don't stand behind their people---no matter how unfair the Dem leaders are being and even if they KNOW that nothing criminal was done here. It's like the Republicans are standing there watching a brutal beating of an innocent man, but doing nothing about it.

JP5

4/10/2007 8:19 PM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

You've got a lawyer...Chuck Schumer....who should know better-- saying that it is now up to Alberto Gonzales to prove that the Attorneys were NOT fired due to political reasons.

Link? I haven't heard that. And besides, we're not talking about a court of law.

But now---the wimpy Republicans don't stand behind their people---no matter how unfair the Dem leaders are being...

You might want to ask yourself why that is. You insist that not only do you KNOW Gonzales did nothing wrong, but that there's no reason to even be asking questions. I don't think that squares with reality.

I've said before that Gonzales should go because he's been a disaster, first as White House counsel and then as AG. The incredible bungling over the prosecutor firings is thus far more of a rap on his competence than his criminality. But with every new revelation it starts to look like there might be something there. Investigation is called for.

If you're correct, he will be exonerated. Although I think it's more likely that calls for his head will continue to mount -- not because of proof of wrongdoing, but because of incompetence. What's at stake here is far more than one doomed idiot of an AG: If wrongdoing is proven, it will be an indictment of the White House, not just Gonzales.

I think such proof will be hard to come by. But with this administration, anything is possible.

4/10/2007 8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JP5: You've got a lawyer...Chuck Schumer....who should know better-- saying that it is now up to Alberto Gonzales to prove that the Attorneys were NOT fired due to political reasons.

Sean: Link? I haven't heard that. And besides, we're not talking about a court of law.

JP5 So if you already have an excuse for a defense, why do you need a link? I heard it on one of the tv news programs the other day; can't find a link. But he said it. I know---because I couldn't believe it!


JP5: But now---the wimpy Republicans don't stand behind their people---no matter how unfair the Dem leaders are being...

Sean: You might want to ask yourself why that is. You insist that not only do you KNOW Gonzales did nothing wrong, but that there's no reason to even be asking questions. I don't think that squares with reality.

JP5: I already KNOW why that is. Like Dems, they seek to get rid of Gonzales for other reasons. Some Republicans don't like how he's handled the arrest of those 2 border patrol guys who shot the drug smuggler. Some don't like how they think he's kowtowed to Dems too much.

Sean: I've said before that Gonzales should go because he's been a disaster, first as White House counsel and then as AG. The incredible bungling over the prosecutor firings is thus far more of a rap on his competence than his criminality. But with every new revelation it starts to look like there might be something there. Investigation is called for.

If you're correct, he will be exonerated. Although I think it's more likely that calls for his head will continue to mount -- not because of proof of wrongdoing, but because of incompetence. What's at stake here is far more than one doomed idiot of an AG: If wrongdoing is proven, it will be an indictment of the White House, not just Gonzales.

I think such proof will be hard to come by. But with this administration, anything is possible.

JP5: Well, just remember: what goes around comes around. All these precedents that Dems are setting today---proving yourself innocent of baseless charges and accusations; getting into private e-mails and computers; declaring people guilty because they take the 5th---will most certainly be used against them someday. And probably sooner rather than later.

And he may not be exonerated even if innocent. Look no further than Lewis Libby.

JP5

4/11/2007 10:29 AM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

So if you already have an excuse for a defense, why do you need a link? I heard it on one of the tv news programs the other day; can't find a link. But he said it.

Well, I'd like to see what he said for myself. Forgive me for not considering you an unbiased source. ;)

I already KNOW why that is. Like Dems, they seek to get rid of Gonzales for other reasons. Some Republicans don't like how he's handled the arrest of those 2 border patrol guys who shot the drug smuggler. Some don't like how they think he's kowtowed to Dems too much.

This sounds like a shifting rationale. First you say Republicans are wimpy, then you say they want Gonzales gone. I have yet to hear a single Republican say he wants Gonzales gone because he's too deferential to Democrats.

Well, just remember: what goes around comes around.

Yep. If this is unjustified, you can expect the Dems to pay for it later.

And he may not be exonerated even if innocent. Look no further than Lewis Libby.

Libby lied under oath. It's simply untenable to suggest otherwise, or call it a simple memory lapse. It's too farfetched to think that eight people could tell him about Plame, and yet he could distinctly recall being surprised when Russert supposedly mentioned it.

4/11/2007 12:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich if that's what he is trying to do. Remember that saying? Anybody can get anybody else "under oath" and trip them up on timelines and details. Even Libby's jury said they BELIEVED he had a bad memory and yet they convicted him anyway. And for the same kinds of things that the reporters themselves messed up on. It was immaterial to who leaked Valerie Plame's name. And Fitzgerald already knew the answer to that----and from Day One. And yet, he withheld that information and went on with the case. In fact, that case was one of the biggest miscarriages of justice I've seen in a long, long time.

JP5

4/11/2007 1:21 PM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

A prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich if that's what he is trying to do. Remember that saying?

Yes. But winning a criminal trial is a whole different thing.

Libby was not convicted for a memory lapse. He was convicted for claiming a memory lapse that Fitzgerald demonstrated was simply not credible.

What isn't known is why he lied. My feeling is that it was to protect the Veep's office from embarassment, not over something criminal. But it's pretty clear that he did, in fact, lie.

4/11/2007 2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I followed it pretty closely and I didn't see anything that proved he lied.

You claim he lied to "protect the Veep's office from embarrassment." But embarrassment from what??? They broke no laws, nor did they do anything improper so there was nothing to be embarrassed about. They had every right to be discussing someone who worked at the CIA and who had leaked Classified information to the press and told LIES about that information in order to try and smear the administration. And we now know that it was someone from the State Dept who actually leaked her name to the press. And even Armitage didn't break any laws or else he would have been brought up on charges himself. He was not. So, if he didn't break a law---and he didn't.....then neither did the administration.

So, as you said....,.it's simply NOT CREDIBLE to believe that someone would actually LIE in order to cover-up a non-crime.

And most importantly, a lie under oath must be material to the case in order to be considered perjury. So, even if you are correct and Libby lied to avoid something he felt was embarrassing...that was NOT material to case. A total miscarriage of justice and the jury was obviously Bush administration haters. I said before they picked the jury that he'd never get a fair trial in Washington D.C. And I was right.

JP5

4/12/2007 10:31 AM  

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