Gonzales Works for Himself, Not You, As Hearing Looms

The Washington Post yesterday offered a wonderful glimpse into the life these days of the embattled Attorney General of the United States. In advance of a scheduled Congressional hearing later this month, Alberto Gonzales isn't working full-time for you or for me. He is working instead to save his professional hide. Here is how the Post's Dan Eggen and Paul Kane put it: "Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales has retreated from public view this week in an intensive effort to save his job, spending hours practicing testimony and phoning lawmakers for support in preparation for pivotal appearances in the Senate this month, according to administration officials."

There you have it. The nation's top lawyer is "spending hours practicing testimony." And every hour he spends on that selfish cause-- the cause of defending himself from his own misfeasance-- is an hour he is not spending doing the job for which he is paid by the American people. Now, if he were some irreplacable cog in the machinery of government-- if he were a remarkably efficient and well-respected public servant or a president-- perhaps you could make an argument that such an exercise were worthy of public tolerance. But Gonzales' record as Attorney General is so atrocious, in substance and in process, that the notion of him holed-up somewhere, Clinton- or Nixon-like, "practicing" his version of the truth, ought to be cause for outrage.

Besides, what parts of his testimony does he need to "practice"? Either he was directly involved in the discussions surrounding the dismissal last year of those eight U.S. Attorneys-- as his former chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, declared last week-- or he wasn't-- as Gonzales himself claimed last month. The notion of Republican operatives putting Gonzales through "rigorous mock testimony sessions" next week-- again, at the expense of the job an attorney general is supposed to do on our behalf-- is revolting not just for what it says about the White House and Gonzales and the strategy here but also for the deplorable and entirely cynical message it sends to witnesses everywhere in our legal system.

Here you have the nation's top lawyer being coached, for hour upon hour, before formal testimony. This is not supposed to happen in our legal system-- although sadly it happens all the time. Lawyers routinely cross the line between preparing a witness for testimony by educating them about the nature of the trial process (which is legit) and crafting answers they want their clients to say on the witness stand (which is not). By allowing himself to be coached in this fashion, Gonzales is acting like any other scared witness or defendant in a criminal or civil case-- hardly an inspiring symbol for the man who two years ago raised his hand and swore to uphold the Constitution. It is a disgrace.

By Andrew Cohen |  April 6, 2007; 9:00 AM ET agag
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Is anyone really surprised by Gonzales, honestly? We are talking about an unethical,coordinated effort by this administration that puts all other corrupt administrations to shame.
I still say the buck stops with the president. He has actively encouraged the legal/illegal dismantling of the federal government. Someone, and I doubt it was Bush--just not smart enough for it-took a playbook from Hitler's regime, only they must have been dyslexic, because they are getting it all done, just backwards. When in doubt of the Constitution, just do it and ignore the Senate and the Congress. When in doubt of the laws already in place, just claim executive privilege (for communication that isn't even taking place through official channels). When wondering what to do, just have Bush say to himself, out loud.....What would King George do? The smell coming from the White House these days is completely overwhelming. When will breaking the law actually be breaking the law to the neocons....????How does one equivocate on the law? By George, they've found a way....through Gonzales!

Posted by: SYWanda@aol.com | April 6, 2007 09:41 AM

5 years for lying to congress. I hope he likes orange jump suits. I don't know how the president can say there is no evidence of wrong doing with a staight face. How can you get to the truth when presidents men are willing to purger themselve or take the 5th. If Gonzales "can't recall"
than he should at least be axed for total incompetence.

Posted by: Joe K | April 6, 2007 10:58 AM

I am amazed reading the news in your columns how much corruption is in this GOP
Government headed by George Bush who thinks he is King George Bush!
When will all this end?
Children in Iraq are digging in the garbage heaps as we saw this yesterday on CNN TV. American soldiers and Brtish troops are dieing daily, while George Bush
and Cheynie keep piling lies after lies on how the situation has improved in Iraq.
Democrats have to take the initiative, communicate with Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan Israel Palestinians to sort out the mess in the Middle East.
Loris Arevian

Posted by: Loris Arevian | April 6, 2007 11:07 AM

All I can say is the Dixie Chicks got it wrong! I am ashamed that George Bush is from the United States, not just Texas.

I am embarassed and concerned for our country. The Bush Admin has no conscience, no morals. What they do have is an agenda. And if you can't get it accomplished thru the democratic process, well then, LIE. What an excellent example for our children and for other nations that we keep trying to "democratize"...

Posted by: Marly | April 6, 2007 11:17 AM

Gonzales, like most senior members of this administration, never worked for "me". As a taxpayer, I would rather pay Gonzales to do anything, even to sit in a corner and play video games, than to have him continue to propagate or defend this administration's campaign of warrantless and illegal surveillance of US citizens, violation of the Geneva Convention and international treaties, subversion of the Constitution's separation of powers, prosecutorial abuses, torture, suspension of habeas corpus, or other grievous harms to our country and our Constitution. Better to have him play "Doom" on his PC than to have him do it in his official capacity.

Posted by: Mark L. | April 6, 2007 11:29 AM

It has become standard for our government to lie to us, and we never do much about it except whine. Until there are consequences for lying, like Libby, across a broad spectrum, you can continue to expect that the search for executive power will continue to dominate our politics.

Posted by: geforshey | April 6, 2007 11:31 AM

It's the Lilliputians vs. the Blefuscudans all over again. The issue is not Gonzales, it's the other elephant in the room, the swaggering punk who appointed him, ("Can you believe I was just elected fuc*ing president?!") George Bush. As everyone argues over which end of the egg to peel first, the man most eligible for impeachment swaggers on. I guess the powers that be figure we shot the wad in the impeachment game with Bill Clinton and now we should just tough out the remaining months of this imbecilic presidency. Where is the intestinal fortitude everyone?! We would do our self and international image a world of good if our congressional leaders could just summon the strength to throw the bum out. Sure, that would leave us with Cheney as commander-in-chief, but it would be a greatly chastened Cheney, whose boss was just sh*t-canned.

Posted by: Dave, Freeport, Il | April 6, 2007 11:35 AM

I*m with Mark L. on this one. Please let us pay Gonzales to keep on rehearsing his testimony, indefinitely, so that he won*t be advising Bush or issuing more torture memos. What a bunch of losers!

Posted by: H5N1 | April 6, 2007 12:08 PM

The saddest part is that I am not even surprised anymore. I am not surprised by anything these jokers do. Lying seems to be the norm with these guys. It is sad but true that Gonzales -- OUR UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL -- seems willing to do anything to protect Bush, Rove, Cheney and the Republican Party. It is also so pathetic since everyone know Bush will gladly throw him to the wolves if it protects Rove. Gonzales seems to be the only one who did not get the memo that he is expendable when Rove`s head is at stake.

Posted by: Frank | April 6, 2007 12:13 PM

Perhaps the preparation itself would be a worthy subject about which to question Gonzales.

Who participated in his rehearsal sessions? Were they all Justice Department officials? Administration officials? How much time did the rehearsals consume? What questions did they assume Gonzales would be asked?

I'm not aware of any rule or precedent that forbids Congressmen or Senators from inquiring as to how any witness prepared for a hearing on the Hill -- it isn't often done because the answers are assumed not to be that interesting. That assumption is not valid in this case.

Posted by: Zathras | April 6, 2007 12:23 PM

Wow, for a justice department that managed to write the entire Patriot Act in 6 weeks (assuming they had the presence of mind to start work the morning of 9/12), it sure seems odd that it takes weeks just to prepare for a hearing.

Posted by: DEF | April 6, 2007 12:29 PM

Are the remaining US attorneys prosecuting people for partisan political gain? It appears that US attorney Steven Biskupic ruined this lady's life for nothing except perhaps to please Rove and Gonzales.

Ex-state official freed
Judge calls evidence she steered travel contract 'beyond thin'
http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=587510
http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/local/index.php?ntid=128161
http://www.channel3000.com/news/11536803/detail.html

Posted by: Louise Fletcher | April 6, 2007 12:32 PM

Well, as long as it keeps him from doing any more damage to the country, why not?

Posted by: thrh | April 6, 2007 12:33 PM

The real reason for the firing of the 8 U.S. attorneys is to take out any that might be willing to prosecute the Bush administration for treason.

There is plenty of evidence that is sitting in DoJ investigative file that point to the crime. The existance of such file, even though exact content unknown, was revealed in a FOIA response from the FBI.

You can evaluate the crime and the evidence independently since a courageous newspaper in Crawford, TX, published "Is it high treason or just a simple case of dereliction of duty?" found at

http://www.lonestaricon.com/absolutenm/anmviewer.asp?a=1043&z=103

Please follow all the links withing the article.

The Washington post was one of the first publications approached to publish this information and a complaint with the umbudsman Debra Howell was filed because the post insisted on publishing gossip and garbage when it came to the war on terror. There wasn't the least response, only excuses for not having the time to deal with the issue.

You be the judge.

Posted by: Maher Osseiran | April 6, 2007 12:59 PM

Waterboarding has been approved. For The Fredo Bandito, it is a no-brainer. The Geneva Convention is quaint for those who dare to mix cronyism and government.The Fredo Bandito should have his Habeus Corpus removed - but he works for The Arbusto Bandito, not the American people. The Fredo Bandito was just another one of Arbusto's many enablers. Any mafia relies on surveillance to run its racketering. The Bush mafia just abuses a little more surveillance than others. That's what the NSA is for, right, to steal elections and loot America for my cronies!

Posted by: The Fredo Bandito | April 6, 2007 01:17 PM

The Gonzales hearings should be the turning point in returning this country to sanity. Bush laid down the gauntlet with his support of Gonzales and by trunping Congress with these recess appointments. Now Congress gets a chance to pick up the gauntlet and slap him good with it. Even if Gonzales gets Pope Benedict to vouch for him, Congress should give him the Gitmo treatment-automatic guilt. Now is the time to give the country hope. Flatten Gonzales and give Bush the message that Elliot Ness is in town and Capone and his cronies are done. If Congress lets Gonzales get away the moment will evaporate and Bush will be empowered. That would just add to the tragedy of the last 6 years.

Posted by: Frank | April 6, 2007 01:21 PM

Bear in mind that Alberto Gonzales is only the monkey. We need to impeach the organ grinder, George W. Bush, before he recess-appoints any more Swift Boat scumbags to high office.

Posted by: oldhonky | April 6, 2007 01:34 PM

Mr. Cohen: Thank you for your ongoing efforts to bring this period of constitutional infamy to a close.

Commenters: Thank you for your clarity and outrage.

Looking forward to Pres. Obama, who spent a few years as a professor of the Constitution, doing some restorative work to that blessed document, removing the shameful stains this adminstration has shat upon her.

-- stan

Posted by: Stanley Krute | April 6, 2007 01:40 PM

Look, we need to stop burying ourselves in what Gonzales did or didn't do in purging federal attorneys. He and Justice were passive instruments for the White House to get rid of attorneys it was uncomfortable with. Had Justice been anything except the errand boy, Sampson would not have lamely testified to Congress that his documentation for the firings amounted to some notes that were stuck in a drawer nor would McNulty have admitted he never really looked at Yglesias' file. Gonzales is a sitting duck, but he he is a distraction.
Congress eventually will confront the White House to find the relevant evidence for why these men and women were canned, and only then can we hope to understand what Sampson meant in his email about Carol Lam posing "our real problem" on the morning after news broke that she was seeking warrants to go after others associated with the Cunningham bribery case.
Every time Bush and his cronies remind us there is no "credible" evidence that the firings were intended to frustrate an investigation, I mentally add "yet."

Posted by: Steve | April 6, 2007 01:52 PM

So, if waterboarding is a good way to get truth, is the AG subject to the same?

Posted by: fedup already | April 6, 2007 02:04 PM

Except that if Bush's proclamation about the indefinite retention of Presidential papers (passing the rights of ownership to his heirs) is not overturned, we may never have access to any of the crayola diagrams that prove these clowns never acknowledged any lines exist, let alone tried to color within their borders.

This President is a bully and a coward and everything about this administration smacks of juvenile deliquency...

Hand in the cookie jar? lie, lie, lie

Posted by: Vince | April 6, 2007 02:10 PM

Only in this disgraceful administration of Republican cronies, losers, incompetents, and outright liars would the head of the Justice Department have to practice telling the truth. Shouting mother of God, what a bunch of idiots.

Posted by: mkeasr | April 6, 2007 02:12 PM

The first questions to Mr. Gonzales should be:
Why is Monica Goodling still working for you if she feels she is likely to be subject to prosecution for her role in this affair?
The second question:
Since Carol Lam has been evicted from her job, what has been done to discover the relationship of the $140,000 paid to MZM from VP Cheney's office and the purchase of a boat renamed the Duke-ster 2 weeks later?

You may reverse the order

Posted by: Leonard Hoffman | April 6, 2007 02:18 PM

While I am no fan of Alberto Gonzales, please be fair in your criticism. Can anyone blame him for getting ready for the grilling he is going to receive?

As to the charge that he "isn't working full-time for you or for me". My senator, Hillary Clinton, is spending most of her time and effort trying to get elected to a higher office, not doing the job my state is paying her to do. She spends most of her time calling donors, traveling around the country and practicing stump speeches. I'm sure the same is true for all politicians seeking a higher office.

Posted by: GaryK | April 6, 2007 02:27 PM

you people are really too much. You too Mr. Cohen. Geez, I wonder why Gonzales needs to do his homework? Oh, right, because congressional democrats will ask him hundreds of questions about conversations he had months ago. And upon questioning if Gonzales cannot instantly answer as to the content of one conversation picked out the dozens that occured on any particular day congressional democrats and media foolocks like Dan Froomkin will jump up and down and use point to Gonzales lack of memory as evidence of a cover-up. If congressional democrats want specific detailed answers then they are the ones to blame for Gonzales having to time out to prepare. And it's worth pointing out that it is this kind of distraction from public duties is why the Supreme Court ruled that the President is immune from suits arising from the performance of his job. Congressional oversight of this kind has its price. Maybe the answer is not Congressional oversight after the fact but rather electing a better president in the first place.

Posted by: | April 6, 2007 02:49 PM

The real problem here is the perpetual loyalty demanded by the Bush administration, not to the country or to the rule of law but to the administration itself. Neither the Valerie Plame "outing" or the attorney firings were, on face, illegal, although one could make an excellent case that they were both unethical. In both situations, it was dishonesty after the fact that led to trouble for the administration. It is highly likely that the White House did, indeed, have a direct hand in both, (in the Plame case, it's already been proven) although we don't yet know how high up in the chain of command the decisions were made. Likewise, Bill Clinton cheating on his wife in having a consensual affair was not illegal, but it was the actions after the fact that got him in trouble.


I'm surprised that the Democratic murmurs for impeaching Bush haven't been louder. Perhaps it's because Bush hasn't been linked with any proven dishonesty yet. (Besides self-delusion on a massive scale regarding the Iraq War) However, if the Dems can get something out of the attorney firings and the other political scandals lately, (Rove's little presentation comes to mind) and can actually link it to the president or the West Wing, they might be able to build a case for abuse of power. And now that the Dems have control of the House, don't be surprised if they take that route, both as a tit for tat regarding Clinton, and an expression of angst at Bush's arrogant leadership style and intractable positions regarding legal rights and executive power.


Clinton demonstrably broke the law, (but was it a high crime or disdemeanor?) and was impeached by a hostile House but acquitted by the Senate; his public approval ratings, already buoyant, rose to an all-time high, and there was a public outrage at what was seen as a blatantly partisan attack. With Bush's ratings already in the toilet, and unlikely to bounce, do you really think that impeachment is off the table?

Posted by: Voice of Reason | April 6, 2007 02:52 PM


Thank you GaryK. The Bush-bashing frenzy that has overtaken most democrats and even some independents has robbed people of their objectivity. A widespread loss of objectivity does not bode well for the 2008 election.

Posted by: | April 6, 2007 02:55 PM


One unexpected result of Fredo's problems, it actually reveals how good a AG John Ashcroft was. Remember it was Ashcroft who argued against the detainee policy which Fredo pushed and which more or less was what was adopted. Thats just one example for starters.

Posted by: henry | April 6, 2007 02:57 PM

In an effort to remain fair, as an addendum to my previous post, I did also want to point out that practicing for a congressional hearing is nothing new, nor is it unethical, if one intends to walk a fine line between not saying anymore than one needs to and deliberately hiding information. Politicians and public officials have been doing this for years, and it's why we have the 5th amendment. If Gonzales is shown to be lying, or refuses to answer questions, or can't remember what he ate for breakfast, expect that even Bush can't shield him from the fallout that will ensue from both sides of the aisle. (Rightfully)


Additionally, while the Swift Boat recess appointment may be another indicator of the administration's intention to bulldoze its way through any and all opposition, it was also not illegal, nor unethical on face, since political contributors are ALWAYS appointed to the plum ambassadorships. The real problem it highlights, however, is that in the last few years, and ESPECIALLY under the Bush administration, the patronage system has been making a comeback to levels not seen since McKinley was shot.

Posted by: Voice of Reason | April 6, 2007 03:10 PM

Why would anyone in this administration have to PRACTICE lying? It seems to come so naturally to the rest of them. Perhaps the fired prosecutors should be the ones asking the questions during the hearings.

Posted by: klosskid | April 6, 2007 04:12 PM

All he's trying to do this week is to learn how to tap-dance around any potential questions to him.

Posted by: Claire | April 6, 2007 04:43 PM

When Gonzales gets through the firings, it will be time to focus on what he is doing with Operation Falcon. Doing a cattle roundup on 10,000 human beings every year is frightening. Just change the definition that the US Marshals are rounding up felons and you have a scary network that Gonzales built.

Posted by: newcastle | April 6, 2007 06:20 PM

Correction: Operation Falcon (check the government website) rounds up 20,000 people each year -- 10,000 east of the Mississippi and 10,000 west. How can we be certain that ALL had received a fair trial and REALLY were guilty -- and of what?

Posted by: newcastle | April 6, 2007 06:31 PM

we can't and we dont care

Posted by: | April 6, 2007 07:31 PM

I just went to the government's website and read up on operation falcon. Seems normal to me.

Posted by: | April 6, 2007 07:36 PM

Gonzales epitomizes the very essence of Bush's administration: loyalty to Bush over loyalty to the truth, to competence, to the Constitution, or to the American national interest. Gonzales chose loyalty to Bush as his pole star and should bear the consequences of that choice.

The sooner the hearing takes place, the sooner the American public will clearly see Gonzales for what he is: a political hack who places his personal interests before the nation's interests.

And don't be surprised if Bush dumps Gonzales like he dumped Rumsfeld: first Bush will tell everyone that he backs the AG, then Gonzales will announce his decision to resign (among the tried and true reasons for his resignation might be the following: to spend time with his family, to pursue his long neglected interests, to avoid distractions from the president's important work, and so on and so on and so on). That tactic is as shop worn as the patriotic drivel Bush trots out to attack the Democrats. Have a nice retirement in Texas, Mr. G.

Posted by: Bob Riddle | April 7, 2007 01:47 AM

Now, what laws did Gonzales break? It's ok for Clinton to fire 93 U.S. attorneys upon taking office and 30 more through out his presidency but Gonzales and Bush can't fire 8 without the damnacratic majority literally making a federal case over it? How much tax dollars do you suppose they've spent having there aids prepare all their talking points? How many additional lawyers are the damnicrats hiring to do nothing but bring charges against the Bush Administration? You liberals are the biggest hypocrites and by far the most hateful group of people on the face of the planet.

Posted by: Celeste | April 7, 2007 01:57 AM

Badges we don't need no stinking badges. Where do you get that kind of authority? If the president does it it is not a crime. The further down this conservative path we go the rougher it gets. So you impeach Bush then what? Cheney!! Now wouldn't that be a positive change. Why the fuss Gonzales leaves another Gonzo arrives. Nothing short of the next election can completely wipe the slate. Imbeciles have been elected and appointed to every level of the executive branch.

Posted by: | April 7, 2007 07:40 AM

Celeste, you missed the main part of the argument. Yes, all presidents replace the USAttys at the start of their reign. They just don't replace them later unless there are reasons, rarely political reasons. Bush is the first to replace so many for political reasons after they have been put in place. It may be legal but it stinks and they new it stunk so that is why they tried to say they were "poor performers." In the past Congress would have just rubber stamped the changes and conservative talk show hosts would have used talking points to stamp down any dissent. This is why job approvals are in the 30s. People are finally recognizing how ethically challenged this administration is.

Posted by: Rick | April 7, 2007 08:18 AM

If there is a disgrace here it is being cooked up by selfish hate filled liberals like Andrew Cohen and Patrick Leahy. Leahy, in typical fashion, failed to follow through on the best advice he'd ever received in his life when Dick Cheney told him, and I quote, "to go f*** yourself". Cohen on the other hand is just a dishonest liar. He knows no crime has been committed here. He couldn't care less. He is delighted that the liberals and Democrats are using Gonzales as a Pinata and a club to bash Bush. The fact that two honest, mid level government employees who did nothing wrong and yet were forced to resign is nothing to these haters. Honesty? Decency? Not in the vocabulary of these guys.

Posted by: BcdErick | April 7, 2007 08:31 AM

This fascist punk who, on his knees, serves at the pleasure of the president, has never worked for me or any of the Amercian people,save for the neo-con cabal who are slowly and painfully finding out why we have separation of powers in this country....

Posted by: braultrl | April 7, 2007 12:07 PM

Of course Gonzales is working for himself, and not in America's best interests.

But then, that is the story with virtually the whole US Government. Perk-laden clock-punchers in every agency are just counting the days till their pension kicks in, and the political hacks running the show are bending over backwards to serve their true constituency: Big Industry. We, the taxpayers and law-abiders, just don't figure in anymore, if we ever did.

Doesn't it say some where that if our government isn't working we have a right to "alter or abolish" it?

I'm all for A&A!!!

Posted by: Stryke | April 7, 2007 03:32 PM

Reasonableness. Hmmmm. Let me see . . . no. The time for being reasonable with the Neocon Republican criminals is at an end. And they have brought it upon themselves in a storm of greed, fundamentalist ideological zeal, stupidity, unconstitutional behavior and outright evil. Reasonable? I do not think so. No longer an option, Bushies. You will all get what is coming to you one way or the other - either WE THE PEOPLE will take back the government and prosecute you traitors or your beloved Monkey God-King will make us all slightly radioactive trying to meet Jesus in person for oil profits. Reasonable? You might as well try to be reasonable with a rabid dog as a Neocon. They don*t call it brainwashing for nothing.

Posted by: fool_superior | April 7, 2007 09:21 PM

"He knows no crime has been committed here."

Obstruction of justice, lying to congress, making false statements, and that's just the law, never mind the ethics complaints against sitting members of Congress. And again, even if that was the case, why is the standard of public service so low now that the technical definition of the law is all that matters. Whatever happened to restoring honor and decency? Putting political hacks into federal prosecutor slots for the purpose fo rigging the electoral process is just a load of garbage that is in no one's interest. Why don't you go follow Cheney's advice.

Posted by: Michael | April 8, 2007 12:33 AM

Oh my. You cannot be serious. Gonzales is selfish by preparing to face the Judiciary Committee. You actually BELIEVE that? Really?

Really?

Was Clinton also therefore selfish for all the many hours he spent on the Lewinsky scandal?

Oh, but Clinton was the victim of a political vendetta. Heh, and Gonzales wasn't? Pull the other one.

Anyone who still thinks Gonzales lied, you should actually read his March 13 transcript. He never said he was not involved in discussions about the firings, as almost everyone has claimed he said (Senator Specter, the brightest bulb on Judiciary, has been one of the very few who has refused to comment directly on Gonzales' statements ... this should be very telling to observers).

Read a bit before the Gonzales quote about noninvolvement, and you'll see that he was talking specifically about the process of choosing WHO to fire that he was not involved in -- NOT about the whole firing process -- and no evidence has shown his actual claim of noninvolvement in that specific process to be incorrect.

Posted by: pudge | April 10, 2007 01:31 PM

LOL. Oh my. Just reading through some of the comments here.

Operation Falcon is arresting people who ARE FUGITIVES. That means there are preexisting warrants for their arrest. And when apprehended, they will go through the justice system like anyone else. There is nothing remotely wrong with Operation Falcon. It is just arresting people who are already wanted.

Saying there is something wrong with Falcon is to say there is something wrong with arresting people who have warrants out for their arrest. Only anarchists could say Falcon is bad.

Posted by: pudge | April 10, 2007 01:40 PM

Sirs:


Just now it seems that what is uppermost in the collective minds of the Bush administration is not the legal or illegal nature of the Attorney General's behavior, but rather how the public perceives his behavior. I know, I state the obvious. What I do not know is why public opinion so important. This is especially odd behavior for an administration that claims it does not read opinion polls.

Does the desperate effort to win public favor indicate the administration's belief that if the public finds the AG's behavior acceptable, the administration would be absolved of any obligation to investigate further or more, to turn over the subpoenaed documents? Is public opinion dispositive? This is certainly not true in the case of the war in Iraq.

If the polls find that most citizens believe the AG acted legally, does that really make his behavior "legal"? Especially when most of the citizens have not a clue as to what the relevant statutes or regulations prohibit or require.

If we are really a government of law and not of men, why does Attorney General Gonzales feel the need to convince the public that he and the administration did nothing wrong? If the majority finds his behavior acceptable should he be spared an investigation? If the majority finds his behavior acceptable, will he be spared an investigation? The AG is trying his case in the court of public opinion. Public opinion should be irrelevant, but is it?

The AG would no doubt feel it shameful if the public finds him guilty without a hearing, trial or proper presentation of the facts. And he would be right. But, would it not be equally shameful if he were found innocent without a hearing, investigation, trial or proper presentation of the facts?

What are the facts? Where is the evidence? Administration supporters say that no evidence has been presented to show that anything illegal was done. But, they also do not claim that nothing illegal was done. Who has possession of the evidence necessary to determine the facts? The Attorney General and the Administration have it and they refuse to turn it over.

The AG and all members of the Administration should have no control over what information is given to Congress for they are the subjects of the investigation. There must be a Special Prosecutor. Their possession of this information is what gives rise to their hope that they can win in the court of public opinion and never be subjected to an investigation by the Legislative Branch.

If, however, the court of public opinion finds the AG's presentation less than convincing, or finds sufficient cause to suspect wrong doing, the next Administration move in its efforts to avoid testifying or turning over more evidence, would be to declare Executive Privilege, maybe, but that is seen as political poison. Then again, for them, it may be a lesser evil.

Finally, there is the real gotcha, national security. If the matter ever gets to a courtroom, the administration could simply declare the information not yet released classified as a matter of national security. They would argue that the court did not have all the necessary facts, and since the court could never have all the information necessary for a trial; the court must throw out the case. It would not be the first time they have made this assertion.

Or, they could just decide that the bad PR was not worth it and throw the AG under the bus. Would the court of public opinion let that be the end of the matter? I hope not. But, I have little hope that this matter will ever end up in a real court without the appointment of a Special Prosecutor and maybe not even then.

Bewildered in Rhode Island







Posted by: Bewildered in Rhode Island | April 12, 2007 10:00 AM

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