On March 13. I rashly predicted Gonzales wouldn't last two weeks. Then Bush had his petulant press conference, made his crazy proposal for the Senate to invite Rove and Miers to lie to them, and gave Gonzales a new lease on life.
But leases on life may have a short half-life. Although I'm starting to suspect I was a little optimistic, you have to wonder how Gonzales can survive revalations that contrary to his earlier statements Gonzales was in fact much more involved in discussions about firing the US Attorneys than he admitted:
Documents Show Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Approved Firings of Several U.S. Attorneys
WASHINGTON – Attorney General Alberto Gonzales approved plans to fire several U.S. attorneys in a November meeting, according to documents released Friday that contradict earlier claims that he was not closely involved in the dismissals.
The Nov. 27 meeting, in which the attorney general and at least five top Justice Department officials participated, focused on a five-step plan for carrying out the firings of the prosecutors, Justice Department officials said late Friday.
There, Gonzales signed off on the plan, which was crafted by his chief of staff, Kyle Sampson. Sampson resigned last week amid a political firestorm surrounding the firings.
The documents indicated that the hour-long morning discussion, held in the attorney general's conference room, was the only time Gonzales met with top aides who decided which prosecutors to fire and how to do it.
Justice spokeswoman Tasia Scolinos said it was not immediately clear whether Gonzales gave his final approval to begin the firings at that meeting. Scolinos also said Gonzales was not involved in the process of selecting which prosecutors would be asked to resign.
On March 13, in explaining the firings, Gonzales told reporters he was aware that some of the dismissals were being discussed but was not involved in them.
Even if the Attorney General lacked the requisite intent to in fact be guilty of a criminal act when he approved the results of a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, he has by his series of prevarications achieved negative credibility with Congress, with the press, and now with the nation.
Alberto Gonzales must go. Swiftly.
“[T]he Attorney General … has by his series of prevarications achieved negative credibility with Congress, with the press, and now with the nation. “
A Bush administration trifecta.
The point now is not to get rid of Gonzalez. He is toast.
The point is to maximize the number of his accomplices that he drags down with him.
The purge was performed to block investigations into Republicans. Those investigations need to be continued by a special prosecutor. We need to know why MZM, a company with no history of government contracting received a $140,000 contract from the Vice President’s office a week before paying $140,000 to buy a boat for Duke Cunningham.
We need to know how the prosecutor who was investigating Abramoff in the Marianas was taken off the case. Abramoff himself boasted that Rove blocked the investigation. That is called perverting the course of justice and is a crime.
And so much the better if they manage to run out the clock on the administration. Thats also running out the clock on the pardon power. The Bush administration is effectively over already, he has no more political capital to lose.
I guess Bush might issue a blanket pardon for all the senior members of his administration after the 2008 election. But that would amount to an admission that the claims were true. And these guys are living in denial. They think that this is merely political and that it will stop when they leave office. They don’t understand that it is a criminal matter and they are very likely to face criminal prosecution.
Why must Gonzales go now? Wasn’t there something about twisting slowly in the wind? Let him stew in his own juices.
We’re forgetting that under the unitary executive theory, the executive is not answerable to Congress, the press, or the nation anymore than Bush must answer to his dog. For Bush to throw Gonzales under the bus now, after having said flat-out that Congress cannot tell him what to do, would be a catastrophic and unrecoverable defeat for the theory. And dangerous to him personally. Especially since, as Phill noted, there is a hell of a lot of criminality that would come to light if the President is compelled to cooperate with Congress in investigations.
As some have noted, we may be coming to the endgame. At stake is whether we are to rewind the clock back to 30BC and resurrect the Roman Principate as our system of government, with the legislative branch existing as no more than a social club for the rich.
Apologies for the March Madness metaphor but it seems to me that the administration is just playing to run out the clock. It’s ok with them if Gonzales twists in the wind as long as he does so very, very slowly.
They’re banking on our national attention deficit and want the issue to develop so that, when they finally do cut Gonzales down, the reaction will be “Well, that’s over–now let’s catch up on the latest missing white girl and this story about Obama’s manicures.”
To switch metaphors, Gonzales is no longer a character in this drama–he’s part of the scenery now. The antagonist is now Rove/Cheney/Bush.