Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

January 16, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

FIRING SPREE....The Bush White House is apparently on a firing spree: Josh Marshall reports that at least seven U.S. Attorneys -- some of them currently engaged in corruption investigations against Republicans -- have been replaced mid-term with new appointees who don't need Senate approval. Josh has the story here and here.

Kevin Drum 7:42 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (49)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

I'm surprised they haven't sought to replace Patrick Fitzgerald.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 16, 2007 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

Another Bush cockup...

Who in America is going to ground these vultures?
There's only one way folks: IMPEACHMENT.

Posted by: ROTFLMLiberalAO on January 16, 2007 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

Cyntax posted about this last week.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 16, 2007 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

Jeez, just because they fired several successful prosecutors of republicans for no stated reason and in at least one case appointed a partisan hack, someone who could be best be described as Karl Rove's Karl Rove, as a replacement, and you liberals have go get your shorts all bunched up. Seems lijke reflexive Bush hatred to me. Remember, elections have consequences. But only when republicans win.

Posted by: Jeff S. on January 16, 2007 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

There's too much here that's unknown. To have an opinion about this at this point is to border on political mischief.

Posted by: egbert on January 16, 2007 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

These firings of US Attorneys show the Executive Branch manipulating the institutions of government to protect itself and its allies from investigation - an attack on the principle that no one is above the law. Stimson's suggestion that lawyers and law firms defending Gitmo detainees should suffer economic harm for their actions reveals the Executive Branch simultaneously attacking the right to counsel and trying to hide from the public just how grossly inept has been its use of arrest and detention to fight the "war on terror". If no one is fired as a result of these actions and statements, we can assume that these are policies ordered from the top -- in which case we should impeach. Concerted action aimed at undermining the rule of law would, to my mind, constitute "high crimes and misdemeanors".

Posted by: DNS on January 16, 2007 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

Rather than a "friday night massacre," it appears this administration is engaged in a "lame duck massacre."

Charming to see Bush is determined not to lose out to Nixon in the title bout for worst President ever.

Posted by: anonymous on January 16, 2007 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

Impeachment is a useless tool unless you are prepared to impeach both Bush and Cheney at the same time. Getting rid of Bush only for Cheney to become President would actually be a step backwards since Cheney is ten times more intelligent than his boss.

Posted by: mfw13 on January 16, 2007 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

The Bush administration always likes to do it bigger and better.

Nixon confined his massacre to one Saturday Night. Bush is going to make it last all winter long, baby.

Posted by: Otto Man on January 16, 2007 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

"Getting rid of Bush only for Cheney to become President would actually be a step backwards since Cheney is ten times more intelligent than his boss."

Oops.

I am sure our good friend meant to say here:

Getting rid of Bush only for Cheney to become President would actually be a step backwards since Cheney is ten times more mentally ill than his boss.

These people are muy muy muy enfermo.
Sack 'em both.
It is the ONLY patriotic thing to do...

Posted by: ROTFLMLiberalAO on January 16, 2007 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

"There's too much here that's unknown. To have an opinion about this at this point is to border on political mischief."

Apparently in egbert world, when too much is unknown, the correct action is to not seek clarification.
Interesting perspective, egterd.

Posted by: billy on January 16, 2007 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

Impeachment is a useless tool unless you are prepared to impeach both Bush and Cheney at the same time.

well, duh. nothing preventing a two-fer.

Posted by: Disputo on January 16, 2007 at 8:44 PM | PERMALINK

Forgive egbert. He's still trying to reconcile himself to the fact that Napoleon's 1812 invasion of Russia was a spectacular disaster.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 16, 2007 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

The Moron in Chief scolds Dave Gregory and the American public.

If this doesn't make your blood boil, nothing will.

The guy is a total+total idiot.
He is beyond dangerous.

Fire him.
Fire him now.

Posted by: ROTFLMLiberalAO on January 16, 2007 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

Can Congress impeach for this? Genuine question, looking for an informed answer.

Posted by: Name on January 16, 2007 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

Part of the reason Bush can do this is that he feels confident Democrats will avoid investigating Republicans when they get one of theirs elected POTUS.

We have to heal the nation, y'know?

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on January 16, 2007 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

Finally, Bush has been reduced to governing out of pure spite.

It's really all he and his crew have left to motivate themselves.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 16, 2007 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

Doesn't this remind you of something back in 1974? Something about the Saturday Night Massacre?

Posted by: pgl on January 16, 2007 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

Bush and friends have become like a rock group whose popularity has turned to shit, and who wreak their revenge by trashing their hotel room.

Of course, that hotel room is our country.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 16, 2007 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

"Bush and friends have become like a rock group whose popularity has turned to shit, and who wreak their revenge by trashing their hotel room. "

Uh huh. Ok.

How about how Clinton and his flunkies trashed the White House after Gore lost the election?

"W" keys, anyone?

Posted by: egbert on January 16, 2007 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

egbert sez: "How about how Clinton and his flunkies trashed the White House after Gore lost the election?"

Well, they didn't. You can look it up, assuming you have the brains of a cockroach, which I doubt.

Posted by: Tehanu on January 16, 2007 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

"Genuine question, looking for an informed answer."

No. The law allows it. It may well be unethical and/or immoral, but it's not illegal.

Posted by: PaulB on January 16, 2007 at 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

"How about how Clinton and his flunkies trashed the White House after Gore lost the election?"

You mean that fictional story that was debunked years ago? And that even if it were true has absolutely nothing to do with the subject at hand? You're losing what little touch you had, eggie.

Posted by: PaulB on January 16, 2007 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

"No. The law allows it. It may well be unethical and/or immoral, but it's not illegal."

What they (the congress and senate) ought to do immediately is change that particular stupid provision of that stupid law (the patriot act).

Posted by: jefff on January 16, 2007 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

Charming to see Bush is determined not to lose out to Nixon in the title bout for worst President ever.

Oh, he won that competition hands down, ages ago. I think now he's going for the Worst Administrator In Any Capacity Award

Posted by: snicker-snack on January 16, 2007 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

Judicial indepdendence is a core principle of any constitutional democracy and is usually explicit - as it is in the US Constitution. A necessary corollary of judicial independence - though often not explicit - is the principle of prosecutorial discretion free of interference ("without fear or favor" is often the phrase used) by the executive branch. This is because, for this to be a nation of laws and not of men, those who wield power must be subject to prosecution according to the same standards as the rest of us. So interference by the executive branch in the staffing and operations of the various prosecutors' offices - particularly where such interference weakens or cuts short investigations of the executive branch itself -- is just about as serious as the White House intimidating a judge into changing a verdict, or preventing Congress from convening a committee to investigate wrongdoing... While I don't believe there is an explicit statute forbidding what the WH has done (because the selection of US Attorneys is within the power of the executive branch), I have no doubt that custom and tradition (equally valid grounds for making an argument for 'high crimes and misdemeanors') would cry out that what is happening here is a blatant and egregious attack by the WH on the core principle that all are subject to the law.

So unless the WH can provide some objective evidence of physical or mental incapacity, moral turpitude, or some such failure to maintain a necessary standard of competence on the part of these US Attorneys, I think a case for impeachment could be made on the grounds that Bush, Cheney, and anyone else involved in making these decisions is acting with the deliberate intention of undermining the rule of law in this country.

Posted by: DNS on January 16, 2007 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

"How about how Clinton and his flunkies trashed the White House after Gore lost the election?"

You mean that fictional story that was debunked years ago? And that even if it were true has absolutely nothing to do with the subject at hand? You're losing what little touch you had, eggie.

---
Not to put too fine a point on it, but a better phrasing would be, "You mean that lie the Bush White House spread that was debunked years ago?"

I don't think "fictional story" really captures what the Bush team is about.

Posted by: Doctor Jay on January 16, 2007 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

egbert sez: "How about how Clinton and his flunkies trashed the White House after Gore lost the election?"

Tehanu: Well, they didn't. You can look it up, assuming you have the brains of a cockroach, which I doubt.

The cockroach test:

You believe Gore said he invented in Internet and that Clinton's aides trashed the White House.

Posted by: Elitist? Damn straight. on January 16, 2007 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

Bush is a sociopath and a lifelong pathological liar. A major part of his pathology is that he has contempt for the idea that he owes the public any kind of truth. To that end, he will do whatever he has to do the keep from having the layers of his lies peeled like an onion.

Posted by: jcricket on January 16, 2007 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

It is certainly gonna be a very loooooonnngg two years

I`m fairly certain that this is just the opening salvo in the next round of very obnoxious violations of U.S. traditions (not to mention the laws).

Be prepared for worse.

"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things." - Niccoló Machiavelli

Posted by: daCascadian on January 16, 2007 at 11:36 PM | PERMALINK

Wingnut reality checks:

"If Drudge 'broke' it, it must be true."
"If Novak passed it on, it must be true."
"If Fox 'reported' it, it must be true."

Posted by: DNS on January 16, 2007 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

Reading the news that the administration is firing U.S. Attorneys around the country, I was outraged at first. But then I came to realize that it is really just confirmation that the game is over for this administration. There will be no legislative acheivements, no advancement of the GOP agenda, no grand visions realized. The midterm electoral success of the Democrats has reduced BushCo to a band of bitter, petty criminals with nothing better to do than make as much mischief as they can until their time runs out.

Posted by: global yokel on January 17, 2007 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

I'm surprised they haven't sought to replace Patrick Fitzgerald.

Poor old Dick Cheney, if only Bush would fire that guy, but what would American think?

Posted by: Cheryl on January 17, 2007 at 1:55 AM | PERMALINK

Intestesting that TMP is only news have this news, but not NYT or WP.

Not enough worthless hype involved for main stream news to want anything to do with facts.

Posted by: Cheryl on January 17, 2007 at 2:25 AM | PERMALINK

Just when one thinks these people couldn't go any lower, we must impeach it's the only way these people will stop, they will have to as shredding that many docs, erasing that many tapes will take so long they won't be able to do anything else.

Are these people actually human, are republic ants human, do they qualify as sentient beings, answers on the back of a postage stamp to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Posted by: Terry on January 17, 2007 at 3:16 AM | PERMALINK

Can you say "Monday Morning Massacre"?

Posted by: scotus on January 17, 2007 at 5:06 AM | PERMALINK

Why there hasnt been a high level investigation of this administration is baffling. Bloody cowards is what they are, the democrats, that is. Stop splitting words and impeach the twit!

Posted by: F.Bauge on January 17, 2007 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

Impractical or not, I'm now on the impeach side - both Bush and Cheney. Nothing less will stop these vandals.

Posted by: Needles on January 17, 2007 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Why do US attorneys hate America so much?
Why do US Attorneys hate freedom?

Posted by: cboas on January 17, 2007 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

Can Congress impeach for this? Genuine question, looking for an informed answer.

Congress can impeach for anything it decides ought to be impeachable.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 17, 2007 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

From the Wikipedia entry on Michael Chertoff:

Chertoff was asked to stay in his position when the Clinton administration took office in 1993, at the request of Democratic Senator Bill Bradley; he was the only U.S. attorney not replaced. Chertoff stayed with the U.S. Attorney's office until 1994, when he entered private practice, returning to Latham & Watkins as a partner.

Can't find an article specific to the action, but Clinton fired every single one of the U.S. attorneys under him when he gained office. Swirling about that were accusations that he did it to get some heat off of him. Regardless of whether or not Clinton did it to get heat off of him or Bush is doing it to get heat off of him, and also regardless of whether this is a slimy thing to do, it isn't exactly unprecedented...

Posted by: Haplo on January 17, 2007 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Haplo,
That's interesting, I didn't know that.
Do you have any idea how many of them were appointed by GHWBush, when he entered office?
Those in particular would have to either be replaced or re-appointed, as their terms of office expired at that time. Said term to be 4 years.
If it was all of them, well, there you have it. Not even remotely the same thing.

Back to that GHWBush taking office thing. Did he ask anyone(amongst the set of all US Attorneys) to resign at the time? And then appoint replacements?

Posted by: kenga on January 17, 2007 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Don't these guys know anything about 'the perception of impropriety' being as bad as impropriety in legal dealings?

Although, I have to admit, being a party mudraker is probably the best experience for the job of prosecuting party mudwallowing.

Unfortunately, putting as the prosecutor someone who was on your payroll as someone who's now to investigate you... Can we say conflict of interest?

Posted by: Crissa on January 17, 2007 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, that was a good point Haplo - except that it's pretty common practice to replace them when there's a party shift in the Executive branch, as opposed to when there isn't.

Posted by: Crissa on January 17, 2007 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Can't find an article specific to the action, but Clinton fired every single one of the U.S. attorneys under him when he gained office.

Uh, yeah. "When he gained office."

Replacing political appointees that serve at the pleasure of the President when a new President, particularly of a different party, takes office is rather normal.

Firing a lot of them midstream in an administration is rather different.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 17, 2007 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

So unless the WH can provide some objective evidence of physical or mental incapacity, moral turpitude, or some such failure to maintain a necessary standard of competence on the part of these US Attorneys, I think a case for impeachment could be made on the grounds that Bush, Cheney, and anyone else involved in making these decisions is acting with the deliberate intention of undermining the rule of law in this country.

Posted by: DNS on January 16, 2007 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK
************************************************

US Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the President. As others here just pointed out, Clinton fired all but one, which was an unprecedented move that drew a lot of attention and criticism. I'm sure many of them were investigating Democrats at the time. Impeachable action - no way.

Posted by: Campesino on January 17, 2007 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

Crony Conservatism at its finest!

Posted by: Michael Gardner on January 17, 2007 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

There will be no legislative acheivements, no advancement of the GOP agenda, no grand visions realized. The midterm electoral success of the Democrats has reduced BushCo to a band of bitter, petty criminals with nothing better to do than make as much mischief as they can until their time runs out.
Posted by: global yokel on January 17, 2007 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

You're assuming there's a difference between the two. (advancement of the GOP agenda, and making as much mischeif as they can until their time runs out)

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on January 17, 2007 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

except that it's pretty common practice to replace them when there's a party shift in the Executive branch, as opposed to when there isn't.
Posted by: Crissa on January 17, 2007 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

One could argue that there has been a party shift in the executive branch - as Bush/Cheney are no longer really Republicans. They've cast off the false flag and are now the party of Corporate Looting and Racketeering.

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on January 17, 2007 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly