Wednesday, March 21

The Subpoenas are coming - the Subpoenas are Coming!

Rejecting the ridiculous "we'll talk to Congress, but only on super-double-secret-background" offer from the White House, the House has voted to issue subpoenas for the testimony of Harriet Miers and Karl Rove.
A House panel on Wednesday approved subpoenas for
President Bush's political adviser, Karl Rove and other top White House aides, setting up a constitutional showdown over the firings of eight federal prosecutors.
Naturally White House spokesman Tony Snow thought it was a great idea, and warned that the President shouldn't try to resist the Congressional probe.

Evidently, [The President] wants to shield virtually any communications that take place within the White House compound on the theory that all such talk contributes in some way, shape or form to the continuing success and harmony of an administration. Taken to its logical extreme, that position would make it impossible for citizens to hold a chief executive accountable for anything. He would have a constitutional right to cover up.

Chances are that the courts will hurl such a claim out, but it will take time.

Opps, I'm sorry - that was Tony Snow talking about President Clinton way back in the 90's - this is what he has to say about his current bosses pugnatious posture of fighting the subpoenas of Rove and Miers.

I asked whether the president was perhaps overly confrontational at this stage of the game. “I don’t think it’s confrontational,” Snow said. “We feel pretty comfortable with the constitutional argument.”

The White House, Snow said, is determined to avoid “hearings or the trappings of hearings” when White House officials talk to Congress. “They’re looking for hands up, cameras on,” Snow said of Democrats. “They’re talking about a show trial.”

This view was a follow up on these previous comments by varous members of the WH Staff including Snow.

White House Press Secretary Tony Snow: Well, as you know, Ed, it has been traditional in all White Houses not to have staffers testify on Capitol Hill. [3/13/07]

White House Counselor Dan Bartlett: I find it highly unlikely that a member of the White House staff would testify publicly to these matters. [3/13/07]

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH): No, I think you’re violating a precedent there that should not be violated. … I believe that under the separation of powers, there are limits to the extent to which Congress can subpoena or demand testimony from those who were closest to the president. [3/15/07]

Here's what Bush himself had to say about it.
“We will not go along with a partisan fishing expedition aimed at honorable public servants. The initial response by Democrats unfortunately shows some appear more interested in scoring political points than in learning the facts. It will be regrettable if they choose to head down the partisan road of issuing subpoenas and demanding show trials. And I have agreed to make key White House officials and documents available. I proposed a reasonable way to avoid an impasse, and I hope they don’t choose confrontation. I will oppose any attempts to subpoena White House officials.”
Might not such a threat to "make key White House documents unavailable" be tantamount both to obstuction of justice and contempt of congress?

Oddly enough it seems that when confronted with multiple series of bogus scandals from issues regarding the fanclub for Socks the Cat, and whether or not the Clinton's had used their Christmas Card list to solicit campaign donations - in point of fact - the Clinton Whitehouse never refused to offer Congressional testimony by any member of it's senior staff.

From Thinkprogress.
According to the Congressional Research Service, under President Clinton, 31 of his top aides testified on 47 different occasions. The aides who testified included some of Clinton’s closest advisors:

Harold Ickes, Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff - 7/28/94

George Stephanopoulos, Senior Adviser to the President for Policy and Strategy - 8/4/94

John Podesta, Assistant to the President and Staff Secretary - 8/5/94

Bruce R. Lindsey, Assistant to the President and Deputy Counsel to the President - 1/16/96

Samuel Berger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs - 9/11/97

Beth Nolan, Counsel to the President - 5/4/00

In contrast, between 2000 and 2004, Bush allowed only one of his closest advisers, then-Assistant to the President for Homeland Security Tom Ridge, to appear in front of Congress. He has also refused three invitations from Congress for his aides to testify, a first since President Richard Nixon in 1972. Clinton did not refuse any.

When we're dealing with a situation where it appears the White House may have attempted to turn the Justice Dept into it's personal political gestapo - targeting Democrats in tight races while giving Republicans with ethics and criminal issues a pass, while allowing campaign donors to dictate criminal policy - we have a situation which is far more eggregious than who spent the night in the Lincoln Bedroom, paid for the Socks the Cat fanclub, or whether Vice President Gore made campaign calls using the wrong telephone.

The fact that all the Purged Prosecutors were loyal Republicans and after the Senate voted 94-2 to reverse the Patriot Act loophole which allowed the Bushies to pull this hat trick in the first place, the likelyhood that anyone can take the claim that this is a "Partisan Witchhunt" is somewhere been slim and less than nill.

I for one, am glad it looks like Bush will do the stupid thing - yet again - and not only dig in his heels to carve a moat around Gonzales (eventually forcing his Impeachment), but also try to defy the will of Congress and take this issue to the Supreme Court.

Where, me thinks, he'll lose and lose badly.

The more he tries to stick his fingers into this leaking boat - the faster the water rises. This Prez, IMO is headed for the Big Fall. That's right Regime Change ™, and the sad thing is he'll never see it coming.


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