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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The imperial presidency

It's as if the robbery suspect tells the cops they can only ask him about what he had for breakfast -- and then only if the cops promise not to keep him locked up.

The sorry story dripping out of Washington these days is much more sobering that drapes and Cadillacs. The Attorney General of the United States, either under the direction of the President of the United States or with his acquiescence, fired eight United States Attorneys -- two of who were investigating wrongdoing by prominent Republicans.

And in the face of those facts, George W. Bush is telling Congress they can interview key people in this constitutional scandal -- but not under oath and without making transcripts.

Just what is W. hiding?

We've learned in the last few days that San Diego U.S. Attorney Diane Lam had displeased the powers that be in DC by prosecuting former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham for taking more than $2 million in bribes from defense contractors -- and then going after the well-connected bribers.

More ominously, we also learned the Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor who nabbed Scooter Libby was on the hit list -- until cooler heads, perhaps recalling the Saturday Night Massacre -- prevailed.

Fitzgerald was targeted, according to released e-mails, because he ranked below "strong U.S. Attorneys . . . who exhibited loyalty" to the administration but above "weak U.S. Attorneys who . . . chafed against Administration initiatives, etc."

With Attorney General Alberto Gonzales playing Sergeant Schultz while conceding "mistakes were made" we've also seen fingers pointed at the hapless Harriet Miers and the venal Karl Rove (you know the guy who dodged the Libby bullet).

After six years of supine Congress (which of course followed eight years and $73 million to investigate oral sex and unproven allegations) W apparently believes he still has what it takes to stonewall. Whether he does will be telling.

The Prevaricator-in-Chief, sounding as if he thought he was still at 90 percent in the polls, has told Senate investigators they can interviews Miers and Rove, but only his terms: no oaths and no transcripts. In other words, no record that could be used against them in a court of law not directed by a Bush appointee.
"It will be regrettable if they choose to head down the partisan road of issuing subpoenas and demanding show trials when I have agreed to make key White House officials and documents available."
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (you know the guy Darth Cheney told to do a physically impossible thing) wisely isn't buying.
“I don’t accept his offer. It is not constructive, and it is not helpful to be telling the Senate how to do our investigation or to prejudge its outcome.”
The Bush Administration will go down in history right along side the Nixon White House for abuse of power, lying and misrepresentation. The only difference, so far, is this abuse of executive privilege, has not led to impeachment. I guess lying about sex is the only thing that reaches that level.

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