The Fall of the House of McNulty

Make no mistake. The newly-resigned former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty is not a "fall guy" at the Justice Department or otherwise a victim of the ever-expanding scandal over the firing last year of eight (or nine) U.S. Attorneys. Like his boss the Attorney General of the United States, McNulty knew or should have known that the White House-inspired plan to politicize the Justice Department was wrong; knew or should have known that good, honest, smart federal prosecutors all across the country were unconscionably being sacked in favor of partisan cronies; knew or should have known that the Justice Department is not supposed to be a political fiefdom to be manipulated at the whim of party loyalists or bureaucratic hacks. Even more so than Alberto Gonzales, McNulty, a former federal prosecutor himself, should have stood up for the independence and authority of the prosecutors who were fired.

So when The New York Times reports this morning that McNulty left now because his "friends said that [he] had long chafed in his role as second in command under Mr. Gonzales and had realized that the furor over the prosecutors had probably ended his hope to be named to a seat on a federal appeals court" the truth is that he has no one to blame but himself for the sorry state of his political future. He made a series of bad choices that led him and his Department to where they are today. I give him credit for one thing, though. At least he had the integrity to come before the Congress in February and offer a glimmer of candor about the purge at the Justice Department. That is certainly more than anyone can say about McNulty's former boss, Attorney General Gonzales, who keeps saying he takes responsibility for the mess without actually doing so.

The relatively quick derailment of the McNulty Express-- which had been on a fast track to a federal judgeship or more-- is another sign that this U.S. Attorney scandal is bigger and deeper than Administration apologists would try to have you believe. It strips away another layer of protection from the Attorney General himself and reveals even more than before deep and intense fault lines at the Justice Department. And if McNulty truly is upset with the way Gonzales and Company treated him after the controversy broke, then it is possible that we will soon see McNulty come back to Capitol Hill for another round of testimony, this time as a private citizen given (I believe) a grant of immunity. If that happens, watch out. It could add a whole new dimension to this story. And you don't need to be a genius to follow the storyline from McNulty: "I didn't select the U.S. Attorneys who were fired but I know who did and am now ready to tell you about it all."

I had one direct exchange many years ago with McNulty about a column I had written about the John Walker Lindh case. The piece clearly touched a nerve (if you read it you'll be able to figure out why) and all of sudden there I was on the telephone with McNulty himself, then U.S Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia (the jurisdiction in which the Lindh case was held). We went over the column together line by line and as we did it struck me that McNulty was a man very much concerned about his own image and the image of the Justice Department.

Nothing wrong with that, of course. I wish more of the subjects I have written about would take the time to personally help me better understand my beat. But it is hard to square the McNulty of 2003 with the McNulty of 2006 and 2007. Now that he is gone from public office, I look forward to hearing from him again, either directly or through his testimony, about how it came to pass that a rising star in the law could fall so far so fast for such avoidable reasons.

By Andrew Cohen |  May 14, 2007; 8:17 PM ET agag
Previous: The Attorney General's "Monica" Problem | Next: Alberto Throws Paul Under Bus: Ditto James to Alberto

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Given the prevailing doublespeak practiced by the Bush administration, we definitely should have started looking for a Justice Department scandal like this as soon as we started hearing frequent statements about the importance of the rule of law. Those statements were applied to the Iraqis, of course, not to our country...

Posted by: David | May 15, 2007 09:38 AM

DING DONG THE DAG IS GONE!

And I COULDN'T be happier to hear the news! (smile)

Unfortunately, Andrew Cohen-you STILL don't have it right about McNulty-although clearly, you've got a better handle on his incompetence, not to mention, deceitfulness, than the NY Times! But wait until Monica Goodling testifies, she will shed some light on the REAL McNulty-remember, as I said all along, the DAG is the one who runs the show, and is the nuts and bolts man, despite what HE says to the contrary!

His role in the US Attorney firings, along with some other things that will come out while he was U.S. Attorney-will show the country exactly what kind of deceitful, incompetent, over-politicized leadership they have in the high reaches of the DOJ (and still do have; leaving AG Gonzales aside for the moment, when is that supremely unqualified Alice Fisher, Assistant Attorney General for Criminal, protege of Michael (I can sure pick 'em!) Chertoff leaving?)

Let me state again, McNulty's resignation came not soon enough-but I think McNulty was REALLY worried about the battering his image is going to take when Monica Goodling hits the stand in the weeks to come, and of course, other things may come out as well, that are going to tarnish that carefully crafted image of him as the "morally" upstanding one in that rotten-to the-core-Department!

Yeah, right!

Good riddance to the liar!

Posted by: Chiaramente | May 15, 2007 09:54 AM

MCNUTLY IS JUST ONE LAYER OF THE WHOLE ADMINISTRATION!!!! CHECK OUT HOW GONZALES AND SUTTON, BOTH BUSH PUPPETS DIDN'T FOLLOW UP ON THE ABUSE CASES OF THE TEXAS YOUTH COMMISSION, WHEN GONZALES AND SUTTON SAID IF IT DIDN'T HURT THE YOUTHS THERE WAS NO CASE.THIS WAS BROUGHT TO THEIR ATTENTION BY A TEXAS RANGER.
SOMETHING HAS BEEN DONE NOW, PROBABLY BECAUSE A STINK WAS FINALLY RAISED OVER THE DEAL!!!!!!

Posted by: F. HUNT | May 15, 2007 10:47 AM

When Clinton came to office, didn't Janet Reno fire ALL the US Attorneys? Then what's the beef about Bush's administration firing eight?

Posted by: Dave C | May 15, 2007 10:47 AM

I still don't see how Clinton's firing of all the federal prosecutors was not politicizing the Justice Department. Can someone please defend his actions rationally and logically? The arguments about the White House's plan and McNulty & Gonzales actions sound petty and vindictive.

Posted by: Suzanne Smart | May 15, 2007 10:48 AM

This adminstration is becoming more and more like a bad movie.

Bush apologists have nothing left to say, so I'll expect whiny CONs to show up here soon, pointing fingers at "Dems" and the "liberal media" or using their third-grade mentalities to justify their "they did it, so we can do it to..na na naaaa!!!" attitude.

How tragically sad this clown show has become. Too bad it's happening at the expense of our nation.

Posted by: Jason | May 15, 2007 10:48 AM

Wow, didn;t take long for the ingornace to roll on in....

I won;t even address this, because it has been addressed before.

DaveC said: "When Clinton came to office, didn't Janet Reno fire ALL the US Attorneys? Then what's the beef about Bush's administration firing eight?


So did Bush I and Reagan....this is different, but I'm sure you knew that when yoo posted it.

Posted by: Jason | May 15, 2007 10:51 AM

Do you people forget that Reagan and Bush Sr. did this too? Difference? They did it legitmately, as Clinton did...clear house after election....

However, Dubya did it in the middle of the year, for political gain only.....and the political screenng for hiring and firing....not a Clinton tactic...


LEARN YOUR HISTORY

"I still don't see how Clinton's firing of all the federal prosecutors was not politicizing the Justice Department. Can someone please defend his actions rationally and logically? The arguments about the White House's plan and McNulty & Gonzales actions sound petty and vindictive."

Posted by: Jason | May 15, 2007 10:53 AM

I love the cheery picked "CLINTON DID IT" posts.

Got a good laugh from those. Educated followers of this story know better.

Posted by: King | May 15, 2007 10:56 AM

I think this administration is manipulating justice system to avoid problems when the war planning gets audited in the future

Posted by: JG | May 15, 2007 10:59 AM

I think about what is interesting about this entire so called "scandal" is that if President Clinton was still in office all the Democrats would be at his defense as they did for all his scandals. The President can fire any U.S. Attourney at will. The Democrats see Presdient Bush's popularity so low they think they can do damage to him on every level for their entire goal is to gain the white house. It is a ploy for power, not justice or truth.

Posted by: revbreum | May 15, 2007 11:01 AM

So Bush's firing of 8 attorneys is political, but Clinton's firing of 83 was not?

Posted by: Ron H. | May 15, 2007 11:01 AM

Yeah "CLINTON did it!" is some funny stuff. But you'll have that when your homies are going down, big time.

McNulty should have known better-did he really believe his superior was productive at anything except rooting out honest US Attys?

Great column, BTW. I like it when the Post tells the truth.

Posted by: Prissy | May 15, 2007 11:02 AM

I don't know anything about Janet Reno firing all the US Attorneys upon assuming her role, but I will try to look at it from the point of view of not knowing anything. :-)

Apparently US Attorneys serve at the leisure of the President (I know this thanks to our current president). So if that's the case, why not "clean house" and appoint a new round of US Attorneys? If that's their view, then fine.

However, the problem is once you hire someone as a US Attorney, they're there to act on the principles of the law, not the political motivations of the White house, congress or senate.

So if you fire someone because they're not prosecuting enough opposing party members fast enough, then that's illegal (supposedly, and if it's not, it's not good ethics. Ethics being something both parties have poo-pooed at one time or another, but this administration seems to be severely lacking and willing to overlook if it's one of their guys that lacks them)

So sure if you want to be an idiot and say 8 is less than all, you've passed your math test. However, you have no idea what logic is, and probably don't think too critically either.

Posted by: Josh N. | May 15, 2007 11:02 AM

>how it came to pass that a rising star
>in the law could fall so far so fast for
>such avoidable reasons."

Groupthink (n.)
The act or practice of reasoning or decision-making by a group, especially when characterized by uncritical acceptance or conformity to prevailing points of view.

Posted by: Tim B | May 15, 2007 11:03 AM

It's common, some even say de rigeur, to fire all US Attorneys during an administration change. What is highly unusual is the replacement of attorneys in mid-term without just cause. The issue here is just cause. When all/most US Attorneys are replaced at the beginning of an administration, it is done to further the specific policy goals of the new administration. When it's done mid-term, it is seen as replacing the faithful with the well-connected. This egregious politicization borders on nepotism, especially when seen in light of the credentials of the supposedly qualified US Attorneys slated to take these spots. The American people should be outraged that loyalty trumps merit, which is the underlying issue. Nothing technically illegal was done, but it doesn't mean that the people's trust in the government and our system of justice wasn't compromised.

Posted by: 'jandro | May 15, 2007 11:04 AM

Does it really make a difference? The Bushies will continue to hide their heads in the sand and say, "Clinton did it". Completely ignoring the reasons behind the actions, and nothing will be done.
It is now a race to see whether the country can survive until inaugural day, 2009.

Posted by: Roberto | May 15, 2007 11:04 AM

Remember the 'saturday massacre' firings during Nixon administration(Watergate)GOP always has 'special relations' woth DOJ.

Posted by: arun1 | May 15, 2007 11:06 AM

Jason, you said: "This adminstration is becoming more and more like a bad movie."

I see it a little differently, as follows: "The lame attempts by partisan hacks at discrediting this adminstration is becoming more and more like a bad movie. This is Libby II."

I am no lover of Bush and respect neither party, but as a neutral observer and knowing the law, this whole thing is absurd. It is a simple attempt by those that may gain from damaging the current administration to condemn him in the court of public opinion. And they are counting on this specific public opinion to be ignorant indeed of law and events beyond what they get in a typical TV newscast.

Those who would have the president acquiesce to their demands need to choose their battles, and this was the wrong one. It is becoming more and more obvious to anyone without an axe to grind in this thing. Bush is clearly not interested in doing what is "popular", but what he perceives - rightly or wrongly - to be the correct course of action. His political enemies don't seem to understand how to deal with such a man.

Posted by: ROBROY | May 15, 2007 11:07 AM

This incidence indicates that the American politics some times travels along wrong path, but eventually it comes back to the right path. I am proud of being an American citizen.

In comparison note how long did it take to detect what happened in Gujarat for the false encounter case or what had happened in Manipur. At present I am living in India.

Posted by: Dr. Ajoy Bhattacharjya | May 15, 2007 11:08 AM

It's pretty obvious that all that stands between an endless stream of White House subpoenas (starting with Rove and Cheney) is the complicit management at the Justice Department. Now that it's apparent that they've gone too far and they're starting to to fall, the Administration is no doubt nervous about (hopefully) the rest of Justice waking up and doing its duty to the American People - which could well include criminal proceedings against the President's advisors, and impeachment for Bush. So it's no wonder Bush looks like he's preaching from inside Wonderland about his confidence in Gonzales.

Posted by: Seer | May 15, 2007 11:08 AM

Roberto,

You said, "The Bushies will continue to hide their heads in the sand and say, "Clinton did it". Completely ignoring the reasons behind the actions, and nothing will be done."

You presume to KNOW the reasons behind ANY administrations actions. There may be more to all of this than you (or I) think. And the truth may be somewhere between the protests and attacks from BOth sides.

Posted by: RobRoy | May 15, 2007 11:10 AM

There is a difference between a new administration having the opportunity to pick professionals who will do their jobs in a manner consistent with that administration and an ongoing process of throwing out such professionals when a closer crony or more zealous partisan becomes available. The Bush firings of U.S. Attorneys appears to be the latter.
These firings threaten the basic process.

Posted by: Kelley | May 15, 2007 11:11 AM

As noted above, Reagan, Bush 1, and other Presidents have fired all federal prosecutors when they came into office, because they were appointments of the previous administrations and the incoming administration had their own slate of prosecutors that they wanted in place. GWB, on the other hand, fired these 8 prosecutors, THAT HE APPOINTED HIMSELF. Why do you think that is? Could it be that they were not carrying out the political mission given them by the administration?

Posted by: Keith B | May 15, 2007 11:11 AM

To The Blog page editor:
Why is ,,Bench Conference,, so difficult to find on the WaPo website? For me it,s one of the most interesting features on the web. However ,,Columns and Blogs,, does,t mention it, nor does ,,Featured Columns and Blogs,, Can it be too critical of the present administration? I had to find it through Google, which is ridiculous.

Posted by: Hugh Loebner | May 15, 2007 11:12 AM

What I find interesting is everyone has been indoctrinated by the "liberal media" with the myth that there were all these Clinton "scandals" of the 1990s yet the Bush administration has been, more or less, untouched by the media. Compared to Bush and company the Clinton administration is looking pretty clean.

Posted by: Murdock | May 15, 2007 11:12 AM

Seer,

You said, "It's pretty obvious that all that stands between an endless stream of White House subpoenas (starting with Rove and Cheney) is the complicit management at the Justice Department."

Actually, I have a different take. Like Clinton, Bush seems to be being badgered by his political enemies for every "perceived questionable" decision by every underling with the hopes that his political enemies will somehow find a motherlode of illegal activities at the tope that have yet to materialize.

They keep coming up with fools gold, and it may be because there simply is nothing there. One thing is for sure - if every american was examined as microscopically as Bush has been, most of our nation would be in prison.

After all this badgering, the LACK OF ANY EVIDENCE of wrongdoing is screaming from the mountaintops.

This is Libby II. It will be followed by endless sequels until the public tires of it, or it backfires on his political enemies.

Posted by: RobRoy | May 15, 2007 11:15 AM

If you all can't see what this administration is now ,you never will. If that is the case ,please don't have any babies.

Posted by: Walldodger1969 | May 15, 2007 11:17 AM

Am I the only one appalled that Attorney General Gonzales of the United States of America has such a problem with his memory? If his memory is that bad, maybe he needs to step down and start treatment for Alzheimer's.
It would be interesting to see if McNulty has a better memory than Gonzales.

Posted by: ohPlease | May 15, 2007 11:19 AM

Josh, you said: "However, the problem is once you hire someone as a US Attorney, they're there to act on the principles of the law, not the political motivations of the White house, congress or senate."

I have a question. What if one (or eight) of them overtly prove they are not doing their job. One example would be one of the eight. The US attorney from my state, Washington, allowed an election to be stolen in broad daylight and did NOTHING. It was an incredible spectacle and quite appalling, even by many in the party of the person who stole the election.

That guy should have been fired!

The partisan card can be played both ways: Is the AG firing them for partisan reasons, or is he firing them because THEY are being partisan in carrying out their duty?

In this case it really doesn't matter, because the AG has the right to fire them because of the way they comb their hair. The only court that matters in a case like this is the court of public opinion, and the only thing that gets you is a shift in election results. REAL courts are only interested in matters of law.

Posted by: RobRoy | May 15, 2007 11:20 AM

Yes, Clinton did fire all the US Attorneys when he assumed office. As did George W. Bush, as did George H. Bush, as did Ronald Regan, as did William Carter, etc., etc., etc. Its generally standard practice with every incoming administration. After the Administration is serving, the President recommends people for US Attorney. They then serve at the pleasure of the president. To fire one during an administration is rare. To fire eight is unheard of. Especially when seven of them are competent, capable and highly motivated to serve Justice. That's the issue, once again.

Posted by: Charley J. | May 15, 2007 11:20 AM

OhPlease, You said: "Am I the only one appalled that Attorney General Gonzales of the United States of America has such a problem with his memory?"

It reminds me of Hillary Clinton's "I don't recall" answers regarding the missing FBI files which, by the way, are STILL missing.

Gonzalaz has no respect for this goofy kangaroo court and it is showing in his answers. Watch the end of "The Majestic". It is being played out in a slightly lower key way right now in your nightly news.

Posted by: RobRoy | May 15, 2007 11:23 AM

All new administrations appoint their own U. S. Attorneys. In fact, the protocol used to be that all sitting USA's would submit their resignations with a new administration. Bush put in his own USA's, as did Clinton and every other President when they took office. A few USA's in some districts stayed on because of their strong senators. What is unique about this situation is that the USA's were fired in the middle of an administration. Trying to say "Clinton did it too" is missing the boat. He didn't.

Posted by: Jerry | May 15, 2007 11:27 AM

I am sick and tired of hearing about the "liberal" media...How can the media be liberal when less than 20 companies own over 90% of the broadcast and print media?....simply another Republican lie, perpetuated by the "conservative" media to claim discrimination and distract attention from real issues. Can you say propaganda? Propaganda? You mean like in a fascist state? Read Bertram Gross - Friendly Fascism ..He had it right more than 20 years ago.

Posted by: Hector | May 15, 2007 11:27 AM

KiethB, you said: "GWB, on the other hand, fired these 8 prosecutors, THAT HE APPOINTED HIMSELF. Why do you think that is? Could it be that they were not carrying out the political mission given them by the administration?"

Have you ever fired an employee YOU yourself hired, for poor performance?

A good leader accepts his mistakes and takes action.

Don't get me wrong - you could be right. But there is no evidence to support your position other than a general distrust of Bush that is fostered, mainly, from a steady diet of TV news.

Bush is definitely not the greatest president we have had, but he is not the monster that some seem to have created in their own mindes. The Hitler comparisons are laughable and only destroy the credibility of those making the comparison.

Posted by: RobRoy | May 15, 2007 11:27 AM

The 28% of Americans who still support this President are brainwashed in the cult of personality the Republicans have created for them - and will continue to misunderstand and ignore the facts to maintain their comfortable belief system. That's too bad, because that's a lot of people who can't be counted on to stand up for America in this time of peril.

Clearly these 8 US attorneys were fired for political reasons. Even worse, it seems that they were being encouraged to aggressively pursue Democrats suspected of crimes and discouraged from pursuing Republicans.

I wonder what crimes or unethical behavior was required from the 85 US attorneys who found favor from Gonzales?

Posted by: none | May 15, 2007 11:34 AM

So nice to see an impartial look at why the Bush Dept. of Justice released 7% of their political appointees near the end of their terms. Not. Next thing you will be telling us is that the Dem Congress will allow a replacement AG to be appointed without about six months of screaming, weeping and wailing on national television. I mean really, come on and pull your head out. They are Political Appointees, about half of which really needed to go, and the other half kind-of needed to go. They had been complained about by both Dem and Rep Congresscritters, were not pursuing cases considered important to the Justice Dept, and now a certain number of them have been more than willing to fling themselves on TV and bewail their fate. They have exhausted my sympathy. And the Dems have exhausted my patience with their overblown windbags constantly treating this President like dirt.

If the Dems expect this episode to make people think they are serious about governing the country, they're dead wrong.

Posted by: Georg Felis | May 15, 2007 11:38 AM

LibbyII? Libby was CONVICTED, RobRoy. He's GUILTY.

Go back to the RNC Headquarters and get some more Republican talking points.

Posted by: me | May 15, 2007 11:39 AM

None, you said: "Clearly these 8 US attorneys were fired for political reasons."

Two things: 1. No, it is not clear and
2. If they were fired for political reasons, it may not be the reasons you think.

The US Attorney that was fired in my state DESPERATELY deserved it. He needed to aggressively pursue a stolen election (by a democrat), yet did nothing. He was not doing his job, plain and simple.

We fire people where I work for just such reasons. Fortunately though, those that do the firing do not have powerful political enemies that wish to politicize the firings - especially when they are absolutely 100% legal!

This court of public opinion thing is amazing to watch though. I haven't had TV since 1997 and I am amazed, when I AM exposed to it just how worthless and politicized the TV news is. The frog has already been boiled alive. He just doesn't know it yet.

Posted by: RobRoy | May 15, 2007 11:42 AM

The Presdent has the discretion to fire a US Attorney but that does not mean he has the right to politicize the department in the ways alleged. In the absense of a credible defense by Gonzales one is forced to assume that is precisely what occurred. As for US Attorney Johnny Sutton, there was a level of nuance and evasion in his answers to Lou Dobbs, to warrant the same conclusion. The pattern is very disturbing to an independent voter like me.

Posted by: william boe | May 15, 2007 11:43 AM

Ah, yes Mr. Felis, thanks for the "they're all equally bad" lament of the partisan that always seems to come out when the crimes are too big to be explained away. I guess you get some credit for not completely defending Bush - but not much.

Sorry, but your President IS dirt and his dirt has sullied the office almost beyond repair. As far as I can tell he is about the dirtiest President we've ever had in this country and he needs to be removed from office.

Posted by: me | May 15, 2007 11:47 AM

Me, you said, "LibbyII? Libby was CONVICTED, RobRoy. He's GUILTY."

Yes, he was convicted. But what exactly was he convicted of?

;)

Think about it, PLEASE! A years long witch hunt to the highest levels of the Executive branch of the most powerful nation the world has ever known results in Libby I. Do you realize just how silly that is?

Oh, and I am not a Republican. I have absolutely NO respect for that party. Of course, I feel the same way about the democratic party. I just observe. I no longer vote after the stolen election in my state of Washington (one of the 8 US attorneys was fired for not pursuing it).

I pretty much adhere to this: http://www.billstclair.com/lodge/Books101.shtml

Posted by: RobRoy | May 15, 2007 11:47 AM

"He needed to aggressively pursue a stolen election (by a democrat), yet did nothing. He was not doing his job, plain and simple."

Of course the election was stolen...a DEMOCRAT won.

Thanks for proving my point so perfectly.

Posted by: none | May 15, 2007 11:53 AM

Me, you said, "Sorry, but your President IS dirt and his dirt has sullied the office almost beyond repair. As far as I can tell he is about the dirtiest President we've ever had in this country and he needs to be removed from office."

You need to walk away from your TV news and read some articles from both sides of this. For starters, you talk about "crimes that are too big to be explained away". When one examines the body of evidence available publicly, that statement looks just plain silly.

Love Bush or hate him, this particular issue is a lame one to pursue. The lack of any accusations OF SUBSTANCE against the president and his administration are conspicuous in their absence.

We need to move on to issues that are more "pressing" and actually matter. People get fired all the time, for all sorts of reasons. Whining about it, especially when the job was "at will" is just incredibly juvenile. And I point that particular bony finger of blame at the fired attorneys and the kangaroo court that is desperately attempting to make as much mountain as they possibly can of what arguably is not even a mole hill.

I've seen people who have been fired for ABSOLUTELY JUST CAUSE actually get people to come, publicly, to their defence. I am continually amazed at how few people actually educate themselves on both sides of an issue before taking a strong stance. I guess the internet gives everyone equal voice, no matter how ludicrous their position, as long as they have reasonable typing skills.

Posted by: RobRoy | May 15, 2007 11:56 AM

I suspect that Mr. Cohen is engaging in wishful thinking when he writes that "if McNulty truly is upset with the way Gonzales and Company treated him after the controversry broke, then it is possible that we will soon see McNulty come back to Capitol Hill for another round of testimony, this time as a private citizen given (I believe) a grant of immunity." This Administration is nothing if not vindictive, and if McNulty were to give damaging testimony about the firings, his legal career in the private sector would probably come to an end before it had even started. With a family to support, I suspect that he will want to stay as far away from this controversy as possible.

Posted by: lydgate | May 15, 2007 12:03 PM

In reference to the hiring and firing, there's another dimension to this as well--the amendments to the Patriot Act, which removed the Senate Consent; and also the alteration to the rule governing residency.

Both of these manuevers were expedients which served the White House's interest, but they were also the type of recommendations that fundamentally altered the way that these local offices have worked--going back to the Judiciary Act of 1789.

It can't be overstated just how profound these changes have been. Not a precedent that should stand.

On an unrelated point this is the height of hilarity:

"Oh, and I am not a Republican. I have absolutely NO respect for that party. Of course, I feel the same way about the democratic party. I just observe. I no longer vote after the stolen election in my state of Washington (one of the 8 US attorneys was fired for not pursuing it)."

Right, and apparently you were really upset when that Republican Governor lost the election, because the resident prosecutor, David McKay, who was appointed by a Republican President, and Republican Senate failed to bring charges on the basis of scant evidence.

Oh that's right, you're not a Republican.

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 12:06 PM

None, I gotta admit, you almost made me spew coffee on my keyboard. ;)

You said, "Of course the election was stolen...a DEMOCRAT won.

Thanks for proving my point so perfectly."


Are you seriously suggesting that a republican appointed US attorney cannot pursue cases against democrats because they may give the impression of partisanship? That's just goofy.

BTW, I have been voting since 1972. The election to which I refer is the only one in those decades of which I can honestly say, "any reasonable person would look at the preponderence of evidence and see a 'fixed' election." It was quite remarkable to watch the high drama that followed, and the mindboggling decisions made by our US attorney with the weight of evidence that was even available to the general public.

Here. Educate yourself: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=gregoire+stolen+election

This one gets to some meat fairly early: http://stromata.typepad.com/stromata_blog/election_reform/index.html

Posted by: Robroy | May 15, 2007 12:07 PM

TYPICAL LIBERAL PANDERING TO THE LIBERAL LEFT!!! TYPICAL LIBERAL PANDERING TO THE LIBERAL LEFT!!! TYPICAL LIBERAL PANDERING TO THE LIBERAL LEFT!!!

I think if you consult the CONSTITUTION, you will find that the ATTY GENERAL and THE PRESIDENT can use the Dept of Justice Anyway it likes, even if the purpose is to attack POLITICAL RIVALS. That is why they let THE PRESIDENT apoint persecutors. It's the LAW, but the Democrats in Washington want to subvert the law and restain our President from fighting the way of terror. Well, I am not falling for it. We need real leadership in Washington, not partison bickering about who did what. The Democrats should move on and leave this matter alone.

Posted by: True Red Blooded Patiot | May 15, 2007 12:10 PM

Robroy- You seem like quite an appologist for a "non-partisan". Where did you learn law, at Pat Robertson's "law" school? NO LAWS WERE BROKEN? What about obstruction of justice(both Gonzales for opening an in-house investigation to stonewall Congress and Rice for ignoring a subpoena but refusing to allow her willing underling to testify), lying under oath(only 8 attorneys with the number growing daily coupled with the "I don't remember" mantra and don't forget the sworn statement that "Bush & Cheney were not involved" with the proof offered "I just know they wouldn't do that"), abuse of the
laws protecting Administration e-mails(Karl Rove and the RNC) Should I keep going or have I made my point already? If this doesn't at least hint at inproprieties to you just remember the words of your "on the level" AG that if you have nothing to hide you should't be worried. According to you the Democrats inquiries are not to be trusted but throw all your blind support behind this Liar in Chief.

Posted by: Bob | May 15, 2007 12:13 PM

You said, "Right, and apparently you were really upset when that Republican Governor lost the election, because the resident prosecutor, David McKay, who was appointed by a Republican President, and Republican Senate failed to bring charges on the basis of scant evidence.

Oh that's right, you're not a Republican."

How partisan of you! It is amazing that my simple bristling about obvious injustice, regardless of who it is perpetrated against, makes me a paritsan hack? That is a curious thought process indeed. It is also the pot calling the refridgerator black.

This is not about which party I support or don't support. It is about seeing election fraud carried out in broad daylight and NOTHING is done about it. That should appaul any reasonable person with a sense of justice.

If I were a died in the wool Republican and voted for Rossi (I am not), and this exact same thing happened and ROSSI was the winner, my opinion would be the same, only stronger, because I would feel duped by "my candidate".

I voted for Nixon. I also turned on him when the facts were released. I felt duped then.

This is not about which party one affiliates themself with. It is about justice and being able to put that party affiliation aside and examine the alleged crimes and supporting evidence.

McKay turned out to be either a democratic party hack (he was democrat btw) or just good old fashioned incompetent at his job. Either way, it proved he had to be remoeved from an office of public trust.

I don't know as much about the other seven.

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 12:16 PM

There 28% of Americans who still support this President???

Who are theses MORONS? Perhaps this is the group that actually watches the Old Time Gospel Hour and believes that homosexuality is `curable.` Well, every country has it's share of idiots. It's disturbing that they make up 28% of our population.

Posted by: Frank | May 15, 2007 12:18 PM

The RNC talking points smokeblower should be limited to one post, at most two.

Posted by: The Fredo Bandido | May 15, 2007 12:18 PM

"I think if you consult the CONSTITUTION, you will find that the ATTY GENERAL and THE PRESIDENT can use the Dept of Justice Anyway it likes, even if the purpose is to attack POLITICAL RIVALS. That is why they let THE PRESIDENT apoint persecutors."

Show that part of the Constitution and we can talk.

Or how about this, the Dept. of Justice is predated by 70 years by the office of the U.S. Attorney. When the Dept. of Justice was created in the 1870s by act of Congress they still required that U.S. Attorneys receive appointment on the basis of the Presidential nomination process, which is subject to Senate confirmation.

Rob Roy, in suggesting that a Republican appointed Prosecutor was correctly terminated on this "voter fraud" are you suggesting that the Prosecutor did not exercise good legal or political judgement?
If the former, other than the fact that you have voted since 1972, I would be curious to know what qualifications you have to render a judgement on this man's prosecution of voting rights laws? (Based on your previous comments I'm left to assume that your qualification in this area is that you've voted since 1972).

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 12:20 PM

..."This Administration is nothing if not vindictive"

oh, Lydgate, if you only KNEW how true those words of yours really are!

Posted by: chiaramente | May 15, 2007 12:25 PM

Bob,

You said, "Robroy- You seem like quite an appologist for a "non-partisan"."

It is not that. Here, in a nutshell, is what gets my goat on this.

As I have mentioned, I don't have tv and haven't for over a decade. I read about this early on and realized it was a stupid battle to try to "get Bush" on (as the Valerie Plame one was - they got Libby on a technicality and that is it).

But I recently found out that "Joe Sixpack" is seeing this sillyness played out every night on what little TV news he sees.

This is stupid. There is SERIOUS stuff going on in the world and the average american is wasting mental cycles on this "Why did Gonzalez fire so-and-so" tripe. It is like the public is being intentionally sidelined from stuff that really matters.

I am no lover of Bush. I would just like to see the people (who vote) focus their attention on things that actually matter. Meanwhile, nothing is going to come of this in the long run. It is merely a small part of the bread and circuses Americans have come to love and enjoy.

Now, if they could just find something REALLY important, like maybe a blue dress...

But it is ultimately just high comedy to me (if it were not so serious). I have a gallon of gas, a book of matches and a fiddle. I am merely waiting for the time to use them.

Anyone want to talk about the real estate meltdown?

Posted by: RobRoy | May 15, 2007 12:26 PM

Well, if Gonzalez did not have the right to fire these guys, it looks like an open and shut case.

Why is anyone even talking about it. ;)

Posted by: Robroy | May 15, 2007 12:28 PM

RobRoy, spends some more time reading about the history of the U.S. prosecutors offices; or for that mattter comments by former Attorneys General; as well as Federal Prosecutors and you may begin to put two and two together here.

The actions in these cases represents substantial deviations from precedent--the net sum of these moves is that we could potential have an even more partisan and more highly corrupted Justice system in the future, so yes, ordinary Americans should care.

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 12:33 PM

This "they did it so I can too" isn't only 3rd grade, it's the same as "human life is corrupt, so therefore we have a blank check (odd that the administration's brat-like attempts to get NO CONSTRAINT, like free-floating dissociated essence, which has been apparent throughout the administration, has only very recently been referred to as a blank check; is this the inebriated level of criticism in the country?), or, reality is corrupt, so no censorship for only portraying what exists, and because everyone else is doing it(like the 92 L.A. riots) gives an excuse/blank check to do whatever we want.
So, basically, to such, from birth they inherently have this green light, because can always pretend "someone else did it" or selectively and deceptively, dissociated from the context, someone in history did it (and the analogy itself may well not even be accurate, but often an artificial attempt to link this to that; and note the reliance on analogy rather than logic). Sort of like the original sin/ unconscious wild card.

Or, dare one say it, the exact same position as the frequently-made canned one that any criticism of a certain Mideast country's actions amounts to prejudice, because it gets disproportionate attention and "everyone else is doing it". Full awareness of and directing of atrocities is fine (esp. if "named" under the label "war", even if "war" now often has a corporate/business model, much of it farmed out to private contractors/vendors, and treated like a industry of the economy), but the sensitivity and persecution of being personally criticized when one can't dissemble facts one away!

Posted by: Rich | May 15, 2007 12:50 PM

I have a clarification regarding the election of our governor in Washington State. The initial election results were so close, that state law triggered a re-count. There was a second re-count, paid for by Mr. Rossi and the GOP (I assume). Yes there were many problems with the count, particularly in King County, where the state population is concentrated in Seattle and suburbs. Former U.S. attorney McKay found no evidence of a conspiracy in voter fraud.

However, it is true Washington State has a Democratic Governor, and two Democratic Senators. Our state economy is similar to California and Oregon with an emphasis on natural resources, agriculture and manufacturing. Yes, our state voters lean toward common Democratic Party themes: Fair Labor, Health Care, Education, etc. But this state does not harbor voter fraud, even though GOP operatives attempted to fire up a scandal.

McKay, the ousted U.S. attorney for the Western District of Washington, is now a visiting professor at the Seattle University School of Law. On May 9 he hosted a pair of his fellow fired federal prosecutors for a forum on the mass sackings last year.

I think most voters in our state perceived U.S. attorney McKay as a competent professional with an outstanding track record. I don't know him personally, however, his reputation is rock solid. Why else would he be recruited and hired as a U.S. attorney?

I can only imagine that all of the 8 or 9 U.S. attorneys were recruited and hired because of strong credentials and experience. The subsequent sacking after several years on the job shows an act of desperation to win at all costs. The sacking of strong performers may not be illegal but is clearly unethical. To characterize the sacking as under-performing employees is insulting and clearly a bold faced lie. We all deserve better leadership from our elected officials.

Posted by: r.morris391 | May 15, 2007 12:55 PM

When will people finally stop saying this

"When Clinton came to office, didn't Janet Reno fire ALL the US Attorneys? Then what's the beef about Bush's administration firing eight?".

Its a common practice to "clean up" after your predecessor, but it is UNPRECEDENTED to fire EIGHT AG's midterm. People just have to stop saying this LIE.

My only hope is that the truth will come out. And when it does, America needs to be ready for another WATERGATE, which will hopefully end with G.W and Cheney being sent to Haag trialled for war crimes.

Posted by: Tomas | May 15, 2007 12:57 PM

Well, this realestate meltdown has been greatly overpriced for too long.

Posted by: Jana | May 15, 2007 12:59 PM

Funny I wonder what kind of reading RedBloodedPatriot has done of the constitution, or if he/she can read well at all. Consulting the Constitution would tell us that the DOJ can be used to attack political rivals? Interesting. The hypocrisy of clowns like you is quite amazing.

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

I see we still have a few pathetic 28 percenters around here.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | May 15, 2007 01:06 PM

Well, ... According to an Associated Press-AOL News poll, 25% of people in the U.S. anticipate the second coming of Jesus Christ in 2007. I have a hintch that these are the same people [as those 28% still supporting Bush)

Posted by: Tomas | May 15, 2007 01:13 PM

Not to pick too much on misguided "patiot", but "persecutors" rather than prosecutors is too funny!

Posted by: Donna | May 15, 2007 01:20 PM

Robroy:

You've got to start getting beyond Rush, Hannity, News corp. and Fox Noise for your news sources. You sound like you've been drinking that kool-aid far too long.

This story isn't about why the 8 (or 10) US Attorneys were fired, but rather why the others kept their jobs. Look in particular at Wisconsin with Biskupic. He was on the fire list, and suddenly he comes off it after he brings a bogus corruption case against a Democratic bureaucrat just before the election. This case was featured prominently in Republican campaign ads as "proof" of the corruption of the Democratic Governor of Wisconsin. Except the 7th Circuit summarily tossed the poor woman's conviction during oral arguments.

The US Attorneys scandal isn't about who has the right to fire federal prosecutors. It is about using the Department of Justice to usher in the "permanent Republican majority" Tom Delay and Karl Rove have been working for. It is about subjugating the rule of law in favor of consolidation of power at any cost. It is about ELECTION fraud, not "voter" fraud. This is about the most corrupt administration in American History -- they make Nixon's white house look like an amature hour.

Give yourself a good slap and take a look around. Maybe that will wake you up to the reality of what is happening here.

Posted by: Nellie | May 15, 2007 01:41 PM

Robroy-
You didn't address any of my points on all laws broken by these corruptors. You even tried to change the subject to the abbismal state of the real estate market? This thread is about the DOJ not that a@#hole who replaced Greenspan, interest rates, the defecit or a million other mismanaged, underqualified aspects of this Administration. I don't see this as much of a "get Bush" thing as I feel this reeks of improprieties that to date have not been sufficiently addressed by the AG, Rove or anyone in the Administration. You say that the public is being sidelined from more serious issues but even just a "small part of the bread" can get moldy and ruin the whole loaf. If the thought of 100's of Pat Robertson grads infiltrating the White House and the firings of Republican Att's because they weren't "Right" enough to blindly stick their necks out on cases that did't hold water doesn't scare you and you see it as just "high comedy" I think you need to seriously wonder what life without haebeus corpus would be like if you were suspected even accidentally of some crime or other. The poo-pooing of our Constitution is as serious an issue as I can think of and if it takes this investigation to be the tip of the iceburg then so be it!

Posted by: Bob | May 15, 2007 01:43 PM

Can anyone address this who actually knows the law? Bringing a voting fraud case out just before an election. Is there a law against this or is it just considered a no-no to do this. I keep reading conflicting stories as to whether this is simply frowned upon and should be done after the actual election or is there some legal reason to wait for after the election?

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

The biggest difference between McNulty and Gonzales is that McNulty--despite all his faults in this case--is still a professional. Gonzales is a pandering sycophant whose understanding of law makes one wonder how he ever could have been a judge on the Texas Supreme Court.

McNulty is guilty of at least one thing--poor judgment in trusting those around him. He should have known that there is not one Bush appointee among the bunch who could be trusted. As a result, he simply joined the troupe. By associating himself with the bunch, by parroting their propaganda without questioning--until it was too late--McNulty has abandoned his professionalism and independence. Gonzales stated that he wanted to walk away from the mess with his reputation still intact--unfortunately for him, the reputation he had entering the position was not particularly favorable. Unlike Gonzales, however, McNulty did have a good reputation within the Department and in other legal circles. Although it lost some luster because of his apparent alliance--which he now claims was unwitting--with the "loyal Bushies", his reputation is still relatively intact. Whether any high-profile law firm will want to hire him is in question, however, as the stench of the scandal will still follow him whether he is indeed blameless in the affair or not. Firms run by loyal Republicans will shun him because he clearly did not do enough to stop the scandal in its tracks--it does not matter that no one could have done that. Independent firms will not touch him because they don't want the appearance of hiring a partisan hack (even if he is not one). And, being a legal bureaucrat, McNulty would not make a good lobbyist. That leaves corporate counsel--an odd job for a career prosecutor--unless, of course, he becomes criminal defense counsel for some of the corporations implicated in a variety of other Administration scandals.

Posted by: buck turgidson | May 15, 2007 04:24 PM

Uh, Buck-do you mind me asking, just exactly how PROFESSIONAL is it, to lie under oath before Congress? When you are the DAG-the Pointman (as AG Gonzales rightly points out, the nuts and bolts of the operation?) How PROFESSIONAL is it to blame a 32 year old no-nothing DOJ political appointee for your lies, when you are second in command at the DOJ?

Please, use the brontosaurus brain that God gave you, please!

Posted by: chiaramente | May 15, 2007 06:07 PM

I am puzzled. "Chiaramente" is sure that Mcnulty is the one at fault here, saying almost the opposite to most others. How so?And how did Mcnulty lie under oath?

Posted by: Jack | May 15, 2007 10:13 PM

I am amused at the loud protests from right wingers regarding the US Att'y firings. Can they honestly tell me that if the shoe was on the other foot, that is if this situation occured with a Democratic white house, the GOP wouldn't be doing the exact same thing? The GOP led congress had the FBI & an independent counsel investigate "Travelgate," which involved the firing of several travel agents. How can they then carp about investigating politicization of the DoJ?

Posted by: Shays | May 16, 2007 04:24 PM

I think an issue here is credibility. Dismissing prosecutors and lying about it.

That is almost as bad as using prosecutors for political means (which I would think needs to be proven as the adminstration has argued no laws were broken).

With pressure to get Ashcrofts
signature - were laws broken then? If White House signed off but justice didn't, did that make Security operations illegal and thus the White House was openly breaking the law?

Posted by: pensfans | May 17, 2007 03:02 PM


Congresss 3/15

Gonazales 3/15

Posted by: COHEN CAN'T SPELL | May 26, 2007 06:29 PM

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