Attorneygate Week Two

Week Two begins with a bang as Senator Patrick Leahy continues to be beautifully pissy and fed up with all the bullshit. Though Republicans saying that Karl Rove and Harriet Miers (and anyone else to whom the Senate Judiciary Committee wants to speak) should be allowed to testify privately, not under oath, Leahy is having none of it.

He said his committee would vote Thursday on whether to issue subpoenas for Mr. Rove as well as Harriet E. Miers, the former White House counsel, and William K. Kelley, the deputy White House counsel.

"I do not believe in this 'We'll have a private briefing for you where we'll tell you everything,' and they don't," Mr. Leahy said on "This Week" on ABC, adding: "I want testimony under oath. I am sick and tired of getting half-truths on this."
Right on.

Naturally, because he actually wants to get to the bottom of what really happened with the prosecutor purge (which, as Adam Cohen in the NYT points out, may have been against the law), Republicans are trying to dismiss the whole thing as partisan game-playing, with Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) going as far as to call it a "political witch hunt." If I didn't know the Republicans as I do, I'd think surely he had to be joking, considering that the administration is essentially using as their defense in this matter that they were just on a good, old-fashioned political witch hunt—as it's preferable to the criminal obstruction of justice the dismissals increasingly appear to be.

The U.S. attorney in San Diego notified the Justice Department of search warrants in a Republican bribery scandal last May 10, one day before the attorney general's chief of staff warned the White House of a "real problem" with her, a Democratic senator said yesterday.

The prosecutor, Carol S. Lam, was dismissed seven months later as part of an effort by the Justice Department and the White House to fire eight U.S. attorneys.

…Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said in a television appearance yesterday that Lam "sent a notice to the Justice Department saying that there would be two search warrants" in a criminal investigation of defense contractor Brent R. Wilkes and Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, who had just quit as the CIA's top administrator amid questions about his ties to disgraced former GOP congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham.

The next day, May 11, D. Kyle Sampson, then chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, sent an e-mail message to William Kelley in the White House counsel's office saying that Lam should be removed as quickly as possible, according to documents turned over to Congress last week.
Ouch. The Justice Department continues to insist that she was forced out because of complaints about her prosecution of immigration cases and that "there was no connection between Lam's firing and her public corruption investigations." Uh-huh. That sounds totally likely. Yes indeedy.

Meanwhile, Senator Chuck Schumer says on Meet the Press that there's evidence Gonzales lied under oath when he claimed "I would never, ever make a change in a United States attorney position for political reasons or if it would, in any way, jeopardize an ongoing serious investigation. I just would not do it." That certainly does seem to be what in legal parlance I believe is referred to as a big fat fucking lie.

And where is Bush in all this? Camp David.

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