Archive for the ‘Gonzo Watch’ Category

Bush Nominates Mukasey for AG

Monday, September 17th, 2007

I’m more than a little surprised that Bush backed down from a confirmation fight and chose Michael Mukasey over Ted Olson. Was Olson just a stalking horse, put out there to see how far Bush could go? Or is it possible that less partisan advisors have claimed his ear now that Rove is gone?

Barring some new revelation, this looks like an easy confirmation. The Justice Department is in desperate need of new leadership — well, any leadership. Gonzo was worse than useless, his deputy McNulty is gone, and Assistant AG Peter Keisler had already submitted his resignation when he agreed to stick around till the confirmation hearings are done.

I can’t say I’m thrilled that Mukasey currently serves as a judicial advisor to the Giuliani campaign. It makes me wonder if he shares Rudy’s fascist tendencies. Still, he looks to be better than the hyper-partisan Olson. We’ll see.

Yet Another Name In the AG Race

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

Just a few days ago, the New York Times was reporting that Ted Olson looked like the frontrunner to replace Alberto Gonzales. Now there’s a new contender in the mix: former federal judge Michael B. Mukasey. He’s apparently been on the list from the beginning, but he isn’t popular with some Republicans who are unhappy that Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) finds him acceptable. Schumer, evaluating Mukasey along with some other candidates, said they were “conservative Republicans, but they put the rule of law first.”

Oh, the horror! How on earth would we survive an Attorney General who places the rule of law above loyalty to the Republican party? Geez, haven’t these people noticed yet that putting partisanship first is a recipe for disaster?

Meanwhile, I’m wondering why Bush isn’t kicking, screaming, and digging in his heels for Olson. Could it be he actually took Harry Reid seriously when Reid said he’d block the nomination? The Gonzo replacement watch continues…

Olson Likely AG Nominee

Wednesday, September 12th, 2007

Does it surprise anyone that Bush is just about ready to appoint another highly partisan Attorney General? I can’t say I’m shocked. He doesn’t seem to learn much from experience. The Justice Department is in disarray, with empty management positions throughout. Monica Goodling, until recently in charge of hiring and firing, admitted to using illegal political litmus tests to choose candidates for career positions. Evidence of partisan influence has called into question a number of high-profile investigations and convictions. Bush has been urged to choose a moderate candidate, someone who can bring credibility back to the department.

So what does The Decider decide? The New York Times is reporting that he’s close to choosing Theodore Olson as Gonzales’ replacement. This is the same Theodore Olson who served on the American Spectator board during the halcyon 90′s when the magazine ran the Arkansas Project, an ongoing effort to dig up dirt in order to damage and unseat President Clinton. The same Olson who represented Bush before the Supreme Court in the 2000 election dispute.

Reports of Mr. Olson’s candidacy suggested that President Bush, in choosing the third attorney general of his presidency, might defy calls from Democrats and choose another Republican who is considered a staunch partisan to lead the Justice Department. Mr. Gonzales is departing after being repeatedly accused of allowing political loyalties to blind him to independently enforcing the law.

“Clearly if you made a list of consensus nominees, Olson wouldn’t appear on that list,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer, the New York Democrat who led the Judiciary Committee effort to remove Mr. Gonzales. “My hope is that the White House would seek some kind of candidate who would be broadly acceptable.”

I suppose there’s a miniscule chance that Sen. Schumer will get his wish. Administration officials say Bush hasn’t made a final decision yet. But given that they’re touting Olson’s name, I figure they’re at least testing the waters. And as usual they figure they can force the Democratic majority in Congress to accept Bush’s choice, no matter how questionable it may be.

Aides to Mr. Bush are calculating that Democrats, who spent months clamoring for Mr. Gonzales’s ouster, will pay a political price if they try to block confirmation of a new attorney general. The thinking inside the White House is that Democrats cannot call for new leadership at the Justice Department, then block it.

And am I the only one who fully expects Bush to counter opposition to Olson by trotting out the poor man’s wife, conservative commentator and professional Hillary hater Barbara Olson, who was killed in the 9/11 attacks? No? Didn’t think so.

Gonzo’s Gone-zo

Monday, August 27th, 2007

UPDATE: Gonzo just announced.  It was a very brief speech, but he did manage to squeeze in a reference to protecting the rights and civil liverties of our citizens.  I’m still laughing. 

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigned on Friday, with the official announcement expected shortly.  Loyal to the end, he fell on his sword rather than forcing Bush to fire him — or that’s probably what we’re supposed to think.

CNN says Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is the top contender to replace Gonzales, while MSNBC is speculating that it may be Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) or — what a concept! — someone in the Justice Department who actually has some experience and inside knowledge of the mess there.

Bush is scheduled to speak from Crawford later this morning.  I wonder if he plans to name his nominee today or just hold a love-fest with Fredo.

Another high-level Bush appointee gone.  It must be August.

Specter’s Response to Gonzales…

Thursday, August 2nd, 2007

came during this morning’s Judiciary Committee hearings (initial hearing coverage from TPM Muckraker here).  Specter’s opinion?  Gonzo skirted the edge of perjury but didn’t cross it.  He still thinks Gonzo should go.  I hope he isn’t holding his breath.

But “just because it’s not perjury,” Specter said, “doesn’t mean it’s the way that the highest ranking legal officer in the United States ought to respond to a Senate inquiry.” Specter went on to say that he thought that the conclusion of the committee’s investigation of the U.S. attorney firings would be to “end the tenure of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.” When that conclusion will come, however, no one knows.

Gonzales Letter Arrives; Leahy Is Not Impressed

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

Gonzo has turned in his homework assignment, but Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) is not impressed with it (text of the letter here).

“The attorney general’s legalistic explanation of his misleading testimony under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week is not what one should expect from the top law enforcement officer of the United States,” Leahy said in a statement after receiving Gonzales’ letter. “It is time for full candor to enforce the law and promote justice, rather than word parsing.”

Good luck with that, Pat.  I think Gonzo lost the ability to distinguish between truth and Bushco spin years ago.  Bush won’t fire him, so it’s up to Congress now.  Impeach his ass.

Gonzo’s Homework Assignment Isn’t Finished

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

Arlen Specter says he still hasn’t received a promised letter from Gonzales that was to answer questions about the AG’s testimony.  I wonder if he’ll take off points for the late work.

No Word on Gonzo

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

UPDATE:  MSNBC just reported that the White House is now saying the letter is coming from the Justice Department.  No wonder it’s not done yet. 

The White House is about four hours past the noon (ET) deadline set by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) to provide a letter “clarifying” Alberto Gonzales’ testimony to Congress.  Hmmm.  Could Gonzo be preparing to resign?  Is Bush planning to replace him with a recess appointment?  (I just heard John Dean on the radio saying he didn’t see that happening because of the backlash from the Senate, but since when has W cared about that?)  Or maybe Bush is planning to thumb his nose at anyone who questions him, even if that person is a Republican.

Well, in the real world, Specter’s a Republican.  In Faux News Land, he’s a Democrat.  Maybe Bush is counting on Brit Hume and co. to maintain the confusion.  It wouldn’t be the first time.

White House To Address Gonzo’s Testimony

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

UPDATE: It’ll be a while longer.  Takes time to obfuscate properly. 

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) says he and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) expect a letter from the White House around noon today that will address, um, inconsistencies in AG Alberto Gonzales’ testimony to Congress.  It’s hard to say which way this will go — Specter bluntly questioned Gonzales’ honesty during last week’s hearings but then criticized Democrats who asked for an independent perjury investigation.  Sounds like he can’t quite decide where he stands.

OTOH, there’s no question re: the Dark Vice-Lord’s opinion:

“I’m a big fan of Al’s,” Cheney said in the radio interview. “. . . I think Al has done a good job under difficult circumstances. The debate between he [sic] and the Senate is something they’re going to have to resolve. But I think he has testified truthfully.”

Cheney said he does not agree with lawmakers, including Sens. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), who say that Gonzales’s credibility has been gravely damaged. “I think the key is whether or not he has the confidence of the president, and he clearly does,” Cheney said.

There you have it:  W has confidence in Gonzo.  Confidence in his ability, and willingness, to twist the truth in order to protect his boss.  And Gonzo will stay in the AG’s office until and unless Karl Rove decides he’s too big a liability — and figures out a way to ensure his silence.

Senate Democrats Ask for Special Prosecutor

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

Four Senate Democrats have formally requested that Solicitor General Paul Clement appoint a special prosecutor to determine whether AG Alberto Gonzales perjured himself in testimony before the Senate.

“It has become apparent that the attorney general has provided at a minimum half-truths and misleading statements,” four members of the Senate Judiciary Committee wrote in a letter to Solictor General Paul Clement.

They asked Clement to immediately appoint an indepedent counsel from outside the Justice Department to determine whether Gonzales “may have misled Congress or perjured himself in testimony before Congress.”

…Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont, in a separate letter Thursday to Gonzales, said he would give the attorney general eight days to correct, clarify or otherwise change his testimony “so that, consistent with your oath, they are the whole truth.”

And it’s not just Democrats:

Two former Republican chairmen joined Democrats in recent days in suggesting that the questions surrounding Gonzales be resolved by those outside the process.

Sen. Arlen Specter, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee and former chairman, on Tuesday told Gonzales during his appearance before the panel that a special prosecutor might be needed.

“I do not find your testimony credible, candidly,” Specter told Gonzales.

Specter’s counterpart on the House side, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., suggested that the House file a civil suit against the administration’s executive privilege claim.

Specter tried to address the mess with Bush this morning, but it did no good.  Bush is going to stand by his man, even if Gonzo destroys what’s left of the Justice Department.

“The hearing two days ago was devastating (for Gonzales). But so was the hearing before that and so was the hearing before that,” Specter said.