Monday, July 2, 2007

Senator Leahy and the WH subpoenas

Sen. Leahy promised to fight the White House yesterday on Meet The Press (transcript):

The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman said Sunday he was ready to go to court if the White House resisted congressional subpoenas for information on the firing of federal prosecutors.
"If they don't cooperate, yes I'd go that far," said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. He was asked in a broadcast interview whether he would seek a congressional vote on contempt citations if President Bush did not comply. That move would push the matter to court.
"They've chosen confrontation rather than compromise or cooperation," Leahy said. "The bottom line on this U.S. attorneys' investigation is that we have people manipulating law enforcement. Law enforcement can't be partisan."
Amen to that! Also in motion are subpoenas issued to the WH and the OVP "for documents related to the administration's legal basis for conducting warrant-free eavesdropping on people in the United States."
Leahy and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., who heads the House Judiciary Committee, have demanded a White House explanation by July 9 as to its grounds for claiming executive privilege in refusing to turn over additional documents.
The two lawmakers say that regardless of whether the White House meets the deadline, they would begin acting to enforce the subpoenas as appropriate under the law.
To spurn the congressional subpoenas -- conveying a "Nixonian attitude" that the WH is above the law -- could mean the House and Senate would vote to bring contempt charges. If Leahy is as serious as I believe he is, and without full cooperation from the Bush Administration, he will press for contempt citations on the basis that executive privilege in this instance has no legal merit:
Over the years, Congress and the White House have avoided a full-blown court test. Under federal rules, lawmakers could vote to cite witnesses for contempt and refer the matter to the local U.S. attorney to bring before a grand jury. Since 1975, 10 senior administration officials have been cited, but the disputes were all resolved before getting to court.
Leahy proposed a reasonable solution to avoid a fight: WH officials can provide sworn testimony recorded into transcripts behind closed doors. However, the information would be made available to the public. That's how transparency in government works, something the secretive, deceptive, and criminal Bush-Cheney regime regularly and intentionally subverts.

Over in the Wingnutosphere at, Mark Kilmer on Sunday whined that Leahy's oversight efforts were "repeated public harassment" of the WH (Waah! Boo-hoo-hoo!) and added that Leahy is "doing this, he said, because the American people care a lot."

Yes, we do care a lot -- 68% of us wanted WH officials to answer "all questions" and thought Congress "should issue subpoenas to force White House officials to testify under oath." The Bushies have transformed the DOJ into the political partisan arm of the GOP using our tax dollars, an enterprise that's unethical and illegal. Back in mid-April, two thirds of Americans, including a narrow majority of Republicans, realized the USA firings were politically motivated. The public isn't fooled by Bushie WH shenanigans. And we're pissed.

Victor Gold, the former Deputy Press Secretary to Barry Goldwater, expressed his disgust over the current DOJ situation during an interview with Bill Moyers:
I think it's a corrupted justice department. When I say "corrupted," I don't mean dollars and cents. I mean corrupted in terms of... our constitutional values. And I think you've heard some of the prosecuting attorneys who were fired speak out and the-- some of the investigation-- the investigations bringing out exactly what's going on up there. And when you corrupt the justice system, the Justice Department, that's the most important department of government in terms of protecting our constitutional values. One of the reasons I wanted the Democrats to win [in November] was because I knew the yo-yo Republicans on the Hill were not going to investigate even [though] they-- we-- we claim we are the constitutionalists. We are the ones concerned about the Constitution. We want strict constructionist judges. We don't want ...overreaching federal government. The fact is... I knew there would be investigations. And I-- I-- I want these investigations to go on 'cause they weren't going on when the Republicans were in control of Congress.
Next question: When will Congress crank up Cheney's impeachment?

And regarding Bush... ITMFA!

UPDATE: Seriously, it's time to put impeachment back on the table. Are you listening, Madam Speaker?