Alberto Throws Paul Under Bus: Ditto James to Alberto

What a morning it's been for devotees of the U.S. Attorney scandal. While former Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey was testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee about ghoulish behavior on the part of then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, the Attorney General himself was throwing under the bus his former deputy, Paul J. McNulty, who resigned under fire yesterday from the Justice Department. Got that? The guy who should be Attorney General was highlighting the backhanded way in which the current Attorney General operated back in 2004. And Gonzales, the guy who has kept his job thanks to blind loyalty on the part of President Bush, was unable and unwilling to show any measure of fealty to his own subordinate, savaging him less than 24 hours after McNulty decided to go.

All of a sudden, Gonzales, the man who last week said he would take "responsibility" for the disaster at the Justice Department, now is saying that "You have to remember, at the end of the day, the recommendations reflected the views of the deputy attorney general. He signed off on the names... And he would know better than anyone else, anyone in this room, anyone -- again, the deputy attorney general would know best about the qualifications and the experiences of the United States attorneys community, and he signed off on the names." I am sure this golden nugget of blame came as a surprise to McNulty, who expressed some frustration earlier in this saga for not being in the loop on the firings. And remember that Kyle Sampson and Monica Goodling, the two high-ranking Justice Department officials integral in the prosecutor purge, were part of the House of Gonzales and not part of Team McNulty.

Anyone out there think that we won't see be hearing again from McNulty, under oath and with immunity, before Congress? Anyone surprised that Gonzales would immediately blame his deputy but still continue to deflect his own measure of blame for the scandal? Anyone out there still think that Gonzales is the type of leader likely to inspire confidence and respect among his employees at Justice? I didn't think so. Gonzales' treatment of McNulty represents a new low for the Attorney General in a story marked by similar valleys-- the guy who refuses to be candid with the Congress blasts the guy who is.

And speaking of candid, I hope that some of you were able to see live (here it is online) Comey's account of the sinister work performed in 2004 by Gonzales and Andrew Card, then White House chief of staff. John Ashcroft, then Attorney General, was seriously ill and at hospital. Comey was acting Attorney General. When asked by Gonzales and Card to sign off on the (illegal) National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program, Comey understandably refused to do so. Case closed, right? No. The Andrew and Alberto Show travelled to the hospital and tried to get Ashcroft's consent to the program. Comey stood in the way, literally, at Ashcroft's hospital bed. It got so bad, Comey told the Committee, that he refused to meet with Card and Company without a witness (namely, then Solicitor General Ted Olsen) being present. It's no wonder that senators on both sides of the aisle were talking about Watergate before the morning was out.

By Andrew Cohen |  May 15, 2007; 12:51 PM ET agag
Previous: The Fall of the House of McNulty | Next: More Injustice at Justice

Comments

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Gonzales keeps racking up the mistakes. McNulty will testify in this case and I am certain that he will be more than happy to expose the deceit and illegal activities of the man who threw him under the bus.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. What is going to happen when Congress, finally exercising its oversight responsibilities, gets to the really juicy stuff, like warrantless wiretaps, kidnapping and rendition, torture, and the signing statements?

I weep for our Republic.

Posted by: Nellie | May 15, 2007 01:52 PM

Geez, what ever happened to the Justice Department? Can we rename it the Karl Rove Memorial Politburo? And then we can rename Gitmo The Gulag Archipelago. And then we can change the name of the NSA to Big Brother on Speed-dial...Josef Stalin would be so proud!

Posted by: braultrl | May 15, 2007 01:57 PM

Gonzales is carrying out the crimes as designed and commanded by Karl Rove's offices in the whitehouse.

Posted by: JBE | May 15, 2007 01:59 PM

OMG will the idiotic Democrats ever learn
to stop conductiing endless meaningless
stupid Congressional hearings and trying to
con us into believing that's Congressional
Oversight and Begin Impeachment Proceedings
against The Commander Guy George W Bush and
The Demented Draft Dodger Slippery Dickey
Cheney and Alberto Gonzales? Or,do all these Democrat Do Nothings want to find
themselves voted out of power in 2008?
There are even polls out now that suggest
that up 70% of voters feel the Democrats
have turned their backs on the very voters
who elected them! Wake Up Democrats and
Dump Nutty Nancy Pelosi,Steny Hoyer and
Harry Reid NOW!

Posted by: redheadclaudine | May 15, 2007 02:02 PM

The only good that comes out of this entire fiasco is the utter destruction of GOP credibility as a legimate governing authority. What many considered simply stunning incompetence has been shown to be outright criminality. I highly doubt US voters will allow the GOP candidate -- whoever it is -- to escape this millstone.

Posted by: Vince | May 15, 2007 02:02 PM

It is time that Congress impeaches and removes the AG. Enough is more than enough. His view of the Constitution is definitely not that of the founding fathers who he likes to invoke.

Posted by: sothbees | May 15, 2007 02:05 PM

Man, Comey was electrifying. It is going to make one hell of a movie... running up the hospital stairs at night...

Time for RICO

Posted by: wrb | May 15, 2007 02:08 PM

WOW! Gonzales is a truly reprehensible and vile creature! First he tries to get a dying man to sign off on an illegal program and now he turns on his deputy! Is there anyone out there who thinks that this creature is fit to be the Attorney General? Pack your bags, Gonzales! Buh, bye!

Posted by: Baffled | May 15, 2007 02:11 PM

Three words: Saturday Night Massacre. Provided courtesy of the ranking member. If Tony Snow is an adequate barometer of the temperature at the White House today as a result of Mr. Comey's morning testimony, it is safe to assume that things are quite HOT.

Posted by: sy | May 15, 2007 02:13 PM

And Wow it is. Can this get any more vile. I just cant imagine any supervisor or president saying "my subordinate signed off on it and he knows more than I do." But the whole bedside OK for the wiretapping takes the cake. I mean there is a reason the Comey was Acting AG. Ashcroft was incapacitated. Remind me to get my dads Will changed next time he has to go under the knife.

Here just sign this semiconscious dad while you are in twilightsville and leave all the cash to me.

Posted by: WOW | May 15, 2007 02:13 PM

It's kind of scary that even the right-wing nut job Ashcroft was unwilling to sign away the rights of American citizens yet Gonzales was happy to OK torture, detention, etc. Keep investigating under oath. These guys need to be removed from office. Let's all pray together.

Posted by: thebob.bob | May 15, 2007 02:20 PM

The conduct of Card and Gonzalez is a shocking and unbelievable spectacle for two men of their rank in our government. The greatest horror will be that there will be no horror. This story will pass from the headlines and then no one will care about it.

Hey, did you hear Paris Hilton is going to jail? And how's that Sanjaya boy doing on Idol?

Posted by: ExAUSA | May 15, 2007 02:21 PM

The real glimmer of hope in all of this mess is that maybe, just maybe, people will wake-up to the absolute criminal behavior that has been going on since GWB entered the White House. What truly gauls me is that he ran on a ticket purporting to restore "credability" and "honor" to the White House and all the while he has whittled away at our global standing, the American economy and Constitutional rights. If Bill Clinton can be impeached for having improper relations with an intern, when are we going to stop bickering and take appropriate action on GWB, Cheney, Gonzales and Rove? The stakes are just too high to allow these people to continue operating with such deception.

Posted by: DS | May 15, 2007 02:22 PM

Keep the news coming --

This is good reporting on an important issue to the nation -- more people need to be educated about the mechanics of our legal system and the failure it is subject to when it's misused.

Congress needs to do a better job of making the importance of this understandable to the public at large.

Impeachment is the only answer to the wholesale destruction of the DOJ and the restoration of the Rule of Law.

Posted by: JM Parras | May 15, 2007 02:25 PM

The ONLY way to get these miserable sleaze-bags out is to VOTE the slightly less sleazy DEMS in and ALL GOPs out in 2008!

Posted by: Lu Franklin | May 15, 2007 02:25 PM

THE SENATE INSISTED THAT THESE HEARINGS BE PUBLIC AND NOT BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, THEY ALSO INSISTED THAT IT BE UNDER OATH AND SWORN TESTIMONY. THEN WHY ARE NONE OF THESE HEARINGS BEING BROADCASTED VIA THE TV. CHANNELS FOR THE PAYING VOTING PUBLIC. I THINK IT IS BECAUSE IT IS A SCAM ON PART OF LEAHY AND SCHUMMMER. THEY WANTED AND INSITED ON THE HEARINGS BEING PUBLIC. WE THE PUBLIC HAVE A RIGHT TO VIEW AND HEAR THESE AND COME TO OUR OWN CONCLUSIONS, BASING SAME ON NEWS BITS THAT ARE SUBJECT TO THE EDITORS REVIEW. I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHAT COMEY AND MCNULTY TESTIFIED TOO.

Posted by: A. DIOGENES | May 15, 2007 02:27 PM

One can only thank God that Gonzales didn't make it to the Supreme Court.

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 02:28 PM

The hearings and testimony aren't being aired because of the tight grip of the media conglomerate. Say what you want about liberal news bias, but the liberals don't control media companies or the airwaves... The voting public isn't hearing the testimony because those who control media don't want "us" to hear it.

Posted by: DS | May 15, 2007 02:32 PM

Gonzalez actually said that publicly?What a shameless opportunistic functionary. This is his idea of working up "from nothing"? That smirking self-satisfaction of being in the position of power by any means, as if that is all that matters. Helping oneself over principle. Oh wait, that IS what looks to be their main principle.

If the Comey story is true (he did testify to it, you say), AMAZING what it indicates about these people's worldview. But if this has been testified to, why has Gonzalez' word been given any credibility at all?

Posted by: Tom | May 15, 2007 02:34 PM

Didn't Ted Olsen, Solicitor General, die in the plane that crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11? If so, his replacement must have been the witness that Comey was referring to.

Posted by: John | May 15, 2007 02:35 PM

Diogenes:

there is a partial transcript here

http://www.firedoglake.com/

Posted by: wrb | May 15, 2007 02:35 PM

A Diogenes: I think it is being aired on CSPAN. You know, CSPAN, don't you?

I can't believe I am proud of John Ashcroft. The "crisco kid" really pulled through. To show such strength in the face of such adversity...

Thank you John Ashcroft.

Posted by: nisleib | May 15, 2007 02:36 PM

Gonzales, it would appear, is a man without morals, just like Aaron Burr was characterized on TV last night. It would be interesting to see him in a duel. Unlikely though. He has no shame. No honor.

Posted by: IllinoisIncred | May 15, 2007 02:36 PM

As the Employer of All government (public sevents) I do hereby Fire Gonzalaz from the position of Attorney General for incompetence. I furthermore order the repayment of all costs charged to the American public for investigations in to inappropriate actions.

Posted by: Robert Therrien | May 15, 2007 02:37 PM

cspan didn't cover or tape it

Posted by: wrb | May 15, 2007 02:39 PM

The administration in power does not represent the true Republicans of America. He is more liberal than JFK and spends more than any DEM I've ever seen. DO NOT color all GOP canidates with same brush as GWB. I don't think all DEMS are the same as psych Dean. I look at each canidate, DEM or GOP, and wiegh merits and potential demerits. "Are they for fiscal conservatism? (i.e spend as much or less as you bring in!!!)" "Will they protect borders and reform immigration and block illegal immmigration?" " Are they for a flat tax or consumtion tax to replace current income tax system and draw down the IRS?" "Are they for smaller government? (i.e. apply the BRAC principle to all brnches of government)" "Are they for line item veto's so we can stop pork barrel spending and earmarking?" " Are they America first, and rest of world after?" Any canidate who most nearly fits this discription has my vote, any. I am party blind and have no predudice. Wrong doers must go to jail, yes, witch hunts for political points must stop though. I have more to say but thats all for now.

Posted by: Joe Taxpayer | May 15, 2007 02:40 PM

The gross injustices and blatantly illegal and immoral works of this administration have and will impact the welfare of this country for generations to come.

Posted by: Fair Eve | May 15, 2007 02:40 PM

I can't get too excited about Gonzales' knowledge of (or lack thereof) a few politically motivated firings. As far as his badgering Ashcroft when Ashcroft was sick in the hospital: those two deserve each other. If it's sympathy he wants, Ashcroft needs to pick his associates a little more carefully. I AM distressed that the guy who provided the Bush Admin. with legal justification for its policy of TORTURE was given, for the most part, a free ride by the Dems and in the mainstream press. That's a crime that will harm the US for years to come, even if the GOP is voted out of office in 2008.

Posted by: CTurner | May 15, 2007 02:40 PM

The White House implies that, if we knew all that they knew, we'd see how right and necessary their decisions are. Not! If we knew all that they knew, we'd have support for the articles of impeachment POTUS et. al. so richly deserve.

Posted by: burt | May 15, 2007 02:40 PM

For the person surprised that "It's kind of scary that even the right-wing nut job Ashcroft was unwilling to sign away the rights of American citizens", remember that it was Ashcroft who led the fight against the Clipper chip, the Clinton administration's attempt to give law enforcement agencies unlimited access to telecommunications. We forget that Bush and his cronies aren't the only ones after our freedoms at our own peril.
Sure, Ashcroft was a nut, but he was a nut who cared. That's a whole lot better than people like Karl Rove and Janet Reno.

Posted by: Josh | May 15, 2007 02:41 PM

It's like having the Mafia in control. There are no rules and laws mean nothing when Capo di Tutti Capo Bush wants something done. It's illegal? Do it anyway. That's the way it went for the past six years with no responsible oversight from the the Republican congress. We know what to do in November 2008.

Posted by: mikeasr | May 15, 2007 02:42 PM

Please report more on this story. Thanks for publishing the truth.

Posted by: Dan | May 15, 2007 02:42 PM

This is typical politics--especially for the repugnacans. They would eat their own young to save their job. And the only reason that some polls are indicating low approval for the democratic-held (barely) congress is that they are not doing enough to end the war and expose the Shrub theocracy for what it is.

Posted by: OrdinaryNetizen.com | May 15, 2007 02:42 PM

I know Paul McNulty personally and he is an honest and upright man who has served his country faithfully. It's just a shame that all of the good that he has done is being overshadowed now because he has to be the scapegoat of a dishonest and evil AG. Thank God he can get out of there and live a normal life.

Posted by: ah | May 15, 2007 02:43 PM

What part don't we all get??!! Christian conservatives/neocon's don't do anything wrong. Do you know why? Because they're doing god's bidding. Do you know how they know they're doing god's bidding..because you have to believe. They answer to one, but "the father" you know the one the King George says is bigger than the one he came from.

I wish my son would tell me some crap like that, at any age. anyway, now just think about this...citizens of the United States, meaning people that vote and pay taxes have been placed on noticed by the people that they elected, that they pale in comparison to a god. Well you can't feel,taste,hear or see a "god" in what other venue would a person even use a word like "faith" not guilty your honor, just have faith. Jump off a roof...just have faith that you'll live. Throw a plugged in t.v into a bathtub full of water, you won't die..just have faith. Now hold off people, don't get mad, but let me just say this to my cousins of European descent...would you elect eminem or any other rapper/gangster to represent you? Then why have you brought this burden to bear on all of us, just because these thugs wear suits and smile?

I'm voting for vanilla ice in "08" at least I know what he is.

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 02:44 PM

Andrew Cohen: You really ARE not getting it, are you? Talk about being obtuse!

Don't you EVER EVER EVER assert that McNulty is being thrown under the bus! That's the MOST RIDICULOUS THING AMONGST MANY RIDICULOUS THINGS YOU'VE SAID ON THIS BLOG!

McNulty IS A LIAR AMONGST LIARS.

IT'S MCNULTY, STUPID!

Posted by: chiaramente | May 15, 2007 02:45 PM

I have this vision of Gonzales and Card talking to a bedridden Ashcroft, fiddling with his I.V. and heart monitor, and "suggesting" that he get back to work and approve their NSA program for warrantless spying on Americans.

This story is a perfect example of how the greatest country on Earth is now being run by a pack of cheap thugs.

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 02:46 PM

Ordinary netizen,

I suppose you don't remember what it was like the last time Demorats were in office. After all, it has been quite a while. But, travelgate and countless other scandals that happened then make your assertion that this is a Republican trait pure rubbish!

Posted by: Hank | May 15, 2007 02:46 PM

For all of you that seem to find this humorous, you are witnessing the destruction of your way of life. This kind of corruption and abuse of power cannot occur in a functioning republic.

If this was occasioned as a result of 911, there are two (maybe more) logical conclusions; either the terrorists have won, or 911 was conducted by the same people who have attempted to seize control by exploiting the opportunity it provided them.

Laugh, if you are cynically detached enough tho do so. I, personally, am. But just be certain that you are!

Posted by: Amadou Diallou | May 15, 2007 02:48 PM

Sorry, Mr. "ah," that you've been SO deceived by McNulty, but you certainly wouldn't be the first, that's for sure! Wait a few weeks, and let's just see what comes out in the dirty laundry that HE's been hiding, huh?

Then we'll see just exactly how "honest and upright" he is then-you may be in a for a little awakening there!

McNulty makes my stomach turn with YET ANOTHER "sacrificial lamb" bit!

Posted by: chiaramente | May 15, 2007 02:48 PM

"At the end of the day" is Gonzo speak for "Pass the buck." But in realty, "The fish rots from the head down". And the voters can smell the stench from sea to shining sea. Gonzogate is in full "surge" now.... Will he become a "surrender monkey" or will he "stay the course"? See your bookie for free $$$$$.

Posted by: Blue Tarp Nation/Fla | May 15, 2007 02:51 PM

"Alberto throws Paul under a bus" is PERFECT.GREAT headline.

On the proximity of AG to the
Supreme Court,even though AG didn't make it to the Supreme Court, Harriet Miers almost did, the one who assumed the Constitution states a right of proportional representation! And this is the highest court in the land we have now? Anyone's entitled what they desire now, whatever their understanding? This is how we pick our officials these days. What did most Americans really understand about GW's real beliefs when he entered office? What can be done to guard against actors delivering the desired SCRIPT, the "correct ideological" answers? A well-groomed robot could do the same thing, and the populace wouldn't know their real affiliations on which to base an informed choice.

Posted by: Edgar | May 15, 2007 02:52 PM

I see that many of my left leaning fellow citizens can't seem to make a point without calling people names and being insulting. Try using facts and reason, I will listen, shriek and complain like a child, and I won't. You have many valid points but your message is lost in the whining and juvanile name calling. I am not voting for anyone who endorses or condones that type of behavior, from any party. We must rise above the "Jerry Springer" mentality. I want GWB out too, and many of his staff, but for real and valid reasons, not hysteria. Many of them work hard and want to do real good, but are witch hunted because of the hysteria many here engender. Rumsfeld is gone, yay. Using reason, you can get rid of others too. But don't be so prejudice not to vote for someone because of party affiliation. Thats just like racism and sexism, wrong. Look at each man or woman's merits and what they bring to the table, not how much mud they throw!

Posted by: Joe Taxpayer | May 15, 2007 02:53 PM

Unfortunately the voting public has a dreadfully short memory. The last time we had Democrats in the White House, it was very similar to starting a scandal of the month club, yet some on this board beleive there will be fewer scandals if this current terribly unimpressive cast of Democratic characters will not be that way. I beg to differ!

Posted by: I Remember | May 15, 2007 02:54 PM

The same media that suppresses the triumph and popularity of Senator Ron Paul over the other GOP bozos is suppressing the Gonzales fiasco. Wake up America. Wake up Washington Post. We know that corporate media is controlling what we see and we're sick and tired of it. You need to throw off your spurious benefactors and step up to reporting un-spinned news.

Posted by: brainboy | May 15, 2007 02:55 PM

John: It was Theodore Olson's wife who died on 9/11. She was aboard the plane that hit the Pentagon.

Posted by: Dan | May 15, 2007 02:55 PM

I'd take Aaron Burr (and if so, the TV characterization is inaccurate) over Gonzalez ANY SECOND , EVERY TIME.

Posted by: Len | May 15, 2007 02:56 PM

George W. Bush has assembled one of the most filthy, dishonest, corrupt administrations in recent history. Please--someone go down on the president so we can impeach him.

Posted by: Mark F. | May 15, 2007 02:57 PM

The buck doesn't stop anywere with these jerks. Start with Gonzales and impeach right on up the ladder. With the real concerns of the world at large, we have wasted too much time allowing these criminals the free movement they enjoy. Call them to account.

Posted by: Sandy N. McDonell | May 15, 2007 03:00 PM

What part don't we all get??!! Christian conservatives/neocon's don't do anything wrong. Do you know why? Because they're doing god's bidding. Do you know how they know they're doing god's bidding..because you have to believe. They answer to no one, but "the father" you know the father that King George says is bigger than the one he came from.

I wish my son would tell me some crap like that, at any age. anyway, now just think about this...citizens of the United States, meaning people that vote and pay taxes have been placed on noticed by the people that they elected, that they pale in comparison to a god. Well you can't feel,taste,hear or see a "god" in what other venue would a person even use a word like "faith" not guilty your honor, just have faith. Jump off a roof...just have faith that you'll live. Throw a plugged in t.v into a bathtub full of water, you won't die..just have faith. Now hold off people, don't get mad, but let me just say this to my cousins of European descent...would you elect eminem or any other rapper/gangster to represent you? Then why have you brought this burden to bear on all of us, just because these thugs wear suits and smile?

I'm voting for vanilla ice in "08" at least I know what he is.

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 03:01 PM

"...travelgate and countless other scandals..."

Uh..yeah...travelgate. Stack that up against illegal domestic spying, cooking the intelligence in a run up to an internationally illeagal war, torturing people in the name of America, not supplying troops with proper armor, no bid contracts, missing development money in Iraq, missing oil revenues in Iraq daily, a failed war, the downing street memo, publicly outing a CIA officer, Jack Abramoff, Randy Cunningham, 50 million dollar bridges to nowhere in Alaska...my fingers are getting tired. Travelgate huh?

Posted by: Michael | May 15, 2007 03:02 PM

When Gonzales was up for confirmation, my comment was" he is not fit... because he is the guy that does not appreciate the American System as envisioned by the founding fathers". Well, I hope he goes away.

Posted by: Dr. Yehia badran | May 15, 2007 03:02 PM

Who would have thought it would come to this: the American Government , the President and his men, riddled to the core with lies, corruption, deception, ineptness, lack of wisdom and knowledge,lack of truth and integrity, totally void of any statesmanship, unwilling to take responsibility for their actions, complaining of no memory, never being concerned about "the good of the American people", beingng unethical and acting immoral to avoid losing their power. And what about the Americans who justify, excuse, look the other way or refuse to speak up? It is scary to me, because it reminds of Hitler's Germany. I weep for America and what is happening to it.

Posted by: Karin Knight | May 15, 2007 03:02 PM

If Bush, et. al. had just included all their scapegoats into the Iraqi surge, Baghdad would be a Repuglican vacation destination by now. And Jerry Falwell was killed by a "Homosexual Conspiracy"!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Huricane Season | May 15, 2007 03:02 PM

After sifting through cohen's typically arrogent and pretentious bilge i was shocked, although i shouldn't have been to see his readers with the exception of Josh, are just as either a(misinformed or b) dishonest as he is. Of course John Ashcroft fought both the Clinton and Bush administrations attempts to circumvent the normal process of obtaining warrents in persuit of their agendas(In Bush's case it was and is national security in Clinton's it was well,,, come to think of it nobody, including the ever slippery Mr cohen, seemed to care so we actually don't know all that he was up to). John Ashcroft, as well as the overwhelming majority of evangelicals, are always suspicious of federal intrusion into the private lives of our country's citizens, including the bedroom boys and girls, and was never the glowering boogie man slanderists such as Mr cohen made him out to be. Also, lets not forget that Mr Comey went to the hill with an ax to grind, shall we.

Posted by: growabrainyoumorons | May 15, 2007 03:04 PM

There is no sense in bringing Fredo under oath without bringing the Director of National Intelligence under oath, because they are both errandboys of the same office.

Posted by: Barbara K. Olson | May 15, 2007 03:05 PM

Just watched Judgement at Nuremberg, a good movie about the trials of some Nazi judges after WW2. Parallels to today's GOP descent into Bush's hellhole is chilling.

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 03:17 PM

chiaramente -- Did you notice that only part of one line of this story was based on what McNulty said? The rest of it was reporting & reaction to Gonzales and Comey.

DIOGENES -- STOP SHOUTING. YOU LOOK LIKE AN IDIOT. Thank you.

To everyone who praised Ashcroft -- If the story reported above is accurate, he had nothing to do with any of the events in it. He was in a hospital bed, while Comey blocked his door.

John -- Olson's wife Barbara died in the Pentagon crash, not he himself. http://americanhistory.si.edu/SEPTEMBER11/collection/search_record.asp?search=1&keywords=olson&mode=&record=0

Posted by: Webster | May 15, 2007 03:20 PM

Karin -- On 20 Jan 2009, President Bush will smile and applaud at an event Hitler never even considered allowing: the swearing-in of his successor. That man (or woman) will have been freely elected by the citizens of this country, with probably over 100 million votes being cast. While there will undoubtedly be scattered reports of election irregularities, the results will probably not be at issue, and differences will be settled without violence.

Which of those things remind you of the Third Reich?

Posted by: Webster | May 15, 2007 03:27 PM

Uh, Webster, and your point is, exactly what? Because MY point is, to insinuate, as the title of this blog does, that McNulty is a "sacrificial lamb" is about the most insulting, silly and wholly erroneous thing Cohen could possibly have said!

And don't give off this impression that Comey is some golden boy either...there are some excellent lawyers in DOJ, unfortunately, they ALL happen to be on the Civil side of the house!

Posted by: chiaramente | May 15, 2007 03:31 PM

As Machiavelli said, you judge the prince by the men he keeps around him.

Posted by: GGerrard | May 15, 2007 03:32 PM

Webster:

So you are convinced that the efforts revealed in this matter will have failed and we will still have a democracy? I admire your optimism.

Posted by: wrb | May 15, 2007 03:36 PM

6yrs of this crap, from christian people. let's see if the devil has a better proposal. when does the inquisition start? unless it started already in iraq

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 03:43 PM

Let's not lose sight of the strongest marketing wave of any administration thus far: These "fellows" are neither christian or conservative, just like the Federal Reserve is neither federal, or a reserve. Gonzales was picked by these neo-cons (neo-convicts) to perpetrate their agenda at our expense. The Constitution is their enemy. Gonzales is in place to further destroy it.

Posted by: brainboy | May 15, 2007 03:50 PM

One more thing: I really hate to disabuse everyone at the Post (Froomkin's article) and the above-referenced Andrew Cohen, as well as and and all OTHER journalists out there, but what Alberto Gonzales said at the National Press Club today, regarding McNulty being the Pointman, was actually ABOUT AS CLOSE TO THE TRUTH AS IT GETS.

In other words, if you know anything at all about DOJ operations, you know that it is the DAG who the AG relies upon, particularly in this case, because McNulty did in fact know these US Attorneys, and what they were, or more importantly, were not doing, in the name of politics. And McNulty's rabidly agressive conservative agenda was well known.

You remember Damien in the movie The Omen? Remember what happened to those people who actually figured out who Damien really was? There are a few of those "Damiens" masquerading as federal prosecutors, and certainly, McNulty was right in there, in league with the devil.

Posted by: chiaramente | May 15, 2007 03:51 PM

RobRoy/Joe Taxpayer,

"The administration in power does not represent the true Republicans of America"?

That's interesting. My recollection is that in 2000 and 2004 there was a group of people calling themselves "Republicans" and using the name on their convention and marketing literature who nominated George W. Bush as the "Republican" candidate for president, and then elected him as president; or there was the "Republican" Congress which agreed with George W. Bush so frequently, that he only had to exercise one veto in 6 years; or then there are the self-described Republicans in polling surveys who give George W. Bush 90% approval ratings (as recently as this year), but please people, don't confuse this with any notion that George W. Bush represents, or has ever represented the Republican party of America.

That email thing with Rove through the RNC servers? That too is just further evidence that the Republican party of America and George W. Bush never have, and never will have any association with each other . . .

I think we're probably going to hear more of that story line over the next two years.

I think it would be more honest to say that the Republicans of America no longer elect representatives who embrace "conservative" values (e.g. fiscal or institutional conservatives); unless "Conservatism" is defined strictly as a series of litmus tests on social issues like abortion.

In a number of respects there are probably more Democrats these days who are faithful to conservative values along fiscal and institutional lines than their counterparts in the "Republicans of America" party who elected a president and congressional representatives who for 6 years walked away from those values; and who, at least on the House side of the aisle and in the White House, show no signs of returning to those values any time in the near future.

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 03:57 PM

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Posted by: Mark F. | May 15, 2007 04:12 PM

People forget...Adolf Hitler was ELECTED Chancellor of Germany in 1932. Then in 1933, terorrists burned down the Reichstag (the German Parliament building) and Hitler promptly instituted "security" measures including concentration camps for suspected terrorists, Communists, and, later, Jews; suspending jury trials; abolishing habeas corpus; and creating the Gestapo; all, on the pretext of making the people safer from terrorism. He became wildly popular and was re-elected in 1936 and 1940.

Posted by: I Remember Too | May 15, 2007 04:14 PM

"I Remember Too" remembers incorrectly. Hitler was not elected Chancellor of Germany in 1932; he was appointed to the post. Nor did the Nazi Party gain the majority of votes in the election prior to Hitler's being appointed Chancellor:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitler's_rise_to_power

Posted by: Larry K | May 15, 2007 05:27 PM

One must wonder why Gonzales was so vague in his testimony before the two judiciary committees, basing his decisions on "senior DOJ officials", and so specific today, about relying 'at the end of the day' on the deputy attorney general. If Gonzales believes, as widely reported, that he has survived the two hearings and will get to finish out his term as Attorney General, why is he now so clearly inviting big trouble by laying the dime on Paul McNulty? First, doesn't this finger pointing invite self defense by McNulty, who is a pretty capable guy, and further hearings by the judiciary committees? Second, doesn't this exercise of the blame game by Gonzales make it impossible for McNulty to continue to serve as DAG till the end of summer, as his resignation letter requested? Why did McNulty think he could continue as Gonzales' deputy for another three months or so (apparently he wasn't going to squeal on Gonzales) and why does Gonzales want him gone pronto? Forcing McNulty out months in advance of his requested resignation date can only make him more antagonistic toward Gonzales and the White House crowd and more inclined to "tell it like it was" to congressional investigators. Is this strategy likely to help the Gonzales-Rove-Bush team? Plus, with Gonzales having lost in the last few weeks his chief of staff, White House cousnel, head of the US attorneys office and now his deputy AG, who's minding the shop?

Posted by: P. Bosley Slogthrop | May 15, 2007 05:42 PM

He (Hitler) became wildly popular and was re-elected in 1936 and 1940. Posted by: I Remember Too | May 15, 2007 04:14 PM

I suppose they didn,t want to dump him during a war. Popular war at the time too. If the Republithugs win in 2008 call me Graf von Stauffenberg, if you know what I mean.


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Posted by: vandazzar | May 15, 2007 06:02 PM

Please disregard my last question as of 2:34; I didn't know that Comey had just said this. Still others must have been in the know and not said anything all this time.

Posted by: Tom | May 15, 2007 06:05 PM

Joe Taxpayer, children can use facts and reason also; indeed it may be possible to shriek and complain while using facts and reason. You really should be able to pay attention to "the beef" whatever the delivery

Posted by: Ed | May 15, 2007 06:09 PM

growabrain:

So Cohen is slippery and his readers dishonest or liars for what reason you give? That Ashcroft actually resisted a few things, which is not to deny his evangelical side? You call this a fact, which hadn't even been denied by anyone, to throw out slanders as his readers are dishonest? I didn't any other solid piece of evidence you presented.

Posted by: Nicolo | May 15, 2007 06:47 PM

These people Gonzalez and Wolfowitz never say, even if they don't really apologize, it's your decision; instead they "fight to keep their job". That's quality, worthy of the respect for our highest officials.

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Posted by: djhorserider | May 15, 2007 07:18 PM

...McNulty, who is a pretty capable guy..."

Uh, P. Bosley, something tells me you are living under a rock. Just what, exactly is the basis for the contention that McNulty deserves praise? The fact that McNulty LIED before Congress, then blamed his "inaccurate" testimony on a 32 year old aide, who was sitting in on the same meetings as him? He is the DAG after all, right? Doesn't the buck stop with the Deputy, in most all corporate structures?

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 08:18 PM

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Would someone kindly walk up to the White House front-gate guard house and state that they are there to perform a citizen's arrest of George W. Bush for conspicuous crimes against the nation. It might be wise to first alert the media.

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Posted by: mediterraneancruise | May 15, 2007 09:51 PM

...McNulty, who is a pretty capable guy..."

Uh, P. Bosley, something tells me you are living under a rock. Just what, exactly is the basis for the contention that McNulty deserves praise? The fact that McNulty LIED before Congress, then blamed his "inaccurate" testimony on a 32 year old aide, who was sitting in on the same meetings as him? He is the DAG after all, right? Doesn't the buck stop with the Deputy, in most all corporate structures?

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 08:18 PM

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 10:16 PM

One more thing: I really hate to disabuse everyone at the Post (Froomkin's article) and the above-referenced Andrew Cohen, as well as all OTHER journalists out there of the notion that poor Paul McNulty is being bad-mouthed for no good reason by the AG, however what Alberto Gonzales said at the National Press Club today, regarding McNulty being the Pointman, was actually ABOUT AS CLOSE TO THE TRUTH AS IT GETS.

In other words, if you know anything at all about DOJ operations, you know that it is the DAG who the AG relies upon, particularly in this case, because McNulty did in fact know these US Attorneys, and what they were, or more importantly, were not doing, in the name of politics. And McNulty's rabidly agressive conservative agenda was well known.

You remember Damien in the movie The Omen? Remember what happened to those people who actually figured out who Damien really was? There are a few of those "Damiens" masquerading as federal prosecutors, and certainly, McNulty was right in there, in league with the devil.

Posted by: chiaramente | May 15, 2007 03:51 PM

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 10:21 PM

Clearly, chiaramente is an example of the Rove apparatus endeavoring to perform spin in the blogosphere. It's just so damn pathetic.

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 10:47 PM

Huh? You really aren't very perceptive, are you?

Posted by: chiaramente | May 15, 2007 11:28 PM

P.S. You DO know, Mr. Idiot, that McNulty, when he was on the Hill, was counsel for the House Judiciary Republicans leading the impeachment of President Clinton?

Perhaps you ought to do a little research before you make any more dopey comments like the one above!

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 11:34 PM

Don't the Attorney General's comments acknowledging McNulty's preparation of the list of US Attorneys to be fired contradict his testimony before the House and Senate Committeed?

Perjury?

Posted by: rich | May 16, 2007 12:36 AM

>>Perjury?<<

Well yea, again.

Posted by: wrb | May 16, 2007 12:54 AM

Rich-I'm not sure the AG's remarks about the slimy McNulty actually contradicts the AG's prior testimony, I say that, because I'd have to study the record-it doesn't appear to me at this point to be a contradiction, so much as a new revelation, in other words, the AG might have been trying to protect McNulty at some point before, but now, I suspect, he's found out that McNulty is working with Comey and others to undermine him and get him out-so the gloves are off.

But like I said, when the AG says that the DAG signs off on these matters, he IS right-that IS the way it works, and it works that way not only at DOJ, but in every other corporate hierarchy-and we DO know that McNulty lied, and he covered himself by blaming it on an aide-when he is the DAG.

Just what does that say about McNulty's moral fibre? His integrity? It says he tries to slime and mislead his way out of taking any blame for ANYTHING wrong at DOJ. It says he's nothing but motivated by sheer politics-serving the interests of the American public comes in a distant second, if at all.


If it were up to me, I'd have the Senate Judiciary Committee read Miranda warnings to McNulty (let him see what that feels like, for a change-after all, he's had it done to innocent people to silence them, why is he above the law?)

Posted by: | May 16, 2007 01:31 AM

If it were up to me, I'd have the Senate Judiciary Committee read Miranda warnings to Gonzalez (let him see what that feels like, for a change-after all, he's had it done to innocent people to silence them, why is he above the law?)

Posted by: | May 16, 2007 08:19 AM

Well, no, that's not true. Gonzalez, unlike the execrable Paul McNulty, has never BEEN a U.S. Attorney, and while I am no fan of Gonzales, by any means, it would be McNulty, and NOT Gonzales, at the center of the U.S. Attorney politicized firings-those kinds of things are precisely what a DAG does, and particularly, when the aggressively conservative McNulty has been a U.S. Attorney, and knows all the U.S. Attorneys in question! You gotta use your brain here, people, and think this through carefully! Both McNulty, and Comey, were U.S. Attorneys in Virginia, and they are BOTH working to get Gonzales OUT!

Gonzales has NOT, UNLIKE McNulty, lied under oath!

You don't have to be a lawyer to understand this: no one is saying that Gonzales has lied under oath-but the word on the legal street is: McNulty IS getting a free pass about actually lying under oath, and then trying to get himself out of it through his long-time Hill contacts, going to them, telling them he was given "incorrect information" by this aide Goodling, when McNulty is the one responsible for signing off on these matters!

McNulty is much more successful at sliming his way out of things, because HE, UNLIKE Gonzales, IS A WASHINGTON INSIDER. No one can slime their way out of lies like an INSIDER CAN!

Wait until Monica Goodling testifies! Remember what her lawyers have already told the Senate Judiciary Committee? Her lawyers have said "a high Justice Department Official" (meaning McNulty) lied about what he told the Committee concerning her activities-now, who's more in charge here, the DAG? or a 33 year old aide? That's not difficult to figure out!

McNulty is DANGEROUS, no question about that. And that's why he's in league with the devil, no question about that.

Posted by: | May 16, 2007 09:47 AM

Karl, you mean he's in league with yourself?

Posted by: | May 16, 2007 11:14 AM

Chiaramonte, or whatever YOUR HANDLE IS, I think many of us are willing to hear McNulty out. He definitely has some 'splainin to do. Gonzales's spin is that "he signed off on the names." He said it twice. The next time he says it, will a cock crow?

Sorry to have figuratively compared your "devil" to Christ, but what the hell. If you are as perceptive as you want us to believe (as in so much more perceptive than anyone else), you ought to be wondering why people like Monica, Kyle, Harriet, and Karl had such a huge hand in this if it was all McNulty. Those questions are among those Gonzales pushed to the fore with his comments of yesterday. Bottom line is McNulty's role is not yet clearly established.

Comey, by the way, turns out to be a genuine American hero. I doubt Ashcroft would have signed, but Comey's rush up the hospital stairs ensured that it would not happen. Then Card and Gonzales leave the room without acknowledging him, the Acting AG? Then Card has the gall to assert to Comey that "we were just wishing him well"? What shameless guys. Nobody should talk to any of these guys without a witness.

Tuned in C-SPAN last night and was disappointed that it aired only the Gonzales appearance and testimony of the FEMA director at a far less significant hearing. Anybody know the truth of why C-SPAN did not air the Comey testimony (or maybe I missed it)?

Posted by: ExAUSA | May 16, 2007 11:24 AM

First of all, you start with the simplest evolutionary statement: In the law of the jungle, it's kill, or be killed, and the quicker and more clever animals who work together in a pack, are often successful in bringing down much larger, and stronger prey-the key is working in concert for a common goal.

Now, if you run with a pack of hyenas, one or two of the hyenas can "distract" the gazelle, while the other hyenas, exploiting the chaos of their brethren, are taking huge chunks out of the flanks of the hunted animal. The gazelle, although a quick runner, is no match for the pack of the same kind, who run together, so the gazelle, who is not as smart, and not the master of exploitation, gets worn down by the injuries to the flanks, and then the blood really starts flowing.

Of course, the hyenas then move in for the final kill, and the weak gazelle finally has to succumb, because the repeated bites have rendered the gazelle too weak to fend off ALL the hyenas, and then the hyenas feast on the carcass that is left.


I am of course describing the Washington scene: So don't be fooled FOR A SECOND by James Comey, he was the DAG too, under President Bush, remember? Or have you forgotten already? And when he left, it was not under the best of circumstances, so Comey is looking to even some scores, and doing it with his old VA. friend McNulty-McNulty, who doesn't LIKE being branded A LIAR and a PERJURER(after all, McNulty's got to look like the noble above-it-all moralist-gag! So he can snare that impressive private sector law job that will allow he and his family the income and prestige that he so richly DOES NOT DESERVE).

Comey is taking advantage of all the positive limelight (and certainly from the easily duped Andrew Cohen, and all the easily duped Post reporters, like Jerry Markon of the Post, (he of the McNulty, EDVA connection) and now I guess this Froomkin dude) to get with his buddy McNulty, get Gonzales out, so they can put in who THEY want- and who knows who that could be? It won't be James Comey, of that I can assure you!

First of all, Comey is not a favorite of the WH crowd-but more importantly, do you have ANY idea how much Comey's making as VP and GC of Lockheed-Martin? I think we can safely assume it's in the megabucks category! i.e. A WHOLE LOT.

McNulty is looking for that golden ring also, and if he has to blame a 33 year old aide, enlist Comey, marshal his Hill contacts, and then start cutting away at Gonzales flanks, with his fellow hyenas, why he'll do it-all to get out of of what HE was really responsible for.

McNulty is a slimeball and idiot of the first order-but make no mistake about THIS-his friend JAMES COMEY and others in their Va. crowd of Washington insiders are in cahoots to protect their OWN proteges, and to even old scores and promote their OWN AGENDAS.

And quelle surprise! These Washington machinations have NOTHING to do with public service, or serving the best interests of the American public-that abstract concept is, like, somewhere way out there on the horizon somewhere.

And don't for one second think that this comment is saying Gonzales is blameless- he has no business being AG-as he has no qualifications for the job whatsoever-but he's less slimy than McNulty-Gonzales is about blind loyalty, first and foremost.

Gonzales doesn't come from the sleezoid Washington culture-he does, however, come from Texas culture, but that really may not be enough in this instance to hold off the more terrain familiar McNulty/Comey hyenas.

McNulty, on the other hand, is desperately trying to "revise" HIS image, (with the help of Comey) because it's clear what he's all about-covering up major "defaults" -his own, and those of his proteges-and McNulty doesn't care WHO he slanders and ruins, to do it.

Posted by: | May 16, 2007 12:27 PM

Regarding Comey's testimony, which as an eyewitness under oath, must be undeniable:
White House Spokesperson (doesn't get much more of a direct voice of the White House than that)Snow says:"You've got somebody whose got "SPLASHY" (quotes and caps added)testimony on Capitol Hill. Good for him."

(yet one more instance of unreal, alternative-universe statements coming from these "White House Spokespeople"; do they have no intention of being believed? How does this work? The spokepeople can adopt any pose whatever the obvious facts, and when necessary GW, always another degree of separation removed, can virtually contradict what they said? And when caught on his own statements, he can still contradict himself? Whatever is incontrovertibly revealed about actions of those he hired and who regularly report to him, he can always say, well that's a different layer, I personally didn't say that? What especially gets me is that what he and his administration say, including his "official spokespeople", still are listened to seriously, as if sincerely meant, even righteously affirmed by his supporters?)

There's truly a faith-based administration for you: the pose they choose to adopt and what they divert attention/spotlight to is the real truth, not the facts.

Posted by: Tom | May 16, 2007 12:29 PM

Let's remember Wolfowitz's (no peripheral player, he!)explicit attitude: if say anything about his conferring personal privileges as entitlements, he's made sure to compile things on his associates to f.. with them. Look at his exact words. Isn't this Gonzalez issue directly, but as I have noticed ample to confirm,indicative of the way many in this administration think, I am convinced, not by accident.
The entitlement to personal breaking the law and privileges as an earned right of getting in an authority position (frequently glibly conferred by the executive "at his pleasure"), and hoarding away retaliations to use if their private violations are ever exposed or even questioned.

Posted by: Francis | May 16, 2007 12:51 PM

Please clarify, what are the defaults that Mcnulty and Comey are sleazily using this to cover up?

Posted by: Ted | May 16, 2007 12:53 PM

I have a question.

I am not entirely familiar with the case and am not sure where to find some specific information about these firings. Specifically the list of fired attorneys and the partisan cases they were working on/not pursuing to the satisfaction of the Justice Department. Where can I find such a rundown? Thanks.

Posted by: bluemeanies | May 16, 2007 01:10 PM

Anon 12:27, it's telling that you don't even address any of the substantive charges levelled by Comey in reference to the renewal of the NSA program, or McNulty in reference to the political motivation that lead to Cummins firing. Probably because what they've said is true.

Rather than dealing with the implications of their statements as the relate to our government you simply attack these men's motivations, impugn their character, and engaging in fairly rabid fact-free speculation--which is a pretty classic definition of a smoke-screen.

Well, since we're engaging in wild-eyed speculation, perhaps you can explain to us why Alberto Gonzales failed to comply with a Senate subpoena yesterday, and why he didn't even provide a written response explaining his lack of responsiveness?

Maybe that was all part of Comey and McNulty's master plan?

Of course none of this is related to the fact that that 33 year old was unqualified, didn't have a clue about basic concepts of law, but was nevertheless appointed to a position of great responsibility--along with her colleague D. Kyle Sampson--to sit in on judgment of the professional merits of people who have been in the business as long as they've been alive?

Oh the injustice! The rank hypocrisy! The non-existent standards!

Posted by: JP2 | May 16, 2007 01:23 PM

>>Gonzales has NOT, UNLIKE McNulty, lied under oath!<<

not true

Frank Bowman, U of M Law prof summarized it neatly in the Times:

"The right of Congress to demand explanations imposes on the president, and on inferior executive officers who speak for him, the obligation to be truthful. An attorney general called before Congress to discuss the workings of the Justice Department can claim the protection of ''executive privilege'' and, if challenged, can defend the (doubtful) legitimacy of such a claim in the courts. But having elected to testify, he has no right to lie, either by affirmatively misrepresenting facts or by falsely claiming not to remember events. Lying to Congress is a felony -- actually three felonies: perjury, false statements and obstruction of justice.

A false claim not to remember is just as much a lie as a conscious misrepresentation of a fact one remembers well. Instances of phony forgetfulness seem to abound throughout Mr. Gonzales's testimony, but his claim to have no memory of the November Justice department meeting at which he authorized the attorney firings left even Republican stalwarts like Jeff Sessions of Alabama gaping in incredulity. The truth is almost surely that Mr. Gonzales's forgetfulness is feigned -- a calculated ploy to block legitimate Congressional inquiry into questionable decisions made by the Department of Justice, White House officials and, quite possibly, the president himself.

Even if perjury were not a felony, lying to Congress has always been understood to be an impeachable offense. As James Iredell, later a Supreme Court justice, said in 1788 during the debate over the impeachment clause, ''The president must certainly be punishable for giving false information to the Senate.'' The same is true of the president's appointees.

The president may yet yield and send Mr. Gonzales packing. If not, Democrats may decide that to impeach Alberto Gonzales would be politically unwise. But before dismissing the possibility of impeachment, Congress should recognize that the issue here goes deeper than the misbehavior of one man. The real question is whether Republicans and Democrats are prepared to defend the constitutional authority of Congress against the implicit claim of an administration that it can do what it pleases and, when called to account, send an attorney general of the United States to Capitol Hill to commit amnesia on its behalf. "

Posted by: wrb | May 16, 2007 01:29 PM

ExAUSA, no idea what the story is with CSPAN coverage, or lack thereof, of the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting yesterday.

However, www.talkingpointsmemo.com has a 15 minute clip from yesterday's hearing on its website.

Posted by: JP2 | May 16, 2007 02:44 PM

Hank, I agree Democrat administration wasn't great, I actually thought GWB had more credibility than Gore in 2000, and it is real integrity along with good judgment that matters. Where are these people? Not Hillary or Obama? I'd actually trust Edwards more than either of them, despite the seeming selfishness re his wife. But it's sad that one of the few like Feingold was 1 vote vs. 89 in 2001. Feingold, maybe Hagel, maybe a few others-party doesn't matter to me nearly as much as character, honesty, and objectivity.

Posted by: Tim | May 16, 2007 03:07 PM

Hank, I agree Democrat administration wasn't great, I actually thought GWB had more credibility than Gore in 2000, and it is real integrity along with good judgment that matters. Where are these people? Certainly neither Hillary nor Obama qualifies. I'd actually trust Edwards more than either of them, despite the seeming selfishness re his wife. But it's sad that one of the few like Feingold was 1 vote vs. 89 in 2001. Feingold, maybe Hagel, maybe a few others-party doesn't matter nearly as much as character, honesty, objectivity.

Posted by: Tim | May 16, 2007 03:09 PM

Then to Hank, Tim, and anyone else who's had it with the Great Three-Ring Circus that depicts the branches of the government: Check out Ron Paul -- quite a breath of fresh air, and the media is quite exercised to snuff him out by non-coverage.

Posted by: brainboy | May 16, 2007 04:12 PM

Webster, you said: "On 20 Jan 2009, President Bush will smile and applaud at an event Hitler never even considered allowing: the swearing-in of his successor."

Are you certain? This administration has shown a clear predilection for disregarding and/or circumventing the rule of law. What makes you think that they will treat the 22nd Amendment any differently?

Posted by: hiphoplawyer | May 16, 2007 04:35 PM

Hey brainboy, Tim, and Hank, I've enjoyed listening to a real honest to God astro-turf pseudo-discussion! Brilliant piece of 21st century advertising for a candidate who's shooting for 2% at the polls.

Now back to the topic at hand.

Posted by: JP2 | May 16, 2007 04:36 PM

JP2-if you want to cover for Paul McNulty, and tell us what a fine, upstanding DAG he's been, go right ahead. However, by doing so, you clearly show you haven't been following what has been happening with his testimony-and something tells me, that once Goodling testifies, she's going to clarify a few of those issues-remember, the DAG is the nuts and bolts of the DOJ official apparatus-Comey himself tells us that-even on his own Wikipedia entry!

Oh no, the two of them- McNulty/Comey-are clearly looking out for each other-you'd have to be a real idiot not to see that.

Posted by: | May 16, 2007 04:37 PM

wrb-most lawyers don't take law professors to be "the last word" on the subject, (much as the law professors, most who have never practiced law, wish to believe otherwise) but the part on the "false claim not to remember" is DIFFERENT than actually making false representations under oath, which is EXACTLY what McNulty did, then frantically tried to backpedal, he the DAG, by blaming a 33 year old aide (who was in the same meetings he was in) for his "inaccurate testimony."

Like I said, the word on the legal street about McNulty is astonishment that the Judiciary Committee would allow him to get away with giving false testimony under oath-which is why it will be interesting to see what will happen when Goodling testifies.

Posted by: | May 16, 2007 04:48 PM

Anon at 4:48

Interesting and novel theory.

Reading your posts creates an interesting picture. You really want McNulty to go down, but you also stretch to create defense for Gonzalas (as with your absurd "no one is saying that Gonzales has lied under oath"). Most either find the whole enterprise disturbing, or they defend it. Why such great passion in two directions?

Gotta wonder who you are. Some guy with a grudge against McNulty but loyalty to Gonzalas? Mrs. Gonzalas? Gonzalas himself?

Posted by: wrb | May 16, 2007 05:31 PM

Anon 4:37PM/Chiaramente,

Unlike some folks, I don't have a fully formed opinion regarding McNulty. So I can't tell you if he's an honest citizen, or a corrupt bum. I suspect he's somewhere in between, but I really don't know. I'll be curious to his unvarnished testimony when he's out of the DOJ and granted immunity.

My recollection is that he was not exactly a top-flight prosecutor in reference to the Moussaoui prosecution, but unlike Sampson, Goodling, or for that matter Gonzales, he actually had some first hand experience as a Federal Prosecutor. Unlike the youngsters, he also has a little life experience too, which generally tends to moderate judgment.

There is also the issue of Gonzales's March 2006 order circumventing the DAG traditional role in employment decisions. So Gonzales, based on his own rule-making, is absolving McNulty of the responsibility that would traditionally be expected of a DAG in these decisions.

There is also the fact that no one has asserted that McNulty was part of the original discussion on these plans, which date back to at least 2005 in the White House; and that there has been no evidence offered to suggest that he did indeed play an early role in this matter.

Additionally, we have already been able to determine that the DOJ side was merely "aggregating" information, and not determining the standards and list of names for firing. So to the extent that McNulty had involvement in the "process" he would only seem to be a second level offender.

Finally, there is the issue of the firing authority itself. The president, as I understand it, is the only person who can legally fire these Senate confirmed nominees. There is a grey area that might permit him to delegate authority to a cabinet secretary, but any delegation below that level would be unconstitutional. So, in cases where the final authority rests with "X" person, so does the final responsibility, and any credit or blame that might come as a consequence of the decisions.

Clearly Gonzales is threatening McNulty effectively saying--"if I go down, you go down". While Gonzales through the president may be able to achieve a pardon, the Congress can grant immunity--which has a similar impact. And if it comes down to impeachment, and it seems that Gonzales and his boss are determined to put this option on the table, then, in the event of a conviction Gonzales would be beyond the benefit of a pardon.

Does any of this absolve McNulty? No. But typically you don't assign the same level of responsibility to a subordinate that you do to a superior. Especially in cases where that subordinate's authority has been limited in scope by the very man who is now pointing the finger of responsibility.

Posted by: JP2 | May 16, 2007 05:48 PM

Anon 4:37PM/Chiaramente,

Unlike some folks, I don't have a fully formed opinion regarding McNulty. So I can't tell you if he's an honest citizen, or a corrupt bum. I suspect he's somewhere in between, but I really don't know. I'll be curious to his unvarnished testimony when he's out of the DOJ and granted immunity.

My recollection is that he was not exactly a top-flight prosecutor in reference to the Moussaoui prosecution, but unlike Sampson, Goodling, or for that matter Gonzales, he actually had some first hand experience as a Federal Prosecutor. Unlike the youngsters, he also has a little life experience too, which generally tends to moderate judgment.

There is also the issue of Gonzales's March 2006 order circumventing the DAG traditional role in employment decisions. So Gonzales, based on his own rule-making, is absolving McNulty of the responsibility that would traditionally be expected of a DAG in these decisions.

There is also the fact that no one has asserted that McNulty was part of the original discussion on these plans, which date back to at least 2005 in the White House; and that there has been no evidence offered to suggest that he did indeed play an early role in this matter.

Additionally, we have already been able to determine that the DOJ side was merely "aggregating" information, and not determining the standards and list of names for firing. So to the extent that McNulty had involvement in the "process" he would only seem to be a second level offender.

Finally, there is the issue of the firing authority itself. The president, as I understand it, is the only person who can legally fire these Senate confirmed nominees. There is a grey area that might permit him to delegate authority to a cabinet secretary, but any delegation below that level would be unconstitutional. So, in cases where the final authority rests with "X" person, so does the final responsibility, and any credit or blame that might come as a consequence of the decisions.

Clearly Gonzales is threatening McNulty effectively saying--"if I go down, you go down". While Gonzales through the president may be able to achieve a pardon, the Congress can grant immunity--which has a similar impact. And if it comes down to impeachment, and it seems that Gonzales and his boss are determined to put this option on the table, then, in the event of a conviction Gonzales would be beyond the benefit of a pardon.

Does any of this absolve McNulty? No. But typically you don't assign the same level of responsibility to a subordinate that you do to a superior. Especially in cases where that subordinate's authority has been limited in scope by the very man who is now pointing the finger of blame.

Posted by: JP2 | May 16, 2007 05:48 PM

JP2, for my part there was no intention of advertising for Mr. Paul, of whom I know next to nothing. Apparently, he's not much of a contender at 2%. Still I find Hillary or Obama to be an awful choice, and can't accept voting for either (I had hopes for Barack, but he showed himself much too willing to play disingenuously to perceived special interests by certain statements, and not least in his actions in the Imus situation.)
I AM pleased you were entertained, however.

Posted by: Tim | May 16, 2007 06:59 PM

anonymous at 3:17: And you know the most alarming thing about that is that I GUARANTEE that GWB, with his predeliction for history and movies,citing WW2 precedents (usually invalid or bogus)for what he wants to do, is INTIMATELY familiar with that movie. Numerous other instances than this show an amazing tendency to compartmentalize in a way that ignores other inconvenient contradictory facts that he readily recognizes.

I've noticed when he is confronted with facts contradicting his statements (see for instance his interview with G. Stephanopoulos), he is well aware of them and that they contradict his position and has no real answer (however when this happens many of the American people mistakenly assume that if he is ignoring prominently made criticisms, he MUST know something that refutes them), but he just chooses simply to ignore/turn away from them, and says (almost verbatim)"Well I just believe in my gut..." and hopes that the end by hook or crook somehow bears him out. He says whatever people think , "this will be my legacy" to continue after his administration(a long while after his blithely declaring victory in Iraq would not occur after all) , but at the same time calls any historians' attempts to comment now on his current administration to be inherently "myopic", that to evaluate the success of his administration, one would necessarily have to wait at least a decade.

HOW CONVENIENT FOR HIM!And I think, either a con man and/or MASSIVELY delusional (certainly aided by the compartmentalizing and "faith"-based qualities mentioned).

Posted by: Henry Adams (and GWB should read my autobiography!) | May 16, 2007 07:29 PM

Good points, JP2 (esp about Mcnulty not being part of the original discussion).

Posted by: Erik the Viking | May 16, 2007 07:37 PM

Scary, this admin is just plain scary

Posted by: Harold | May 16, 2007 09:12 PM

A few additional thoughts on McNulty:
1. I would be curious to hear what his involvement was, or what his knowledge is of the Patriot Act renewal amendments (e.g. regarding the removal of the Senate's advise and consent role, and the change in residency for U.S. Attorneys). This is one area where I wouldn't necessarily give McNulty a free pass.

B. In terms of personnel decisions it's a mixed bag. In the case of Carol Lam he did go to bat for her when Sen. Feinstein asked about her immigration numbers; he also showed at least a little humanity in reference to Bogden's removal--but still caved. The big problem that I see here is that he didn't ask hard questions, and red flags didn't go up when they should have. Based on what I know--and it is pretty much what any person can know based on the public record--McNulty's role appears to be, as stated above, as a second level offender. He strikes me as the kind of mid-level manager who probably did have one eye on promotions, and only a few glances in the direction of getting those promotions for the right reasons (because he fought for the type of standards that would earn him the respect of even his critics--ala Comey).

Once again, it will be interesting to hear what he has to say when he's out of the DOJ with immunity.

Posted by: JP2 | May 16, 2007 09:49 PM

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