With Friends Like These, Gonzales Doesn't Need More Enemies
So far to me the most memorable moment of D. Kyle Sampson's testimony today before the Senate Judiciary Committee wasn't his stark and damning statement that his former boss, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, was far more involved in the U.S. Attorney scandal than the latter has so far acknowledged.
Instead, my moment of zen in all of this came later, during the afternoon, when Sampson testified that he briefly suggested to his bosses that they fire Patrick J. Fitzgerald, then the special prosecutor in the CIA Leak case and still one of the best federal prosecutors in the nation. Sampson was asked: Why did you make that suggestion? And he responded: Because i wanted to get a reaction from high-ranking officials, including then-White House counsel Harriet Miers. I immediately regretted the comment, Sampson told the legislators, but, really, this is what passed for leadership and policy at the Justice Department during the period in question.
The problem for Sampson, and his former superiors at the Justice Department and the White House, is that even if you are willing to suspend all your suspicions and cynicism about their motives in firing eight U.S. Attorneys last year, and then their ham-handed efforts to explain their tactics, you still are left with overwhelming evidence of bureaucratic incompetence and confusion. These people were in the process of doing something extraordinary-- firing so many federal prosecutors at once in the middle of a term based upon a political litmus test-- and yet they were still unable (see, you don't have to even say "unwilling") to do so in a logical and coherent way that would withstand the test of law and history and politics.
Sampson today may be earnest and even on occasion honest. But he is painting a devastating picture of a Justice Department and White House that decided first what was to be done and then tried to figure out a way to justify it. When you work backwards like that, you usually get in big trouble. And little Sampson has said during his first few hours of testimony suggests otherwise. His words to the senators make it even more likely that the Attorney General will have to leave his post, sooner rather than later.
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: ExAUSA | March 29, 2007 04:59 PM
Posted by: braultrl | March 29, 2007 05:03 PM
Posted by: JP2 | March 29, 2007 05:12 PM
Posted by: On the plantation | March 29, 2007 08:21 PM
Posted by: Gardenia | March 29, 2007 08:23 PM
Posted by: ClayAllison | March 29, 2007 08:29 PM
Posted by: JP2 | March 29, 2007 08:50 PM
Posted by: julie kreutzer | March 29, 2007 10:02 PM
Posted by: Annie Norton | March 29, 2007 10:25 PM
Posted by: Robert James | March 30, 2007 05:39 AM
Posted by: THOMAS BILLIS | March 30, 2007 05:58 AM
Posted by: domga | March 30, 2007 07:09 AM
Posted by: Alan | March 30, 2007 08:10 AM
Posted by: Thomas Simon | March 30, 2007 08:38 AM
Posted by: CJ in Albuquerque | March 30, 2007 09:13 AM
Posted by: David21001 | March 30, 2007 05:14 PM
Posted by: Throbbing Boehner | March 31, 2007 06:21 AM
Posted by: Mark_0454 | March 31, 2007 07:51 AM
Posted by: askew | March 31, 2007 09:40 AM
Posted by: wondering | March 31, 2007 09:43 AM
Posted by: cody mccall | March 31, 2007 10:39 AM
Posted by: thebob.bob | April 3, 2007 05:03 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.