End the Charade

The big news this morning really shouldn't come as any "news" at all. What it should do is finally push Congress over the edge of inaction so that it formally and uniformly demands that President George W. Bush put an end to the charade of propriety and good governance that is otherwise known as the Alberto R. Gonzales Era at the Justice Department.

From Eric Lipton and David Johnston at the New York Times: "The Justice Department has begun an internal investigation into whether a former senior adviser to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales improperly tried to fill vacancies for career prosecutors at the agency with Republicans loyal to the Bush administration, department officials said Wednesday. The inquiry focuses on whether the former adviser, Monica Goodling, sought to determine the political affiliations of job applicants before they were hired as prosecutors -- potentially a violation of civil service laws and a break with a tradition of nonpartisanship in the career ranks at the Justice Department."

From Dan Eggen and Amy Sherman in their piece for the Washington Post: "The Justice Department has launched an internal investigation into whether Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales's former White House liaison illegally took party affiliation into account in hiring career federal prosecutors, officials said yesterday. The allegations against Monica M. Goodling represent a potential violation of federal law and signal that a joint probe begun in March by the department's inspector general and Office of Professional Responsibility has expanded beyond the controversial dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys last year."

No one who has followed this story closely can be shocked by this news. Of course, the fix was in with the Goodling, Sampson and Co. to replace professional nonpartisan officials with partisans; of course White House leaders directed the plan, and of course the Attorney General either went along with it (as he always does with his president) or negligently allowed it to happen on his watch. It is no wonder that Congress is not satisfied with the answers (or non-answers) it so far has received from the people involved; no wonder that another document subpoena went out yesterday from the Senate Judiciary Committee to the Justice Department (this time for Karl Rove's emails); no wonder that the stories told in written form by six of the eight fired federal prosecutors offer a chilling view of how this administration takes care of its own.

I think that Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), the ranking member of the Judicial Committee put it best. Here's how the Times wrote it: "'If you counted the "I don't knows" compared to the "I knows," the "don't knows'"win hands down," [Specter] said Wednesday, recalling recent testimony by Mr. Gonzales and his former chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson. Ms. Goodling and Mr. Sampson had an unusual amount of power over hiring decisions at the Justice Department, department officials have said. In a confidential memorandum signed by Mr. Gonzales in March 2006, the attorney general delegated to them the hiring and firing of the department's political appointees and senior executives, with the exception of those who had to be confirmed by the Senate... Mr. Specter, the ranking Republican on the judiciary panel, said he was infuriated that such a formal delegation of power took place, yet no one told Congressional investigators until it was reported this week by the National Journal. 'Pardon me if I raise my voice,' Mr. Specter said Wednesday."

He should raise it even louder. In fact, every Republican in Congress should raise their voices now and push the President to get rid of this guy, Gonzales, who is doing nothing but a disservice to their cause and to the cause of ensuring that this most vital department is run by the best people available. And if and when those voices are not raised, the Republicans will have no one to blame for themselves when this already significant scandal gets bigger and bigger and bigger.

By Andrew Cohen |  May 3, 2007; 7:42 AM ET agag
Previous: Gonzales: The Lawyer Who Lied to the Judge | Next: How An Attorney General Should Act (and Monica's Mad)


Please email us to report offensive comments.

Gonzo could not have made it through law school if he was really as ignorant as he appeared before the Senate panel. Herr Rove called the Code Red. An independant judiciary is one of the keystones of our democracy. At the very least a special prosecutor should be appointed to clean this up. Gonzo should go to the John Mitchell finishing school along with Herr Rove and Dumbya and Shotgun Dick need to be impeached.

Posted by: braultrl | May 3, 2007 09:20 AM

I don't care what the people want. You act like this government is a Democracy. George Bush

Posted by: Fred Gangloff | May 3, 2007 09:40 AM

yes, indeed, enough with the charade, song and dance, plain b.s.
where are men/women of honor?
how do these people sleep at night or do they?

Posted by: groundie | May 3, 2007 09:40 AM

The investigation of Goodling by DoJ is a ploy: she's been given immunity and was ready to testify, but now that she's under investigation DoJ doesn't have to approve approve her immunity and therefore she's kept out of the clutches of Congress.

Posted by: | May 3, 2007 09:41 AM

Republicans. What are they good for? Nothin', say it again...actually they're quite handy as targets, should you be throwing out garbage from a second-story window while one scuttles by. Other than that, not much good for anything. By the way, love the ability to punctuate.

Posted by: godspeed, asteroid itokawa | May 3, 2007 09:42 AM

Did Mr. Cohen attack Janet Reno during ANY of her follies? I thought not.

Posted by: geedee | May 3, 2007 09:44 AM

I would be very interested to know who the lawyers were that were fired.

Posted by: jason long | May 3, 2007 09:49 AM

The hiring requirements of the previous administration for JD attys included the applicant dress code of skirts and/or pants suits. The problem here is what?

Posted by: jaydee | May 3, 2007 09:52 AM

It is preposterous that allegations of much wrongdoing, supported by evidence, comes out of the DOJ. Congress should have a standing investigative committee that looks at every new allegation that comes out of the DOJ. The people are entitled to expect that the DOJ will operate with a reputation that is untarnished. How can anyone respect the DOJ and Gonzales and his senior officers?

Posted by: Robert James | May 3, 2007 09:56 AM

Why do people continue to attack my court? Don't they respect KING GEORGE

Posted by: Fast | May 3, 2007 09:59 AM

Where is Sandy Berger when you need him! I'm sure if you are looking for documents,He knows where to find em'.

Posted by: Vegas Vic | May 3, 2007 10:00 AM

Abnormal program termination.

Posted by: XRumer629 | May 3, 2007 10:00 AM

Make no mistake. This "Justice department investigation" is a sham. Its sole purpose is to make Monica Goodling the subject of an ongoing justice department criminal investigation so that the DOJ can prevent her being given immunity by congress. If she has no immunity, then she can continue to invoke her fifth amendment rights.

Posted by: Argus | May 3, 2007 10:01 AM

Cronyism is destroying our American democracy.

Both sides are at fault at all levels of government. The Republicans are simply more visible because of the higher positions they occupy. Gonzales is the most visible example of someone promoted, not for his independent merit, but for his blind loyalty.

The American public and its public officials, need to rededicate themselves to electing and appointing public officials for merit, not spin, for reason, not sound bites, and for their education in governance, not successful profiteering.

Posted by: JM Parras | May 3, 2007 10:06 AM

why did no one complain when clinton fired all his prosecutors

Posted by: mike riker | May 3, 2007 10:09 AM

Maybe I'm becoming a conspiracy theorist (with this administration, it's becoming hard not to), but here's how I see it:

Monica Goodling invoked her 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination in refusing to testify before Congress. Congress then issued a grant of immunity so she could, in fact, testify without incriminating herself regarding prior (alleged) illegal acts.

However, before Congress' grant of immunity can take effect, the DOJ and a federal judge have to sign off on it to make sure that Congress' grant of immunity does not interfere with an ongoing criminal probe.

Now, a few days later, low and behold, the DOJ reveals that Goodling IS the subject of an ongoing criminal probe!

It will come as no surprise, therefore, when the DOJ refuses to sign off on the immunity grant, thereby sparing Ms. Goodling the discomfort of perjuring herself before Congress (and sparing Mr. Rove and Ms. Miers any discomfort).

The only question is whether a federal judge can overrule DOJ's objections.

Stay tuned.

Posted by: Influential Thinker | May 3, 2007 10:09 AM

Replace Gonzales and there could be a mushroom cloud over an American city (or was that elect a democrat, I don't remember).

Posted by: Happy Expat | May 3, 2007 10:11 AM

Now if only Richard Nixon had Gonzo on his side - Watergate would be just a Hotel in Washington and Gerald Ford would never have been President!

It truly amazes me that the man who is supposed to be in charge, the so-called "I'm the Decider", repeatedly supports these failures. How about being "I'm the one Responsible" for a change. You probably thinks 2 negatives makes a positive!

Posted by: Rick | May 3, 2007 10:11 AM

Is there a distinct pattern here of "doing things the Cheney way no matter the law or truth". It is very clear to me the little man behind the curtain controlling the Administration is free of conscience and has no regard for our constitution and our well being. And, the guy at the helm is a dense isolated extremist hell bent on twisting reality into his sucess.

Posted by: towanda farmer | May 3, 2007 10:13 AM

My hope is that Gonzo stays on, the longer he does more invesigations will be launched into voter suppression ,human rights, and civil rights violations. If Herr Rove is truly the modern day Machiavelli that people say he is he would be wise to throw Gonzo overboard to before the press starts airing the more sensational dirty laundry that has yet to move from page A13 to lead story on "The Situation Room"

Posted by: scrappy | May 3, 2007 10:15 AM

Obvioulsy Gonzalez has to go, but does anyone really believe that it was his idea to turn the DOJ into the GOP?

Unless Rove, Miers, and anyone else in the White House who came up with this idea, are forced to testify in front of Congress, then the administration wins again. Gonzo will resign and the matter will blow over (see, e.g., Tenet and WMDs intelligence, Libby and Plame-gate, Hurricane Katrina and "Brownie.")

The time has come to hold the White House accountable before it creates another storm.

Posted by: Peter Halpin | May 3, 2007 10:15 AM

Just a quick response to geedee and everyone else who's response to all of the blatant corruption in the current Republican administration:

Saying "yeah, well, the other guys weren't perfect either" is about the dumbest, least productive thing you can possible utter at this point. Yes, Clinton had his problems. No, Reno wasn't perfect. But there is real--REAL--evidence that this administration has tried to subvert the very nature of our system of government.

This is not a partisan thing any more, this is not a "look what the Republicans did!" thing any more. This is an attempt to prevent a terrifying trend in American politics; that is, governing bodies barely attempting to fulfil the letter of the law and the constitution, rather than the intent. If this continues, eventually any administration--Republican, Democrat, or other--could completely usurp power from the other branches and our tidy little democracy would fall apart.

So geedee, if it makes you feel better to sit back with a smug look on your face and say "well, Clinton got his wee-wee sucked and lied about it. He's worse, as far as I'm concerned," then please do so, flick to Fox News and nod your head for hours, and shut the hell up. There are important things to deal with, and if you're going to be blind to blatant abuses of power out of party loyalty, you're an ignorant slob at best, and a traitor at worst.

Posted by: Huh? | May 3, 2007 10:16 AM

I think the real question here is: How does the timing of the investigation compare to Goodling's decision to resign, refuse to testify before Congress, or accept immunity? She cannot be granted immunity if she is under investigation, so the Justice Department's investigation may be obstruction of justice...

Posted by: ctown-woody | May 3, 2007 10:23 AM

Clinton fired all of the previous adminstrations procecutors because they all resigned at the beginning of his term as is customary. He didnt fire them selectivly in the middle of a term.

Posted by: jim collins | May 3, 2007 10:31 AM

Huh? Well said! It's disturbing how many people are not upset about these recent events. Regardless of your political affiliation you should be outraged as an American. Before you defend these actions, stop and think if you would be so lenient if the offenders were of an opposing party.

Posted by: Nite | May 3, 2007 10:33 AM

As soon as Congress impeaches the first administration official for lying, the resignations will begin. Until then, the shameless have no reason to stop the charade. Come on Congress, do your job before its too late!

Posted by: thebob.bob | May 3, 2007 10:35 AM

As soon as Congress impeaches the first administration official for lying, the resignations will begin. Until then, the shameless have no reason to stop the charade. Come on Congress, do your job before its too late!

Posted by: thebob.bob | May 3, 2007 10:38 AM

I wonder if there was a "religous test", given Goodling's background.

Posted by: Henry | May 3, 2007 10:39 AM

I agree Huh, these Janet Reno, Clinton, Sandy Berger a la Fox's Hannity responses are childish, "he did it so ...".

They omit to mention that it's their "do nothing" congress who were in charge at the time and, what they chose to focus their attention on.

Posted by: Rick | May 3, 2007 10:40 AM

Dubya seems to gain confidence in people
who answer serious questions with "I don't know"......Surounding himself with people who just "don't know" is what his administration is all about.

Posted by: Billy | May 3, 2007 10:43 AM

Remember the neonazies? well now we have the neoconservatives.The way Alberto gonzales is exicuting his duties is in conjunction with the wishes of the neocons.Give them eight more years and you will be happy with their leadership skills.

Posted by: | May 3, 2007 10:48 AM

your police state...fix it or get in line to become a victim

Posted by: g | May 3, 2007 10:50 AM

thebob.bob, interesting point. Perhaps Rep Kucinich should redraw his articles for AG Gonzales in place of VP Cheney...

Posted by: bsimon | May 3, 2007 10:52 AM

Ha ha! You've all missed the boat. You are witness to the decline of the USA. This is just the tip of the iceberg. All of this posturing and lip service to upholding the 'values' of the American system are laughable. A 'democracy'? You ignorant fluffs. This dumping ground is, or at least was, a 'republic'. Expression through democracy, yes. Anyway folks, plan on a different future from what may appear to you as a continuation of a society based upon the Constitution as you knew it. Do not be surprised at it's suspension in the next few months (years? You fill in the blank) by the pride of neo-cons. The public is so dumbed-down at this point that only a few even know who is in Congress or even what Congress is. Walk into any market place and just ask folks simple questions: Who's your congressman? Who's your senator? Who's your lieutenant govenor? Do you care? Keep a medic near you. You'll need that medic!

Posted by: Turtle Dust | May 3, 2007 11:02 AM

So, when is it that you start to believe a liar who says they are telling the truth? This time? Last time?

That is where we sit as a Nation. Do we throw up hands up in disgust, and come to the realization that we have been lied to all along, or do we pick and choose which lies we can stomach?

And really, how important is it to the citizens of this nation that the leadership of the DOJ is truthful, honest, and forthcoming? It seems that until recently, there was no issue with their conduct.

Does it really matter? The Executive branch doesn't believe so. It appears that at this time, members of the Republican Party don't place value on truth, justice, the American way.

The two-faced approach to wanting to apply these standards only to political opponents makes the very concept seem naive.

Of course they are lying. It's what they do. And, it appears, it's what we let them do.

Posted by: Sean | May 3, 2007 11:02 AM


Posted by: frank burns | May 3, 2007 11:13 AM

I love the diehard GOP morality:

Clinton: Violated his marriage vows, alone with one intern. Lied about it.No casualties.

Bush: Violated the US Constitution, repeatedly and with full participation of Veep, two Attorneys-General, WH counsels, etc. They ALL lie about it. Tens of thousands dead.

Seems equal, eh?

Posted by: Jake | May 3, 2007 11:20 AM

I believe that by now it's abundantly clear to anyone following the story, that DOJ's Monica Goodling investigation is a brazen move to thwart the congressional investigation underway, by denying the latter the ability to grant immunity and compel sworn testimony. I think Gonzales ought to be charged with obstruction of justice, and Rove and gang hauled out by their ears before congressional committees. It's long overdue.

Posted by: john | May 3, 2007 11:22 AM

DOJ investigation = no immunity for Monica = no testimony. As simple, and as devious and calculating, as that. This isn't a chess game, folks. It's the Department of Justice. We desperately need integrity.

Posted by: Patty Duggan | May 3, 2007 11:24 AM

Democracy has always been a joke to
the neocons,GW "I know who my constitutes are", Laws don't apply to those in power,
they make the laws, with signing statements,
and break the laws with their rich, rightous religeous conservatism, they illegaly support evangelicals over the state, war over peace, big business over science, the environment, the poor and middle class, and don't worry, they will stay the course, for God is on the side of the rightous power seeking money grubbers and in the name of God, those in power can justify anything.

Posted by: James Seattle | May 3, 2007 11:27 AM

Who would think we'd look back at Ashcroft's reign with nostalgia?

Posted by: Desert Leap | May 3, 2007 11:31 AM

I am calling the IRS auditor and tell her that I'll audit my own 2005 tax return, and it is not necessary to have the meeting next week. I'll let her know the result... I like it!

Posted by: Norman | May 3, 2007 11:34 AM

And its one-two-three
What are we fight'in for?
Oh God I dont give a d@mn
We already got Saddam
And its five-six-seven
Open up the pearly gates
Oh it aint no use to wonder why
Whoo Lord were all gonna die.

Posted by: Fate | May 3, 2007 11:45 AM

Impeach Now!

Posted by: Julia | May 3, 2007 11:48 AM

May God have mercy on their unrepentant souls.

Posted by: JJ | May 3, 2007 11:48 AM

The next year we should see the Democratically controlled congress cone up with embarassing bills that will put republicans in the embarassing position of having to support the president or support the democrats. All in preparation for '08. Its going to be hell for republicans who, as '08 gets closer, will want to distance themselves from BushCo. This ought to be better and more intreguing than a season of Lost!

And for those who think its between Obama and Hillary get a clue, few Democrats are really happy with either. I expect a third unnamed candidate to jump in, sometime this fall. Who I'm not sure, but I am sure that democrats are looking for a fresh face, and not very happy with what they have so far.

Posted by: Fate | May 3, 2007 11:52 AM

How much more is this administration hiding? Mr. Bush has acted like a dictator for his entire run as president. I hope the people wake up from slumber and realize just what has been going on with our government. The people need to be more aware of what their representation is doing for/to them.

Posted by: Tom | May 3, 2007 11:55 AM

Harvard Law if I recall right
Big Texas Law firm also
Best and the Brighest right

Posted by: | May 3, 2007 11:56 AM

Bush & Rove & Cheney have so corrupted the major branches of government, it seems the only way out is to impeach them. They deserve to be hated.

Posted by: M. Stratas | May 3, 2007 12:02 PM

The bushies trail of lies, incomplete

Said he did more for the environment than Al Gore
Forgot to tell his head of EPA that this was a campaign lie so she had to go.
Lied about Global warming
Lied about Swift boating John McCane
Lied about terror threat alerts before 2004 elections, you notice; we've had none since?
Lied about Swift boating John Kerry
Lied about being AWOL from Vietnam
Lied about doing cocaine
Attacking John Kerry wife, while saying his wife was off limits even though Laura did kill her boyfriend in a car wreck.
Lied about Iraq having connections to 9/11
Lied about planning for terrorist attack before 9/11 (focus on Saddam)
Lied about WMDs in Iraq
Lied about the reason he Invaded Iraq.
Lied about leaking the CIA's officers' name to punish her husband for telling the truth on WMD's.
Lied about making progress in Iraq.
Lied about the death of Pat Tillman
Lied about the heroics of Jessica Lynch
Lied about spying on americans
Lied about torturing detainees
Lied about Abu Graib prison responsiblity
Lied about the response to the Katrina Hurricane.
Lied about the VP shooting his friend in the face, "he shouldn't have been there"
Lied about why they fired 8 attorney generals
Lies about Iran's involvement in Iraq. Who made Iraq unstable? Duh? the US invasion.
Lies about being safer from terrorist

Posted by: James Seattle | May 3, 2007 12:12 PM

why did no one complain when clinton fired all his prosecutors?

For the same reason no one complained when Dubya Bush fired all the Clinton-appointed prosecutors at the start of his first term. Same for Clinton. Same for Bush Sr. Same for Reagen. Same for Carter....all the way back.

Every president 'clears house' at the beginning of their first term. That's normal and expected. What is not normal is to fire a prosecutor appointed by yourself, who has committed no wrongdoing, except not to be as politically biased as you want. Apparently a 7 to 1 investigation rate of democrats vs republicans just wasn't biased enough for Dubya. That the conviction rate was the other way around just underscores how corrupt republicans really are.

Posted by: CD | May 3, 2007 12:22 PM

I wonder how many people whining about this and other inconsistencies with the Bush government voted for it back in 2004?

If you expected anything different, you were not paying attention to the previous four years.
I hope gasoline goes to $10 a gallon and Bush declares himself emperor . Maybe then, "We won't be fooled again"
(sorry about the Who reference, I could not resist).

Posted by: Jim McCollem | May 3, 2007 12:28 PM

Look back at GWB's business dealings before he became govenor of Texas, they are the same as his dealings as when he is our President, I did not vote for him either time.

Posted by: Cliff Moyle | May 3, 2007 12:45 PM

John writes that "Rove and gang [should be] hauled out by their ears before congressional committees. It's long overdue."

Many of us agree. Unfortunately, it is not that simple. The subpoenas can be issued, but the Administration will fight them in court -- courts that the Administration has carefully stocked with judges who will likely be sympathetic to its arguments. It is unlikely that the "conservatives" on the Supreme Court would rule against this Administration, and even if they did, given the slow pace of litigation, the decision would come long after the Administration has left office.

Posted by: lydgate | May 3, 2007 01:01 PM

[quoted] 'Why did Clinton fire all his prosecutors?' [/quoted]

Clinton fired all of George Bush the 1st's prosecutors.

So either you are a dolt or you have been drinking way too much KoolAid. Turn off Rush, put down the KoolAid, and rejoin the reality based community.

Posted by: VeganMilitia | May 3, 2007 01:17 PM

You all do realize that you're commenting about an article on a news website, right? You won't change anything.

Get back to work.

Posted by: RATM | May 3, 2007 01:23 PM

I have also heard that some of the House Republicans fired staff who were disloyal to them! Can you believe it? Next thing you will tell me is that a new administration is going to fire bureaucrats who served in prior administartions. What a Scandal.

Hello people...just because someone says, "scandal" does that mean that the newspaper has to act like Howdy Doody and say, "scandal" too.

There is no scandal....except in the opportunistic mind of democratic operatives.

Posted by: | May 3, 2007 01:25 PM

My concern is that Bush's shenanigans will cheapen the coin of integrity in government. It will be an easy thing for another party to engage in just such or similar actions on the grounds that Bush did it and nothing really bad happened. The real problem is an incredibly naive if not stupid electorate. I think we're on a long downhill slide; I wish it were otherwise.

Posted by: Tom Nelson | May 3, 2007 01:38 PM

I am tired of people trying to redirect the focus from Gonzales to Reno or Clinton - they say "Clinton got rid of the U.S. Attorneys, too!" - yes, every president does, but once they are replaced with the new prez's team in place, they are not replaced AGAIN for not being enough of a team player.
Janet Reno may have had her "follies" as one suggested, but these were normal functions of an AG - not every case may have been handled as the people would have preferred. What Gonzales has done is not fumbling a case, but instead allowing the president to gain unprecedented power and violate laws with no oversight. Getting Gonzales on this scandal is like getting Capone for taxes...this is just the tip of an ugly iceberg.

Posted by: Desiree | May 3, 2007 01:50 PM

Big freakin deal. So they fired prosecutors, who they had every right to fire, for any or no reason. Scandal? Like it's been said before, whey was there no scandal when the same thing (or equivalent) has happened during Democrat dominated periods?

It's because the mass media is primarily in bed with the Democrats. Lefties love lefties, no matter how close to treason they fall...

Posted by: Jim | May 3, 2007 01:52 PM

I actually enjoy the responses posted here from the Robot Right. Their ability to parrot the current talking points saves me from having to listen to Rush or Sean every now and then.

So: Rove almost got away with it. A Justice Dept. and Judiciary packed with authoritarian small-brained GOPpers.

Funny how our democratic republic manages to get out of the durndest messes eventually. Could it have something to do with the fundamental rightness of the founding ideas ?

-- stan

Posted by: Stanley Krute | May 3, 2007 03:07 PM

"Unfortunately, it is not that simple. The subpoenas can be issued, but the Administration will fight them in court"

The congress has the power to have them seized by the Sargent-at-Arms and hauled before the bar of the Congress for trial. I've come to think that rather than exteme this solution is essential at this moment in history: a needed push-back againt the administration's grasping of power and flouting of laws.


"The breadth of a jurisdictional committee's investigative authority may be seen in the two seminal Supreme Court decisions emanating from the Teapot Dome inquiries of the mid-1920's. As part of its investigation, the Senate select committee issued a subpoena for the testimony of Mally S. Daugherty, the brother of the Attorney General. After Daugherty failed to respond to the subpoena, the Senate sent its Deputy Sergeant at Arms to take him into custody and bring him before the Senate. Daugherty petitioned in federal court for a writ of habeas corpus arguing that the Senate in its investigation had exceeded its constitutional powers. The case ultimately reached the Supreme Court, where, in a landmark decision, McGrain v. Daugherty,8 the Court upheld the Senate's authority to investigate these charges concerning the Department:

'T]he subject to be investigated was the administration of the Department of Justice - whether its functions were being properly discharged or were being neglected or misdirected, and particularly whether the Attorney General and his assistants were performing or neglecting their duties in respect of the institution and prosecution of proceedings to punish crimes and enforce appropriate remedies against the wrongdoers - specific instances of alleged neglect being recited.

Plainly the subject was one on which legislation could be had and would be materially aided by the information which the investigation was calculated to elicit. This becomes manifest when it is reflected that the functions of the Department of Justice, the powers and duties of the Attorney General and the duties of his assistants, are all subject to
congressional legislation, and that the department is maintained and its activities are carried on under such appropriations as in the judgment of Congress are needed from year to year.9'

The Court thus underlined that the Department of Justice, like all other executive departments and agencies, is a creature of the Congress and subject to its plenary legislative and oversight authority."

The above was drafted at Sen Grassley's request, no less.


Posted by: | May 3, 2007 03:07 PM

Another entry in the Diary of the Gang That Could Not Shoot Straight.

Posted by: Hal | May 3, 2007 03:41 PM

Mike Riker, the AG and the pres have the authority to fire all of the us attorneys. That's why there was no fuss raised. It's legal for the AG to replace all of the attorneys. However, it's illegal to do so for partisan reasons, which is what is alleged here. It's very simple; clinton did it legally, george i hate america bush did it illegally.

Posted by: John | May 3, 2007 03:48 PM

Jim you're a moron. Did you read the article? It clearly states that Goodling may have broken the law. It's fairly obvious that she did. Lefties. what a freaking tard. the MSM has been notedly and notoriously kind to this miscreant who currently inhabits the White House. It's not rocket science genius. According to your pea brain, the AG can fire the attorneys for any reason. Does that mean if they say why did you get rid of this guy, and he says because I don't like black people that's okay? The fact that most followers of the neocons, and I do mean followers, are unable to formulate independent thought explains the popularity of the rush's and the seans. If morons dissapear from the face of the earth the republican party will self-destruct the next day.

Posted by: John | May 3, 2007 03:53 PM

Hey look, there are three issues here:

1) Can the president fire U.S. attorneys? Yes, but not for political reasons because that violates the Hatch Act.

2) Can the A.G. lie to Congress about the reasons for firing the U.S. attorneys? Sure he can, but that also breaks the law.

3) Did the A.G. and his staff develop a plan to appoint new U.S. attorneys without having them confirmed by Congress? Yes, they did and it shows their political intent.

I'll add an extra one: Why did Goodling invoke her Fifth Amendment rights against incriminating herself? Incriminating herself in what, something against the law?

The stench coming from DoJ might even keep the cherry blossoms from blooming in DC this year. Once again, "You've done a heckuva job, Little Al!"

Posted by: pacman | May 3, 2007 04:18 PM

"Another entry in the Diary of the Gang That Could Not Shoot Straight."

Actually, that couldn't be further from the truth. The problem with these people isn't that they're incompetent. It's that they know exactly what they're doing. Politicizing the Justice Department isn't an accident, it's part of their decades-old dream of building a "lasting Republican majority" in part by using the apparatus of law enforcement to smear and destroy their political opponents.

These people aren't incompetent, they're dangerous.

Posted by: hg457 | May 3, 2007 04:43 PM

"Big freakin deal. So they fired prosecutors, who they had every right to fire, for any or no reason. Scandal? Like it's been said before, whey was there no scandal when the same thing (or equivalent) has happened during Democrat dominated periods?" -- Jim

Are you kidding? Were you even alive during the Clinton Administration, or do you just repeat what Rush says? The answer to your question is that the same thing DIDN'T happen under Clinton. Last time I checked, the top three officials in Clinton's Justice Department weren't being actively investigated by their own department for committing felonies, didn't contradict their own boss's testimony under oath, didn't lawyer up and plead the 5th in order to avoid testifying, and didn't say "I don't know" 71 times during a single round of testimony.

Posted by: | May 3, 2007 04:53 PM

The Biskupic story shows that the issue here is not so much that the USAs were fired, but rather what the others did to warrant retention. Biskupic was on the fire list, then all of a sudden he brings a trumped-up case against a career bureaucrat in a Democratic Governor's office. If you right wingnuts haven't been paying attention, her conviction was unanimously overturned FROM THE BENCH by a 7th Circuit panel (including Judge Easterbrook). The Court called the evidence against her "Thinner than thin..." Well, that didn't stop the GOP candidate for Governor of Wisconsin from running ads calling the sitting governor corrupt while pointing to this charade as evidence.

And look what happened... Biskupic came off the fire list.

Posted by: Nellie | May 3, 2007 05:37 PM

How many stupid republicans do we have still on this thread. Cinton did this, Reno did that, yada yada bullcrap. It's pretty clear now that Gooding broke the Civil Service Act, the Hatch Act, and DoJ's policy, all at the direction of White House political staf with the express purpose of turning the Justice Department into an extension of the RNC with no oversight from the other branches of government as required. You honestly want to compare that to Clinton following the established precedent of replacing US attorneys at the beginning of his Administration? At least Reno appointed an independent prosecuter and never intervened in the Starr investigation no matter how far from its mandate it strayed. This is far worse than the sum of everything done in the Clinton years so stop trying to draw a comparison, you just look like a bunch of ignorant partisan morons.

Posted by: Michael | May 3, 2007 06:29 PM

I just finished reading "The Librarian" by Larry Beinhart--also wrote the book that was the basis for "Wag the Dog." Although it's a thriller, it really pillories the Bush administration, complete with a President Scott who joins the Nat. Guard to avoid VietNam, a vice president who avoids going to war through student deferments, and a plot to stay in power by gerrymandering the electoral college. At one point, the president and his cronies muse that they need a national emergency to get the legislative ball rolling in their desired direction. "How about if we just get out of the terrorist's way when they make another try for the World Trade Center." Read it! Recommend it to Oprah!

Posted by: Dave | May 3, 2007 07:38 PM

It is clear that the Bush administration is now just going through the motions of a presidency. They are beyond lame duck because they have zero international credibility and influence and zero domestic power. The most they can do is speak in front of groups of friendly audiences to give the appearance of news. They majority of their time will be spent covering up and delaying investigations of their wrongdoing and incompetence.

Posted by: swlewis | May 3, 2007 09:06 PM

The Bush administration doesn't even obey subpoenaes. These are seriously dangerous people.

Posted by: Gardenia | May 3, 2007 10:10 PM

The wild card in all this is that the Congressional offer of immunity to Goodling, who with immunity would be prevented from invoking the Fifth Amendment. But the grant of immunity by Congress is subject to a decision by the Justice Department that such immunity will not interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation. So suddenly they have such an ongoing investigation. Next they will turn down immunity for Goodling, and she can still invoke the Fifth Amendment. She doesn*t testify, and everybody walks.

Neat trick! And, by the way, then the Justice Department quietly drops the criminal investigation of itself.

Posted by: thrh | May 3, 2007 10:31 PM

Did Mr. Cohen attack Janet Reno during ANY of her follies? I thought not.

Posted by: geedee | May 3, 2007 09:44 AM
Gee GEEDEE - I DON'T know!
Do YOU KNOW if Mr Cohen criticised, or "attacked" MS Reno?
You state "I thought not" as if you have the data to back it up. Could you provide some links please?

Posted by: lala | May 4, 2007 12:54 AM

Every Republican voter should be outraged at the takeover of their party by these corrupt bastards. Democrat voters are fed up with their own party leadership -- but I think the RoveWellians have just targeted every Democrat who represents a real threat. The Enron Debacle took out Gray Davis -- one wonders just how many more SwiftBoatings will ultimately come to light?

Posted by: toddpw | May 4, 2007 05:01 AM


You're right about Gray Davis. People forget that the California Legislature passed the energy de-regulation bill under Davis's predecessor, Pete Wilson. Guess what party Wilson was from... anyone? Beuller? That's right, he was a Republican. It was a terrible law that left the California energy consumers with all the risk and the power brokers like Enron with the ability to shut down the power grid (which they did on several occasions).

Posted by: Nellie | May 4, 2007 08:25 AM

To Turtle Dust: The decline of the USA and bogus posturing you speak of is a view also shared by some eminent long lived historians, Jacques Barzun for one. The funny thing is that this decline (which I pretty much also think) came when the majority started to have anything they wanted available, got their whims fulfilled as "rights", a fulfillment to some religious groups and their many, many congregations (most of America?) that was even treated as a moral OBLIGATION to one's individidual and collective "self" EVEN DESPITE WHETHER ONE WANTED IT OR NOT (the cause is the standard/ideal superior to the individual), but that made sure to deny any real personal responsibility that required any sacrifice. Many seemed to think that the removal of almost any regulations on personal "choice" opens the way to Utopia, or their Promised Land (I'm sorry to say, given where the loudest influence is pushed from and why, the allusion isn't very accidental), a Utopia that actually turns out to be a decline, indeed for many a hell, led by failed salesmen,addicts, outcasts, and vindictive chip-on -the shoulder types from the 60's and 70's, thinking they were reborn as superheroes of the Nixon and Reagan eras and demanding acknowledgment of their superiority (to them, instantly accrued as members of the world's superpower/team by default, and instant validation because no real competition/accountability on them is left)as their never to be satisfied self-worth (maybe broad but applies to many currently in power), but succeeding only in being subhuman.

Posted by: madison | May 4, 2007 12:41 PM

On the incomplete list of lies above, I stopped paying attention after the administration's alternative reality became more evident, but I actually supported G.W.'s saying in the 2000 campaign, he doesn't think U.S. is supposed to be the world's policeman, that he didn't support nationbuilding missions etc.. What happened? Seems to have been enthusiastically espousing the opposite. Maybe a hint is given in paraphrasing something Laura Bush said in a recent interview:that after 9/11 the administration were criticized for, why didn't you see this coming, why didn't you protect us, you have been derelict in your duty etc.. So this is what we have to do.

Maybe this explains the repressions, the wiretapping, the I can do anything because I'm doing my job to protect you, the profiling whoever's rights it abuses (and OK if not one of the respectable people; American law doesn't apply to enemy combatants, but hey a mass murderer who happens to be American it wouldn't be thought to deny; or if a criminal goes from jail to Iraq, how unsupportive to have them subject to an international court, if we recall Bush's statements in 2004, [many soldiers of course aren't criminals; they do join voluntarily and knowingly though]doing this great service of which one is supposed to be grateful; Nazis upheld the rights of Germans, but anyone worded as not a real German was fair game to release our grudgingly restrained scapegoating and prejudices, the law that was supposed to be for humans didn't apply to gypsies, Jews etc..because the wording was changed so that human didn't apply to them, and so therefore anything could legally be done to them), so that the administration can claim to have prejudged and acted on one's suspicions in order "to see what's coming".

Avoiding criticism that one can't evade or disguise as the priority in national policy; you criticized me for being irresponsible, so I'm going to retaliate and give you what you asked for, whatever cutting corners there may be.

Posted by: jackson | May 4, 2007 01:19 PM

Also to show the credibility and mindset of the administration, remember when the executive tried to file suit against its own Justice department I think in 2005, 2006 when the Supreme Court for the first time in a long time in the administration, was taken aback by the executive's claim of primacy over it's own right of review; unfortunately what it took for the Supreme Court, rather than all the abuses, and lack of trial to alleged combatants without the need to present evidence, to stand up at all was criticism of itself!

If I recall, the executive responded by "standing up for itself" and filing suit against another government branch. I remember being surprised that this was possible, and that it passed as an almost everyday occurrence.

Posted by: john | May 4, 2007 01:31 PM

I ask,are the numerously evidenced acts of the administration the values of how one would want to raise their children? Ah but they seem to be for the "correct" families of that brat/playboy generation, and emphasizing (in secret resentment at not being REWARDED by the system for following the rules, rather than doing what is right and legal because it is)to their post-counterculture children that the result, status and position by any means and one's ideological status are all that count, whatever one's real ability-and if what is right limits or restrains one, get the law or social norms (e.g. change the environment for the self, in parlance)changed through the now numerously available channels in which one's cronies of the same personal presumptions are in authority, and then righteously profess the new wording to be what is ethical. "Respectable" members of society demanding adherence to the law, which can be put on or off at will, and both of which they remade in their own image and for furthering their "interests", meaning their gain, whims, self-importance.

Posted by: flaherty | May 4, 2007 01:51 PM

lydgate: The Supreme Court isn't only sympathetic, some of its memebers only go by their ideology. That's at least 4 sure votes right there:Roberts (despite his scholarly and distinguished front, his opinions largely show he uses that to give gravitas to a preconceived ideology), Alito, Scalia, and Thomas. And if there were any doubt about the Court's manipulatability (other than its sense of its own importance), look at how compliant it was Before Roberts and Alito were confirmed, when the abuses were plain as day. Isn't as if any fundamentally-altering facts have emerged since 2002, which weren't apparent then, Hillary's self-satisfied legalistic statements to the contrary.

Posted by: jim | May 4, 2007 02:49 PM

Bush will never fire Gonzales for the sole reason that Gonzo knows too much.

Frankly, the firings of the US Attorneys is probably the least important secret that he knows. As White House Cousel and AG, he was in a position to know exactly what's going on in Guantanamo and Abu Ghirab, about the "extraordinary renditions" of suspects in foreign countries, about the NSA domestic eavesdropping program, about electronic spying on bank transactions, about which domestic laws the Administration is ignoring per its "signing statements," about why the Administration issued so many "terror alerts" just before the 2004 eletions, about the Justice Department's obsession with "voter fraud" which may have been used to suppress turnout, and a host of other dirty secrets that probably haven't even been publicly unearthed. In short, he knows enough to send people to jail if he wanted to.

I bet Gonzo gets to keep his job as long as he wants it. It's a small price to pay for his silence.

Posted by: gold rush | May 4, 2007 05:52 PM

Mmmm. Somebody should look into adverse suitability decisions made by the Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management re: which career people get "approved" to work at DOJ. That office is also headed by a political appointee. I've heard some very strange stories about who has gotten clearances lately and who has been denied. Signficantly, OARM has advised those denied that there are "no written guidelines" governing suitability decisions. This is a fact, but it is a fact that provides ample room for abuse by the politicos who are destroying the justice department.

Posted by: anonymous | May 4, 2007 06:19 PM

Yeah I remember it being "divulged" and by either the White House/FBI just before the 2004 election, that a plot to bomb LAX or L.A. had been foiled (the obvious implication that disaster would strike if Republicans with the anti-terrorist posturing weren't reelected), and Villaraigosa, the Los Angeles mayor (and not really known for playing partisanship)said that's funny, no one told me, the mayor, of that! You can be assured if there was a confirmed plot to bomb L.A. that the federal government actively worked to stop, the mayor of the city would have been told! The inference as to what the administration's standards can be is obvious. This too swept under the rug after a while.

Posted by: pacific | May 4, 2007 07:38 PM

Nellie: Good point! Makes one think that glaring facts don't even matter. Apparently one can hold onto their affiliation/opinion as long as they have company.

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