Something Is Up

Over the weekend of March 25-26, while the nation was consumed with that college basketball stuff, the annual March Madness (although Andy Borowitz offers a slightly different take on that), it became clear that something was snowballing. March snow can be dangerous – heavy and unstable.  You sometimes get avalanches.  And there seems to be a political avalanche underway.

 

Only political junkies watch the Sunday morning talk shows – Face the Nation and This Week in Washington and all that.  But not to worry, the New York Times conveniently summarizes the big issues that morning

 

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales faced a weakening of Congressional support over the weekend, as Republican lawmakers joined Democrats in questioning his credibility….Not one of nine senators of both parties appearing on television news programs today offered unqualified support. Even Mr. Gonzales’s strongest defenders, like Senator Orrin G. Hatch, a conservative Republican of Utah, expressed doubts about the Justice Department’s handling of the matter, even while saying the attorney general deserved a full hearing.

 

Kevin Drum dryly comments

 

This isn’t a surprise. Scandals have a certain rhythm, and in this one it’s pretty clear that there’s more – maybe much more – to come. These guys have been around Washington long enough to sense that another shoe is almost certain to drop, and when it does they don’t want to be caught looking like an idiot still defending Gonzales.

 

Republicans abandoning the president?  How odd.  But they learned their lesson, defending Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld in all they said in last fall’s midterm campaigning, following the president’s lead, only to watch him dismiss Rumsfeld the day after the election in which the Republicans lost both the House and Senate.  Many of them had the thought that if the dismissal had happened before the election things might have turned out differently – they could have said, see, we listen and make changes and know when something is not working and we just fix it, unlike those hapless Democrats who don’t really deserve your vote.  Many felt burned.

 

Now they are told to stick with Gonzales – but who knows what will happen there? No point in taking another chance.

 

Adam Cohen in the next day’s New York Times explained what they face here

 

The Bush administration has done a terrible job of explaining its decision to fire eight United States attorneys. Story after story has proved to be untrue: that the prosecutors who were fired were poor performers; that the White House was not involved in the purge. But the administration has been strangely successful in pushing its message that the scandal is at worst a political misdeed, not a criminal matter.

 

It is true, as the White House keeps saying, that United States attorneys serve “at the pleasure of the president,” which means he can dismiss them whenever he wants. But if the attorneys were fired to interfere with a valid prosecution, or to punish them for not misusing their offices, that may well have been illegal.

 

1. Misrepresentations to Congress.

2. Calling the Prosecutors.

3. Witness Tampering.

4. Firing the Attorneys. 

 

Feel free to read the rest – but it will cost you five bucks, as the Times protects its contents carefully, not wanting it broadly disseminated without being compensated handsomely.  But you get the idea. There really could be possible trouble here.

 

And the signs were not good later in the day.  The White House Press Secretary, Tony Snow had insisted the previous week that there was no reason for anyone to think that Congress would get anything but the whole truth about this “prosecutor purge” – and the administration’s “generous offer” that congress could talk to anyone they liked, as long is was not under oath, and was private, and there was no transcript of any of it, was really a great deal. Now Snow is out for four to six weeks for major surgery and the White House, without its charming “nice guy” spokesman, is saying this is the only deal – take it or leave it, and if you issue subpoenas, we’ll not respond and fight those all the way to the Supreme Court. That is pretty much is saying that, as they see it, no one can force government advisors to swear to tell the truth, or make them speak the truth in public session, or even kept a record of what they said was the truth in private. When you fight for a principle, this one may not be the one that is a winner with the public. Take apart that word subpoena – “sub” (under) “poena” (pain). Congress would like to inflect some pain, and the White House would like to avoid pain.

 

Then the bombshell – on the snowball that may have started an avalanche – the Justice Department’s Monica Goodling, Alberto Gonzales’ senior counsel and liaison to the White House, will invoke her Fifth Amendment privilege to refuse to answer questions put to her by the Senate.  Her attorney, John Dowd, is no dummy – “The potential for legal jeopardy for Ms. Goodling from even her most truthful and accurate testimony under these circumstances is very real”

 

So what is the problem if this Goodling woman were just to go in and tell the truth? His answer – “One need look no further than the recent circumstances and proceedings involving Lewis Libby.”

 

Wait.  Libby screwed up, but not because he was telling the truth. He lied – repeatedly and under oath – about what he knew and what he said about that undercover agent. The jury found that was a matter of fact.  Something is wrong here, on the level of basic logic. If (1) the White House is right that no crimes were committed in this prosecutor thing (happens all the time, no big deal), and (2) if Goodling would just tell the truth while testifying, then (3) what possible reason could she have for refusing to do so? Use your imagination. Everyone else is.

 

And the man who actually revealed the spy’s identity in the national media, and ruined both her career and the operation she ran to find out who in the Middle East was actually trying to get nuclear weapons, Robert Novak, tapped his inside sources again – but this time on the Gonzales matter –

 

“Gonzales never has developed a base of support for himself up here,” a House Republican leader told me. But this is less a Gonzales problem than a Bush problem. With nearly two years remaining in his presidency, George W. Bush is alone. In half a century, I have not seen a president so isolated from his own party in Congress – not Jimmy Carter, not even Richard Nixon as he faced impeachment.

 

…The word most often used by Republicans to describe the management of the Justice Department under Gonzales is “incompetent.”

 

….The I-word (incompetence) is also used by Republicans in describing the Bush administration generally.

 

… A few Republicans blame incessant attacks from the new Democratic majority in Congress for that image. Many more say today’s problems in the administration derive from the continuing impact of yesterday’s mistakes. The answer that is not entertained by the president’s most severe GOP critics, even when not speaking for quotation, is that this is just the governing style of George W. Bush and will not change while he is in the Oval Office.

 

Well, the man really does know what’s going on, on the inside – “In half a century, I have not seen a president so isolated from his own party in Congress – not Jimmy Carter, not even Richard Nixon as he faced impeachment.”

 

Kevin Drum comments again – “Novak is right: the deficiencies of the Bush governing style are legion, but when all’s said and done I think that the very first critique from the very first administration apostate is going to turn out to be the one that nailed the Bush presidency’s core problem.”

 

And he offers a passage from one of the men who quit the administration in disgust, John DiIulio

 

In eight months, I heard many, many staff discussions, but not three meaningful, substantive policy discussions. There were no actual policy white papers on domestic issues. There were, truth be told, only a couple of people in the West Wing who worried at all about policy substance and analysis.

 

… On social policy and related issues, the lack of even basic policy knowledge, and the only casual interest in knowing more, was somewhat breathtaking – discussions by fairly senior people who meant Medicaid but were talking Medicare; near-instant shifts from discussing any actual policy pros and cons to discussing political communications, media strategy, et cetera. Even quite junior staff would sometimes hear quite senior staff pooh-pooh any need to dig deeper for pertinent information on a given issue.

 

Drum –

 

George Bush and his team practically ooze contempt for the naive conceit that policy analysis is a serious business. That makes competent governance impossible — and as Novak says, that’s not going to change until we have a new occupant in the Oval Office. Until then, keep your seatbelts fastened.

 

Something is up, as Dan Froomkin writes in the Washington Post –

 

It’s no secret in Washington that Gonzales is not an autonomous player. His entire career has been as an enabler of George Bush. He does what he’s told.

 

… It’s not as obvious who has been his minder since he became attorney general two years ago. But presumably either he or, more to the point, the staffers who write his speeches and draw up his talking points still get their marching orders directly from the West Wing.

And now, with his central talking point exposed as clumsy dishonesty, it’s clear that whoever prepped Gonzales and sent him out to face the media was more focused on White House interests than on telling the truth.

 

Josh Marshall reinforces that

 

This isn’t a case where Alberto Gonzales has fallen short of the president’s standards or bungled some process. This is the standard. The Attorney General has done and is doing precisely what is expected of him.

 

… None of this is about Alberto Gonzales. This is about the president and the White House, which is where this entire plan was hatched. Gonzales was just following orders, executing the president’s plans. This is about this president and this White House, which … let’s be honest, everyone on both sides of the aisle already knows.

 

The avalanche is underway, perhaps.

 

In even involves minor stuff, like the news that Karl Rove sends ninety-five percent of his emails through a Republican National Committee accountLaura Rozen wonders about the security implications, but our Hollywood congressman, Henry Waxman, is suggesting this may be a sneaky way around the law that says the White House must keep records of correspondence, and he wants to make sure all the emails aren’t erased – as they are official business and he might want to subpoena them. The Republican National Committee doesn’t fall under the law, but he suggested they might not want to wipe their server hard drives right now. How odd.

 

And there is the major stuff.  That weekend the president’s weekly radio address was all about how he was sticking with Alberto Gonzales no matter what anyone said, and he attacked Democrats for trying to interfere with his war in Iraq, as usual.  Republican Senator Chuck Hagel was not impressed. He actually brought up the issue of impeachment in his appearance on ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos.  He said he didn’t think much of the current “surge” – escalation, augmentation, reinforcement or whatever – in Iraq.  And then we got this –

 

Stephanopoulos: It is clear to me that you are angry about this, and you also gave an interview to Esquire magazine this month, the April edition of Esquire magazine, where you were quoted as saying, “The president says, ‘I don’t care.’ He’s not accountable anymore. He’s not accountable anymore, which isn’t totally true. You can impeach him. And before this is over, you might see calls for his impeachment.”

 

Hagel: Well, any president who says, ‘I don’t care,’ or ‘I will not respond to what the people of this country are saying about Iraq or anything else,’ or ‘I don’t care what the Congress does, I am going to proceed’ – if a president really believes that, then there are – what I was pointing out, there are ways to deal with that. This is not a monarchy.

 

Stephanopoulos: And you think that would be appropriate in this case?

 

Hagel: I’m sorry?

 

Stephanopoulos: You think that would be appropriate in this case?

 

Hagel: I didn’t say that, I didn’t call for it, I didn’t predict it. What I was saying, I was laying out options here. No president can dictate to this country, nor should he. This is a constitutional form of government. We have three equal branches of government. No president is bigger than the other two. There are three co-equal branches of government. Article I of the Constitution is not the presidency; it’s the Congress. So what I was pointing out, George, is that there are ways to deal with it. And I would hope the president understands that. I mean, his comments this weekend, yesterday in his radio address, were astounding to me. Saying to the Congress, in effect, you don’t belong in this, I’m in charge of Iraq.

 

Stephanopoulos: You’re talking about the U.S. attorney controversy.

 

Hagel: No, I’m talking about what he was referring to specifically in his radio address, about what the House of Representatives did on Friday.

Stephanopoulos: On Iraq, OK.

 

Hagel: On Iraq, and essentially dismissing them. Now, he can disagree, of course. I understand that. That’s his responsibility. But to dismiss them – the Congress, by saying, you don’t have a role in this, you’re irrelevant to this – he’s getting some bad advice, and I would suggest they all go back and re-read the Constitution.

 

The president doesn’t need to do that. John Yoo did it for him. This is not a monarchy?  Opinions vary.

 

But the avalanche is underway. The president’s party is in a bit of revolt (or they are revolting, but that’s an awful pun).

 

And it’s no wonder, as Gary Kamiya explains in How Bush Helped the GOP Commit Suicide.

 

This is mainly a discussion of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press’ major study of American voters’ values and attitudes, released March 22. And a separate Pew poll, released on March 26 – that one showed that fifty-nine percent of Americans want their congressional representatives to support a bill calling our troops to withdraw from Iraq by August 2008, and only thirty-three percent opposed.

 

Forget Alberto Gonzales and the business with who he fired and why.  The avalanche was already rolling along sweeping away everything it its path.  Republicans face serious structural, long-term problems – Bush only “delivered the coup de grâce.”

 

The take-away here –

 

To Democrats and left-leaning independents who were preparing to either commit suicide or move to Provence after the 2004 elections: Put down the gun and back away from the baguette. America may not be the Bush League, after all.

 

Kamiya interviews Andrew Kohut, the Pew Center’s director, who said the writing was on the wall for the GOP – “With the kind of discontent there is with this administration and national conditions, unless things change dramatically there’s going to be a vote for change, not for continuity.”

 

We shall see, but the treads are dismal –

 

Particularly worrying for the GOP are the trend lines among independents, a swing group Republicans desperately need to hold. “The independents seem to be coming closer to the Democrats these days,” Kohut said.

 

The most explosive statistic in the survey shows a mass exodus from the GOP – a defection that can only be blamed on Bush and the Iraq war. In 2002, the number of people who identified as Republicans or Republican-leaning was the same as those who identified as Democrats or Democratic-leaning: 43 percent. But today, 50 percent of the public identify as Democrats or leaning that way, while only 35 percent identify as Republicans or Republican-leaning. In other words, in just five years Democrats have gone from being tied with the Republicans to holding a 15 percent lead.

 

In historic terms, Kohut said this shift is quite large. He cautioned, “It’s mostly the independents, and the independents can swing back the other way.” But then he added, “But there are no indications in the short run that they will.”

 

This is bad –

 

But the significance of the Pew study, the latest in a series that started in 1987, goes beyond Bush or the upcoming election. On virtually every issue, it shows that the public holds views that are closer to those of the Democrats than the Republicans – and that long-term trends are moving in that direction, too. For the GOP, its move-to-the-right strategy paid short-term dividends, but that ploy is now looking like a case of live by the sword, die by the sword. Its greatest challenge is now to find a way to recapture the political center without alienating the right-wing base to which it has so effectively pandered. For it looks like hard-right positions aren’t playing in Peoria anymore.

 

Take public support for government programs, a key index of difference between the parties. Sixty-nine percent of Americans believe that “government should care for those who can’t care for themselves” – up 12 percent from 1994, the year of Newt Gingrich’s anti-government “Contract With America.”

 

Another remarkable finding concerned social conservatism – the issue that inspired so much hand-wringing after the 2004 elections, with many pundits opining that most Democrats were simply too liberal and secular-minded on “values” issues to win. This was always overblown — and, in fact, this and earlier Pew surveys have consistently found that Americans have been growing less conservative on social values issues over the last 20 years.

 

You see, the survey asks six questions dealing with social values – homosexuality, the place of women in society, and whether one has “old-fashioned values about family and marriage” and that sort of thing,  And the summary says this –

 

In 1987, about half of the survey’s respondents (49 percent) gave conservative answers to at least four of the six questions. In 2007, just 30 percent did so. This trend has occurred in all major social, political, and demographic groups in the population. While Republicans remain significantly more conservative than Democrats or independents on social values, they too have become substantially less conservative over this period. The decline in social conservatism is being hastened by generational change, as each new age cohort has come into adulthood with less conservative views on the questions than did their predecessors.

 

Ah, the youngsters –

 

For example, the number of Americans who said they had “old-fashioned values about family and marriage” dropped from 87 in 1990 to 76 in 2007. Still more striking was the change in attitudes toward gay teachers: In 1990 49 percent of those polled said that school boards had the right to fire homosexual teachers. In 2007, only 28 percent did.

 

And there is national security –

 

The Pew study casts serious doubt on whether Republicans can still count on this being an ace in the hole. In 2002, after the 9/11 attacks, 62 percent of Americans agreed that the best way to ensure peace is through military strength. Five years and one war in Iraq later, that figure has declined sharply, to 49 percent. Republican support for that proposition remains overwhelming and unchanged at 72 percent, versus 40 percent of Democrats (down from 55 percent in 2002). But the critical figure is the independents. Only 46 percent of independents agree, while 51 percent disagree. This suggests that the Democratic fear of being labeled “weak on national security” is overblown and may be caused more by unconvincing attempts to appear “tough” than by actual policy positions.

 

And there is what Kamiya calls study’s oddest question – “We should try to get even with any country that tries to take advantage of the U.S.”

 

The result was as odd –

 

In 2002, 61 percent of Americans agreed with this explicit endorsement of revenge as a guiding principle of foreign policy – a fact that says a lot about our national psychology after 9/11, and one that Bush took full advantage of. Today, however, that number has plummeted to 40 percent. The self-righteous joys of retribution, long a right-wing mainstay, have come up against cold reality – and lost.

 

Revenge as foreign policy seems stupid to more folks now.

 

As for religion, that’s a mixed bag –

 

A stunning 79 percent agreed with the statement “we will all be called before God at the Judgment Day to answer for our sins.” But an increasing number of people admit to occasionally doubting whether the God who they are sure will be judging them actually exists, and 12 percent say they are secular or unaffiliated with any religious tradition – up from 8 percent in 1987. And, in an important finding, 17 percent of independents classify themselves as secular, considerably more than the 11 percent of Democrats who do. (Only 5 percent of Republicans so classify themselves.)

 

The president’s claim that his is merely doing what God wants may not work that well as the avalanche gathers momentum.

 

Nor will claims that the rich deserve lower taxes because they’re better than us – seventy-three percent agree with the statement that “the rich get richer while the poor get poorer,” up from fifty-eight percent in 2003.  People aren’t blind, and they’re a bit angry.

 

But there is a downside here –

The survey does not paint a uniformly flattering picture of America. A scary 43 percent of Americans think torture can often or sometimes be justified – perhaps a tribute to the work of “24” creator and Rush Limbaugh pal Joel Surnow. In a singularly telling finding, 45 percent of those who identified themselves as liberal Democrats said torture was never justified, compared to 18 percent of conservative Republicans. These contrasting responses should be deeply troubling to traditional conservatives; they show how badly their movement has degenerated under Gingrich and Bush. When did being a conservative start meaning signing off on torture? Isn’t there a ban on “cruel and unusual punishment” in the Eighth Amendment of some old document drawn up by some geezers in powdered wigs that conservatives are supposed to care passionately about? And what would Jesus think about torture? Apparently being a conservative no longer means believing in a transcendental morality.

 

Yeah, well, folks are still scared, and watch crap television programs.

 

Still, there seems to be a big shift happening, and Kohut offers an explanation – “Well, people think and rethink issues, and I think the public at large does that. I think there was concern about welfare and so welfare reform got a good reception in the ’90s, and now I think there’s concern about poor people. I think what we may have seen is that Katrina furthered this trend that had been growing anyway. Katrina exposed to many people, ‘God, do Americans really live like that? Looks like Haiti!'”

 

That may be it.  Maybe the avalanche started in New Orleans (an odd concept, meteorologically) – but there seems to be one.

 

The Alberto Gonzales business may be the tail end of it, not the start.

 

__ 

 

Addendum from Rick the News Guy, in Atlanta – 

“Something is wrong here, on the level of basic logic. If (1) the White House is right that no crimes were committed in this prosecutor thing (happens all the time, no big deal), and (2) if Goodling would just tell the truth while testifying, then (3) what possible reason could she have for refusing to do so?”

 

This is all quite bizarre! It makes me wonder whether there are circumstances in which someone can be legally prohibited from pleading the fifth! Anybody know?

 

If one were to ask Monica Goodling’s lawyers to identify precisely what past crime she is trying to avoid incriminating herself in – since none seems to have surfaced yet – they seem to be contending that it’s not a past crime, but a future one – that is, the crime of perjury, which she fears she might be charged with if she answers any questions.

 

But, one could argue, the fifth amendment doesn’t protect against us from being charged with committing future crimes, not yet committed, only from being forced to offer evidence that would incriminate us in suspected past crimes, and that all she need do to prevent herself from being charged with perjury is to not commit it – in short, by telling the truth! Ah, they reply, but not in this environment! These people don’t care if she tells the truth or not, they would charge her anyway!!!

 

To which one can only reply: “Huh?!?”

 

Welcome to Wonderland!

 

I’d argue that the most egregious examples of Bush administration malfeasance tend to spring from their approach to “creative governance,” in which they all seem either unable or unwilling to “think inside the box” – knowing full well that no one here can make them, and that by the time the American people get around to trying, these clowns will be long gone.

 

– Rick

__

Around the net – 

See this comment from one of Andrew Sullivan’s readers –

 

1) The 5th amendment gives protection against having to testify in any situation where truthful answers might incriminate.

 

2) Monica Goodling cannot possibly have substantive guilt here; she is 33 and was working in a subordinate role for aggressive bosses. If she needs protection, it can only be from a technical guilt whose moral weight rightly falls on her superiors. Most likely, she and her lawyers fear that any perceived problems with her prep session for McNulty’s testimony could be construed as indirect “misleading” of Congress, and – by a stretch no one would be likely to make – charged as such.

 

3) The solution is therefore to offer her immunity from prosecution for any actions her testimony might disclose, and then compel that testimony through subpoena. This is fair, because even if she could be found participating in a conspiracy to mislead Congress, what we already know of the situation makes it extremely unlikely that she was the originator of any such conspiracy.  It is also effective, because while it would immunize her from jeopardy for anything she has done already, it would NOT immunize her from perjury charges should she fail, now, to tell the truth. And she is likely to have knowledge of some pretty central truths.

 

Also see this comment from a reader at Talking Points Memo

 

Monica Goodling does have a good faith basis for pleading the Fifth Amendment – just not the ones in her lawyer’s letter that are getting all the attention.

 

Under the federal False Statements statute, 18 USC 1001, it is a felony to cause another person to make a false statement to Congress. Since McNulty has allegedly told Senator Schumer that he made a false statement to Congress based on information provided to him by Monica Goodling, Goodling could very well be prosecuted for a Section 1001 violation.

 

All the rest of the crap in her lawyer’s letter is intended to sooth as much as possible WH anger at her for invoking the Fifth.

 

Also see this from Josh Marshall there –

 

Reader TB …

 

A party can request a hearing (in federal or state court) to examine whether the party invoking the Fifth has done so properly. Goodling’s attorney’s letter does not provide a valid basis for invoking the Fifth. You can’t invoke the Fifth to avoid perjury charges (or obstructing justice with the selfsame testimony). (I have the cases here, if you want them.) You can’t invoke the Fifth because you think the Committee is on a witch hunt. Etc.

 

They shouldn’t let Goodling get away with this. She either is refusing to providing testimony because she may be testifying about some crime she has previously committed (which is a valid reason for taking the Fifth) or she isn’t. If she is, and a Judge so determines, then fine (and goodbye to her attorney’s ridiculous GOP talking points), and if she isn’t, she should be compelled to testify under subpoena.

 

The funny thing is she may be obstructing justice (protecting others) by refusing to testify under a bogus claim of needing to take the Fifth.

 

Talk to some attorneys who work with Congressional committees and see which court they can take this to – I would suspect the D.C. Circuit.

 

Reader EJ makes the same point …

 

I read the letter from Ms. Goodling’s attorney, and it seems rather odd to me. He says that Ms. Goodling will not testify because she fears that, even though telling the truth, she may face perjury charges due to the hostility of Democrats on the Judiciary Committee. The Fifth Amendment, however, has nothing to do with perjury or with feared partisanship. Rather, it states a privilege against self-incriminating testimony. If the Fifth were to be accepted every time a witness feared a perjury indictment, we would have very few witnesses, indeed. I’m far from an expert on this matter, but I wonder if the Fifth has been properly invoked at all here.

 

I’m obviously not a lawyer. But I think these good folks may be on to something. (TPM Reader TB identifies himself as a lawyer.) Certainly there’s no 5th amendment privilege against testifying before meanies. So the alleged partisanship of the committee doesn’t fly. And in any case, the committee doesn’t prosecute you for perjury. Unless I’m completely forgetting how this works, all they can do is make a referral to the Justice Department. (Maybe they can hand it to Gonzales next time he comes to testify.) And the most sensible defense against a perjury trap, I would have thought, would be to tell the truth. After all, to the best of my knowledge Goodling hasn’t testified on this subject before — so it’s not like they can trap her into contradicting previous sworn testimony.

 

In any case, if you look at the letter Goodling’s attorney sent the committee, the essence of his argument is that the committee has relinquished its legitimacy as an investigative forum and that she has thus unilaterally decided that she will refuse to testify. (As part of the argument for not testifying, Goodling’s lawyer notes that “it is not uncommon for witnesses who give testimony before the Congress to face criminal investigations and even indictments for perjury, false statements, or obstruction of congressional proceedings.”) It amounts to a sort of witness’s nullification.

 

Interestingly, or perhaps revealingly, at the end of the letter, John Dowd, Goodling’s attorney asserts that “we have advised Ms. Goodling (and she has decided) to invoke her Constitutional right not to answer any questions.”

 

This is more than a semantic point. The constitution says nothing about a right not to answer questions. The actual words are that no one “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself” — or in the more modern parlance, your right against self-incrimination. This is why you lose your ‘right not to answer questions’ as soon as you’re granted immunity.

 

So again, look at what the Goodling letter claims. The argument throughout almost all of it is that the committee is too hostile to her for her to answer its questions. On this point, let me put this out to the lawyers in our audience, of whom there are quite a few. Take a look at the Goodling letter and let us know whether you think this holds up as grounds for asserting a 5th Amendment privilege against not testifying.

 

Now, one more point. Above I said ‘almost’ the whole argument. On page two of the letter, Goodling’s lawyer asserts as the fourth reason for her refusal to testify that “it has come to our attention that a senior Department of Justice official has privately told Senator Schumer that he (the official) was not entirely candid in his report to the Committee, and that the official allegedly claimed that others, including our client, did not inform him of certain pertinent facts.”

 

His name isn’t stated. But this appears to be a reference to Deputy Attorney General McNulty, the subject of this post from earlier this evening. Here we finally appear to have a bad act that Goodling believes or at least claims may expose her to criminal prosecution – lying to Congress by proxy by intentionally misinforming an official about to testify before Congress.

 

Just watching this from the outside, it looks as though that is the bad act she’s afraid to testify about or – and somehow I find this more believable – she’s afraid of indictment for perjury because she has to go up to Congress and testify under oath before the White House has decided what its story is. And yeah, I’d feel like I was in jeopardy then too.

 

– Josh Marshall

 

And so on and so forth…

 

About Alan

The editor is a former systems manager for a large California-based HMO, and a former senior systems manager for Northrop, Hughes-Raytheon, Computer Sciences Corporation, Perot Systems and other such organizations. One position was managing the financial and payroll systems for a large hospital chain. And somewhere in there was a two-year stint in Canada running the systems shop at a General Motors locomotive factory - in London, Ontario. That explains Canadian matters scattered through these pages. Otherwise, think large-scale HR, payroll, financial and manufacturing systems. A résumé is available if you wish. The editor has a graduate degree in Eighteenth-Century British Literature from Duke University where he was a National Woodrow Wilson Fellow, and taught English and music in upstate New York in the seventies, and then in the early eighties moved to California and left teaching. The editor currently resides in Hollywood California, a block north of the Sunset Strip.
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1 Response to Something Is Up

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