Wednesday, March 21, 2007

White House wants to avoid truth with bogus offer

The New York Times points out the obvious flaws in Bush's "unprecendented" offer to make his key staff available - but only for effectively secret testimony.

Congress has the right and the duty to fully investigate the firings, which may have been illegal, and Justice Department officials’ statements to Congress, which may have been untrue. It needs to question Karl Rove, Mr. Bush’s chief political adviser, Harriet Miers, the former White House counsel, and other top officials.

It is hard to imagine what, besides evading responsibility, the White House had in mind. Why would anyone refuse to take an oath on a matter like this, unless he were not fully committed to telling the truth? And why would Congress accept that idea, especially in an investigation that has already been marked by repeated false and misleading statements from administration officials?

Indeed. Who does Bush think he's fooling? He also wants to prevent the committee from reviewing internal emails from within the White House and claims if the Senate doesn't accept this "fair offer" and issues subpoenas, he will consider it a partisan challenge that leaves him no choice but effectively declare a war on Congressional oversight and refuse to make the staff available at all, while he ties up the request with a legal challenge clearly designed to set a precedent for invoking executive privilege in any future investigations of White House malfeasance. As the NYT points out, the pattern of misconduct in this White House is longstanding and apparent.

It is no great surprise that top officials of this administration believe they do not need to testify before Congress. This is an administration that has shown over and over that it does not believe that the laws apply to it, and that it does not respect its co-equal branches of government. Congress should subpoena Mr. Rove and the others, and question them under oath, in public. If Congress has more questions, they should be recalled.

Mr. Bush would do well to remember that he works for us and I don't recall the American people voting to give him any kind of privilege - executive or otherwise - to avoid answering to us through our duly elected representatives about his or his staff's conduct. If answering questions under oath would unduly impair his staff's ability to offer "candid" advice, then one might infer the advice is not only bad advice, but also suggests it may well be illegal.

In any event, since we are paying their salaries, we have the right to get the answers on the public record and that means under oath and with a verifiable transcript. That's not partisan politics - that's the system of checks and balances that every other administration has complied with in the long history of our government.

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Blogger Daniel DiRito said...

18 day gap? Nixon redux? People of this ilk never learn.

Defining George Bush: board.

See a tongue-in-cheek visual of George Bush once again beating his head with a he searches for the Holy

5:14:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I love these graphics daniel.

10:04:00 AM  

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