Friday, March 30, 2007

The Good Soldier

The testimony of Kyle Sampson on Tuesday was reported not to be a "smoking gun" in the US Attorney purge scandal, but it was hardly benign.

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post reports, it looks as if Sampson was willing to fall on his sword, but after over seven hours of testimony, there were a few things that he couldn't be responsible for, even if he did try to take the blame.
Sampson admitted that Carol Lam, the prosecutor who nailed
Randall Duke Cunningham, was never told of the Justice Department's disaffection with her performance on immigration prosecutions, the reason they claim she was fired.

He did say he "didn't remember" 122 times to different questions. Let me repeat that: ONE HUNDRED TWENTY TWO TIMES.

The hearing's strange procedural error also made it look like the Republicans were trying to stop the hearing, which they have the right to do under Senate rules. And as
Think Progress reports, it seems they were objecting to having the hearing last for more than two hours, but after realizing how bad it looked to stop the procedure altogether, they quickly changed their minds and continued with the testimony.

Here's Chairman Sen. Leahy's statement regarding the "error": "Somebody here just asked me if this all could have just been all an accident, that we had this lack of concurrence by the Republicans to go forward. I grew up in a faith that believes in miracles, and it’s conceivable as an accident, I’ve been here 33 years and I’ve never seen it happen before. So maybe it was, but I suspect it was not.”

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Sampson Testifies

Karl Sampson, former Chief of Staff for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, testified today before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Here is his opening statement courtesy of

Now, remember that Gonzo earlier stated that he was not involved "in the deliberations over whether or not United States Attorneys should resign... and that he had Kyle Sampson "coordinate a performance review of the Dept. of US Attorneys."

Well Kyle Sampson said this: “I don’t think the attorney general’s statement that he was not involved in any discussions about U.S. attorney removals is accurate... I think he’s recently clarified it. But I remember discussing with him this process of asking certain U.S. attorneys to resign, and I believe that he was present at the meeting on Nov. 27.”

The one constant phrase that's been used over and over again is that these US Attorneys were not fired for "improper reasons". Well how about we cut to the chase and they just let us know why they were fired? If the reasons were not improper and weren't performance related, then just let us know why. But they can't tell us - because the reasons were improper. They were politically motivated for something as simple as having a crony fill the vacancy, to something as tragic as anticipating the 2008 elections and perpetrate voter fraud and begin frivolous investigations against certain candidates to instigate voter doubt and begin smear campaigns against Democrats running for election.

And the truly terrifying part of this whole fiasco is that if these eight fired attorneys were forced to resign because they did not play ball, think about how many kept their jobs because they did play along and what they might have done!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Gonzo Must Go!

What in the world is happening here?!

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who previously stated that he "was not involved in any discussions" regarding the firings of US Federal Attorneys, did just that. "Documents released on Friday [March 23] showed Gonzales attended a November 27 meeting to discuss a plan to remove the U.S. attorneys, who were fired 10 days later."

Of course, Chimpy reaffirmed his support for Gonzo, which doesn't bode well if you care to remember The Decider's support of Donald Rumsfeld.

Then Gonzo went on NBC to try and set the record straight when he said this:

GONZALES: "Let me try to be more precise about my involvement. When I said on March 13th that I wasn't involved, what I meant was that I had not been involved - was not involved - in the deliberations over whether or not United States Attorneys should resign... I had Kyle Sampson coordinate a performance review of the Dept. of US Attorneys... I was never focused on specific concerns about the US Attorneys as to whether or not they should be asked to resign... I depended on the people who knew about how these US Attorneys were performing... "

PETE WILLIAMS: "Given that, then how can you be certain that none of these US Attorneys were not put on the list for improper reasons?"

AG: "What I can say is this: I know the reason why I asked these US Attorneys to leave. And it was not for improper reasons... but just to be sure, I have asked for an internal review by the Office of Professional Responsibility working with the office of the Inspector General and of course the Congress is going to be doing it's own review because I want to know as well, if in fact there were improper reasons, we should know about it and there will be accountability."

WHAT?! So he knows the reason he fired the attorneys and it was NOT improper, but he's having reviews done to find out if it WAS improper. This guy is either completely incompetent or trying to wriggle out of a legal straight jacket. Here's more!

PW: "To put this question another way, if you didn't review their performance during this process then how can you be certain that they were fired for performance reasons?"

AG: "I -I - I've given - I've given the answer to the question, Pete. I know the reasons why I made the decision. Again, there's nothing in the documents to support the allegation that there was anything improper here..."

So now Sampson is being set up as the fall guy. Or perhaps it could be Monica Goodling, Gonzales' senior counsel and White House liaison, who "will refuse to answer questions at upcoming Senate hearings, citing Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination."

Well that doesn't sound good. Is she looking for immunity to then testify? The potential for taking the blame for the department's bungled response "is very real," [her attorney John]Dowd said. "One need look no further than the recent circumstances and proceedings involving Lewis Libby," he said, a reference to the recent conviction of Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff in the CIA leak case.

Watch the Gonzo/NBC Interview here.

Tony Snow Has Cancer

CNN has just announced that Tony Snow, while undergoing surgery to remove a mass in his abdomen, was discovered to have cancer in his liver. Snow is a cancer survivor having overcome colon cancer two years ago.
Of course, we wish him well. Why would anyone of any party affiliation hope for anything other than a full recovery? I can't imagine that happening. Right? RIGHT?! ... Right?

Rush Limbaugh: "[M]ost people, when told a family member's been diagnosed with the kind of cancer Elizabeth Edwards has, they turn to God. The Edwards turned to the campaign. Their religion is politics and the quest for the White House."..."If you're [Sen.] Barack Obama [D-IL] or [Sen.] Hillary Clinton [D-NY], how do you now attack John Edwards?" Limbaugh added: "Not a problem for Hillary, the Clinton [inaudible] will find a way. But Barack, it's going to be a challenge."

Katie Couric: "Your decision to stay in this race has been analyzed, and quite frankly judged by a lot of people. And some say, what you're doing is courageous, others say it's callous. Some say, 'Isn't it wonderful they care for something greater than themselves?' And others say, 'It's a case of insatiable ambition.' ...Some people watching this would say, 'I would put my family first always, and my job second.' And you're doing the exact opposite. You're putting your work first, and your family second."

Well, some would say that this is a Karl Rove political move to steer the building media frenzy away from the Attorney firings scandal. Some would say that this is what happens when you make a deal with the Devil. Some would say that Snow's inner demons finally got the best of him as he continued to get up in front of the White House press corps day after day to defend the lying sons-of-bitches. After all, the mounting pressure and bile building up in his gut must have had some ill effect on his health over the course of the last year or so.

Some would say things like that. Not me. I hope he recovers.