Monday, March 19, 2007

Attorney purge scandal - payback's a bitch

I never thought this story would survive three news cycles but here we are a couple of weeks later and new and interesting wrinkles just keep coming up. In today's revelation, an email exchange within the White House lends creedence to the theory it's politically motivated. San Diego US Attorney Carol Lam was slated for termination one day after informing Justice that she was issuing subpoenas in a GOP corruption case that led to the resignation of the CIA's top administrator, Kyle Foggo.
...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.

"Please call me at your convenience to discuss the following," Sampson wrote, referring to "[t]he real problem we have right now with Carol Lam that leads me to conclude that we should have someone ready to be nominated on 11/18, the day her 4-year term expires."
Unsurprisingly, Justice is denying that this proves political considerations in her firing.
A Justice spokesman yesterday referred questions about the meaning of the "real problem" e-mail to Sampson's attorney, Bradford Berenson, who declined to comment.

"We have stated numerous times that no U.S. attorney was removed to retaliate against or inappropriately interfere with any public corruption investigation or prosecution," Justice spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said in a statement. "This remains the case, and there is no evidence that indicates otherwise."
I'd say until they define the "real problem" and explain the glaringly obvious timing of the email, it's enough circumstantial evidence to make a supposition on intent.

Even better, as Rove's name keeps cropping up in these emails, the Senate is determined to get him before the committee.
On Sunday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said he intends to force President Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove, to testify and will insist that the testimony be under oath. Leahy, who appeared on ABC's "This Week," said he is "sick and tired" of the administration's changing rationale for the firings.
Wouldn't it be funny if this is scandal that finally takes down Rove's political career? Contrary to David Broder's irritating little whining screed, this is the reason we elected Democrats. It's all about the oversight and it's not just the wild-eyed leftists as the Bush loyalists would have you believe. Most of America is tired of the reckless disregard for democracy that the administration has consistently displayed.

These miscreants in the White House have had it their way for six years and have skated every time their arrogant disdain for the rule of law has been exposed. Maybe they figured they could get away with anything, forever. Let's hope that this is the time their hubris will be the final straw that galvanizes the American people into saying - enough.

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