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Tilting at Windmills

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March 29, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

PURGEGATE UPDATE....I've been negligent in following up the latest in Purgegate. Sorry. Here's a quick summary of Kyle Sampson's testimony today:

Least surprising revelation: that Alberto Gonzales was indeed involved in discussions about firing those U.S. Attorneys. "I don't think the attorney general's statement that he was not involved in any discussions about U.S. attorney removals is accurate," Sampson said. In other words, Gonzales lied. Knock me over with a feather.

Most bizarre revelation: that Sampson recommended firing Patrick Fitzgerald in the middle of his investigation into Plamegate. "That was a piece of bad judgment on my behalf to even raise it," Sampson said. No kidding.

Most heartfelt revelation: that Sampson is all too aware he screwed up. "Looking back on all of this . . . in hindsight I wish the department hadn't gone down this road at all," he said. Roger that, Kyle.

But really, here's the single most remarkable thing about Sampson's testimony. Purgegate broke open ten weeks ago. As Sampson himself admitted, the Justice Department's explanations of the affair since then have been comically inept. Sampson himself has known for a couple of weeks that he was going to testify before Congress today.

And what's the single biggest question we all have? It's this: so why did you choose those particular eight prosecutors to fire, anyway?

And after all this time to prepare and finally get it right, what did Sampson say? Nothing. Almost literally, nothing. He still didn't have any plausible, documented reasons for firing the USA-8. He stumbled around a bit, eventually claiming that the process wasn't "scientific" but also wasn't "extensively documented." Here's his final explanation: "I don't remember keeping a very good file," he said. "It was a chart and notes that I would dump into my lower right desk drawer."

And that, supposedly, was that. There were two years of plans to fire these guys, but we're supposed to believe that no one really kept any notes and nobody really knows why these guys were selected. It was just a gestalt sort of thing.

Unbelievable. But which is worse: that he's lying or that he's telling the truth?

Kevin Drum 10:25 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (89)

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But which is worse: that he's lying or that he's telling the truth?

The Devil's dilemma. Incompetence or corruption. Which is better?

Posted by: Repack Rider on March 29, 2007 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

The excuse with these knuckleheads always boils down to this:

I'm not corrupt; I'm just incompetent.

Posted by: Disputo on March 29, 2007 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

oops, RR beat me to it

Posted by: Disputo on March 29, 2007 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

I know you love the "which is worse?" format, Kevin, but in this instance it's pretty wildly inappropriate. These guys can be fired for anything, as we're constantly reminded by the wingnut faction, so it just wouldn't matter if they were fired because of a "gestalt sort of thing."

But that's not why they were fired. They were fired because they weren't doing enough to advance the cause of Permanent Republican Dominance. You should be ashamed to pretend otherwise.

Stop being cute. Save that for cat-blogging. This shit matters.

Posted by: dj moonbat on March 29, 2007 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like it's time to subpoena Sampson's lower right desk drawer.

Posted by: Async on March 29, 2007 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

Suprise, Suprise

Now that Iglesias is gone Democrats are getting indicted.

http://www.krqe.com/expanded.asp?RECORD_KEY%5BNews%5D=ID&ID%5BNews%5D=20629

Posted by: TruthPolitik on March 29, 2007 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

I think the answer is both. Actually, all three, even though it looks like only two choices.

1. incompetence at running the DOJ in a normal way.

2. corrupt and probably illegal consipracy to obstruct and improperly influence US Attorneys

3. incompetent management of corrupt conspiracy, which was so incompetently managed it would have remain uncovered only had the GOP retained a majority in both chambers, and a filibuster proof one in the Senate, AND cooperation of a corrupt and incometent national affairs press.

Thank goodness for number 3.

Posted by: anon on March 29, 2007 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

Neither: Their not writing anything down or keeping good records was part of the plan to help avoid lying-- If you don't keep good records, the 'I cannot recall' defense is more plausible.

Posted by: DA on March 29, 2007 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I don't know about you, but I'm relieved to find out more about Mr. Sampson's office filing system.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on March 29, 2007 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

Hawk, go Cheney yourself.

Posted by: dj moonbat on March 29, 2007 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone know what happened today when the hearing was abruptly adjourned (~3PM) because a Republican senator objected to the hearing taking place while the senate was in session? Other than the short announcement by Leahy and a short break in the hearing I haven't seen any explanation of who that senator was or what particular senate rule was being invoked.

Posted by: nepeta on March 29, 2007 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

From the perspective of these DOJ officials, appearing comical, implausible, or incompetent is still more desirable than stating the evident truth -- that the firings and snuck-in replacements were an attempt to corrupt the US Attorney system for Republican electoral advantage in 2008. That truth is so odious, such a threat to the integrity of the DOJ, that the DOJ dare not speak it.

Posted by: North on March 29, 2007 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

What's most galling to me (and seemingly least commented on) is that these were real people's lives and careers being toyed with and disrupted and wrecked. And real law enforcement activities interrupted, foiled and new prosecutions that will never be started or even contemplated. The politics of all this is getting a thorough exploration but what of the harm done to actual human beings? Where's the goddamn empathy?

Posted by: steve duncan on March 29, 2007 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

The daunting ailment that has plagued those in the service of the White House continued to take its toll on the President's minions. Today, members of a congressional investigative committee continued their efforts to find the source of the ailment as it seems to be highly contagious. The most recent strains seem to be far more pervasive yet determining its origin continues to remain elusive. Senator Chuck Schumer closed his questioning by offering the hypothesis that the ailment was a virulent form of blatant lying.

Many within the media stepped in to immediately offer the public a layman's interpretation of the symptoms as well as analysis of the ongoing implications if a cure for the ailment could not be administered soon. The White House continued to downplay the seriousness of the ailment as it sought to allay the growing fears within the American public that the disease might soon decimate the bulk of their elected officials. A growing number of pundits continued to suggest that the President is in denial as to the severity of the ailment and what it might do to the Republican Party.

See a tongue-in-cheek visual spoofing an upcoming episode of Saturday Night Live featuring a guest appearance by "The President's Prevaricators"...here:

www.thoughttheater.com

Posted by: Daniel DiRito on March 29, 2007 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

What's most galling to me (and seemingly least commented on) is that these were real people's lives and careers being toyed with and disrupted and wrecked.

I'll bet Valerie Wilson noticed.

Posted by: Boots Day on March 29, 2007 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

Not everyone is a seasoned politician, a la Teddy "I drowned a woman because of my DUI" Kennedy and John "Herman Monster" Kerrey and Barracka. Kyle Sampson is trying to tell the truth, but let's face it, he's under lights, he's got the weight of the world beaming in on him, and the guy probably isn't used to that sort of rough treatment. I'd like to see how you do during sworm testimoney, and we can all grab the popcorn and laugh at your tongue-twisters and stutterings.

Posted by: egbert on March 29, 2007 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

See...
Alberto didn't lie see...
It's a cultural thing see...
Besides I am the decider...
And deciding means I decide see...
And I decide that Alberto stays.
See that's the way its going to be see...

Posted by: President Bush on March 29, 2007 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum >"...But which is worse: that he's lying or that he's telling the truth?"

What is the worst is that ANYONE even pretends to believe anything these people say. Clutivated Incompetence is their prime directive.

MUCH MUCH worse than Watergate.

Bet on it !

Get comfortable with that reality.

And quit even pretending to believe any of these people.

"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing." - Helen Keller

Posted by: daCascadian on March 29, 2007 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

Yes which is worse - total incompetence or steroidal arrogance?

For all that this time is a tragic period in our Constitutional history and in what we have bequeathed the world for a generation in having to restabilize the mess we are making, and a sad time in for us for the loss of potential as a nation and the loss of the opportunity to begin to solve the problems in the middle-east, it is mostly a dreary time.

It's a time when we let two-bit hoodlums and clown-princes walk away with our national heritage.

What is worse is that the 109th Congress let these megalomaniacal fools get away with it when they could have prevented most if not all of it.

And it is not just the despicable 109th that is to blame for that.

Posted by: paulo on March 29, 2007 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

The excuse with these knuckleheads always boils down to this:

I'm not corrupt; I'm just incompetent.


Posted by: Disputo on March 29, 2007 at 10:41 PM

I cast my vote for incorrupetent.

Posted by: FitterDon on March 29, 2007 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

It's the 2008 ELECTIONS!!!


Why are people thinking that the DOJ has no clue as to why these Atty Generals were fired. Kyle Sampson knows exactly why, for the same reason that he had the temerity to suggest Fitz be fired in the middle of an investigation, because it is POLITICAL.

The GOP is using the DOJ for it's very own Department of Inquistion, to prosecute who they want and not prosecute those in political favor.

The real reason these US Atty's were let go is because they represent swing states, and Rove wanted to install political operatives so that he can steal the 2008 Presidential election.

MN, MI, IA, FL, NM are all swing states.

The DOJ may not have known, Gonzo, was simply doing what he has done since being confirmed as AG, signing off on any plan that ROVE has SAMPSON (his constant traveling companion) execute.

Gonzo, is not running the DOJ, Rove is! Sampson works for Rove, not Gonzo, which is why he threw Gonzo under the bus and refused to reveal anything about Rove's role today.
Gonzo, didn't decide which AG's were to go, Rove did, and that is why Sampson was able to suggest Fitz be fired!

Lam had to go. Notice today when Feinstein asked Sampson was he aware the warrant had been issued when he wrote the email saying 'the real problem with Lam now" the day after the warrants were executed? Sampson replied...I have not SEEN the report, not that he was unaware.

The reasons why these US Atty's were fired is crystal clear...all you have to do is listen to what is NOT said. Not to what is said, Sampsons words are spoken only to obfuscate. Not to shed light on what occured. He never named who added the names to list. He only said he was the record keeper. Gonzo, already said he did not put the list together either. So, who was his chief of staff the recordkeeper for? Rove.

Sampson has a nice cushy private sector job waiting. His job today was to throw Gonzo under the bus and protect Rove.
He performed well.
Like he said how you perform is all political in this administration.

Posted by: elrapierwit on March 29, 2007 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

Kyle Sampson's testimony was mostly about how it's okay to place them for political reasons. To go after Dems is okay - just not corrupt Republicans.

PBS Newshour:

JUDY WOODRUFF: What about Noel Francisco's other point, that he was saying he believes it's now clarified why these U.S. attorneys were let go, because they disagreed with the policies of the administration.

MICHAEL GREENBERGER: Well, that was certainly the burden of Mr. Sampson's testimony, but I think the documents speak for themselves. I think, when you have a document that says, the day after Carol Lam in San Diego has issued these search-and-seizure warrants against Republican politicians, and the very next day off, you have a memo going out saying, "This is a real problem," it's true, Mr. Sampson said, the real problem was immigration, but I think it's a matter of credibility there.

And the documentation is so heavy on the other side. As Senator Feinstein said, three of the U.S. attorneys were in the midst of investigations against Republican politicians, and two of them refused to open investigations against Democrats. So that's just going to be a matter the public is going to have to decide.

Posted by: Cheryl on March 29, 2007 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

His whole testimony revolved around making sure he had some kind of future employment opportunities in Republican circles, not fucking the higher-ups in the White House political office, and making sure he doesn't face perjury charges. Why ruin a bright career? "I can't remember" is the wonder working magic!

Posted by: FuzzFinger on March 29, 2007 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

Click the link, Kevin. Always click the link:

Mr. Sampson portrayed the firings as a good-faith but badly handled initiative, properly conceived but “poorly explained.”

Naturally liberals aren't interested in hearing what the good-faith reasons are, and wouldn't believe them anyway. So you can't blame the DoJ for being reluctant to co-operate in this witch hunt.

Posted by: Al on March 29, 2007 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

elrapierwit:

Gonzo, is not running the DOJ, Rove is! Sampson works for Rove, not Gonzo, which is why he threw Gonzo under the bus and refused to reveal anything about Rove's role today.
Gonzo, didn't decide which AG's were to go, Rove did...

Touche...
Or Bingo...
Or Gong the Gonzo...

No matter how you slice and dice it: El Rapier pins the X on the elephant's ass just "right."

Posted by: ROTFLMLiberalAO on March 29, 2007 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

Al: Naturally liberals aren't interested in hearing what the good-faith reasons are, and wouldn't believe them anyway.

Well, y'know, those "good faith" reasons keep changing, Al. You'll have to forgive us for doubting their sincerity.

Posted by: dj moonbat on March 29, 2007 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK

Why? Because they felt like it. Why'd they feel like it? Dunno.

The surly teenager approach to governance.

I got the impression that Kyle doesn't really know why. His job was mainly to collect names and get them agreed to and then fired. He had some ideas of his own, based on the loyal Bushie metric, but mostly he was just collecting lists of people that the Kewl Kids didn't like. That's why he didn't need a file - it wasn't like it was important, like dealing with people's lives or nuthin'.

Posted by: biggerbox on March 29, 2007 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, elrapierwit got it right. And did you see the footage of Rove "dancing" at the press banquet on the news tonight? He might as well be tempting fate by screaming "Look at me, ma! Top of the world!"

Posted by: Thin White Guy on March 29, 2007 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

This administration is as a politically corrupt organization that is headed by single most incompetent person on the planet. He can't read three words off a teleprompter without fucking up. He can't participate in a debate without an earpiece and a team of people feeding him answers. The coruption starts with Dick Cheney and oozes out from there. What they do best is install incompetents where they need them so there is always a firewall between the corruption (Rove, Cheney, PNAC,) and oversight. They've only lasted this long because the last congress was as corrupt as them and had no intention to oversee them because it would cut into the time they were using to collect bribes from K Street(Abramoff, DeLay, Cunningham, Blunt, Hastert,). These scumbags couldn't even bother to take the time to pry a pedophile off the backside of their own constituents teen-age children.
Corruption, incompetence,potato,potahto.

Posted by: FitterDon on March 29, 2007 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

I almost felt sorry for him--no real legal experience, a doltish acolyte of the spawn-of-satan, who was forced to become an ignominious fall-guy. There he was looking smmmaaaalllllll, like he Joseph McCarthy, meeting his own board of persecutors-squeaky voice and way out of his comfort zone and depth.

However, his frequent pauses, and his Oh, WTF, I'll just keep lying demeanor, really does leave one cold. He could have been a hero today--or a toady. The toad won out. He should have consulted John Dean on a better course of action. He is anathema to all sides now. Poor twit.
He should have opted for that "grace under pressure" existentialist philosophy instead of that "my resume says Christian" vapid lifestyle choice.

And where did all the trolls come from? Man the basement lights are on at Scaife and Chafe tonight.

Posted by: Sparko on March 29, 2007 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK

but mostly he was just collecting lists of people that the Kewl Kids didn't like

http://23hq.com/magenta4ever/photo/1425406/view-large?album_id=1425289

Posted by: Thin White Guy on March 29, 2007 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

"What is worse is that the 109th Congress let these megalomaniacal fools get away with it when they could have prevented most if not all of it.

And it is not just the despicable 109th that is to blame for that."

No, there are also the American voters, which reelected Bush in 2004, and the American Press, which even now doesn't want to cover these things.

Posted by: mrgumby2u on March 30, 2007 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

Suprise, Suprise... Now that Iglesias is gone Democrats are getting indicted.

I call bullshit! The issue has always been the pace of Iglesias' investigation. He appeared on Larry King/CNN tonight among others who weighed in on Sampson's testimony and the firing of the USA 8. Excerpt from the transcript:

KING: Ah, so you're telling us that just two hours ago this Democrat was indicted.... Had you investigated him?
IGLESIAS: Yes, this has been a pending matter for quite some time. I believe that the local Republican Party and two members of Congress here, Wilson and Pete Domenici, were upset at the pace of the investigation, as they understood it by reading the newspaper accounts. But they didn't have access to the FBI reports. They didn't know what we were doing because that's not their job. Their job was to legislate. My job was to enforce the law.
KING: Would you not have indicted...
IGLESIAS: Well, I mean I indicted -- or, the case got indicted when it was ready, not too soon or not too late. But it happened about a month after I left office.
KING: So this, then, is your thinking -- this case, two hours ago, that was the crux?
IGLESIAS: That -- that -- that was the straw that broke this camel's back, Larry. And I believe had I indicted this case back in October, I would not have been asked to resign a month later by the Justice Department.
Why does Iglesias think if he had indicted the case in October that he would still have his job? Because of politics and the November election.
KING: ... are you suspicious, Richard, of the Iglesias story, that this indictment now occurs?
BEN-VENISTE: I think the issue is one of timing and the -- the pressure, to the extent that it was applied, seemed to be to have these charges brought before the election, at a time when the U.S. attorney felt that it was not appropriate to bring charges. His investigation had not concluded.... And that would be inappropriate for somebody simply to cave into political pressure under those circumstances.
Yeah, but nothing is off limits with the Bushies in charge. Nothing.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on March 30, 2007 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

Which is worse:
1) YankeeChickenShit is a real person saying what he thinks, but he's too dumb to follow the argument so he keeps posting the same meaningless gibberish.
2) That YankeeChickenShit is a hired troll doing legwork for the real big wignut dogs, and all of them together are too dumb to work out that their postings here are making absolutely zero contribution to furthering the wingnut goal of global brainwash?

Posted by: billy on March 30, 2007 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

El Rapier did capture the essentials of the purge. Rove and his theft of elections. He has not yet been held to account for subverting democracy. Frankly, when he is finally jailed (along with anyone from Coulter to Limbaugh predisposed to demonic civics), perhaps we can all rest for a bit. But like a true Stalinistm he must have the goods on everyone from David Gregory to Joe Lieberman. He may be the single most corrupt person in American history--and man that is a long list.

But, back to this black-hearted scandal, using the the power and intimidation of the Justice Department, Rove was going to steal the toss-ups states again and lock down any investigation--while ending the danger for himself and others tainted by rampant illegality. It is the obvious elephant in the room. He was also going to suck the life out of the Clinton campaign using Arkansas as the base again. Bereft of ideas, he decided to attack like he always does. Funny guy; just like his line about torturing small animals last night.

Posted by: Sparko on March 30, 2007 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK

I think everyone misses the point. This was Rove's way to ensure Republican dominance. It's about the 2008 elections. Read the NYT editorial that's in tomorrow's paper. The NYT got it right for once.

Posted by: This Machine Kills Fascists on March 30, 2007 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

Sampson's remark about Fitzpatrick is most telling, I think. Here he is in a meeting with Rove and Miers brainstorming which attorneys to fire. Of course the unspoken agenda is "which attorneys to fire who are political liabilites and how to replace them with GOP loyalist stooges." Why else would Sampson toss Fitzpatrick out there? They weren't compiling a list of middle-aged USA's of Irish descent. They were compiling a list of USA's who were making life uncomfortable for Republicans, or not uncomfortable enough for Democrats. Except when Sampson blurts out the most stupidly obvious of these, he's met with stone silence, as if they're telling him, "you dickhead, we can't be that obvious. What are you thinking?" Of course he regrets mentioning Fitzpatrick. It blew the cover off the whole thing.

Posted by: jonas on March 30, 2007 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

The 2008 elections have been articulated as the root cause. They over-reached a bit and also pulled some pay-back garbage.

American Hawk is punctuation between meaningful posts, except when he posts as Al and Egbert in consecutive appearances. A place-holder between pertinent and important posts!

Posted by: Sparko on March 30, 2007 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK

With all the scandals we've already seen come out of the Bush-Cheney Administration and the GOP Congress -- the lies to invade Iraq, the Pentagon-Israel spy case, the Valerie Plame leak, warrantless wiretapping, Cheney's energy task force, the Indian gaming scandal, Hookergate and Duke Cunningham, no-bid Halliburton contracts, the FBI use of NSLs, etc. -- this whole frigging USA 8 scandal is just the tip of the iceberg... part of the systematic abuse of a partisan Bushie government to influence elections using all the available levers of power (including the DOJ to go after Dems), to reward corporate cronies, and to thwart corruption investigations of Repubs. I wouldn't be surprised if money laundering, bribery, and fraud don't surface next within the WH with oversight of the MZM contract and Iraq reconstruction spending. Think as daCascadian notes: MUCH MUCH worse than Watergate.

Yep, way much worse. Worst presidency ever.

This is the RICO presidency.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on March 30, 2007 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK

ChickenHawk: Billy is a hired troll to do legwork for George Soros by creating the impression that people outside of the liberal blogosphere are rallying to the cause of incompetent civil servants?

Huh? You deduced all that simply from me calling you a moron? It doesn't even make sense. Moron.

Posted by: billy on March 30, 2007 at 12:41 AM | PERMALINK

daCascadian wrote "MUCH MUCH worse than Watergate."

In the words of the Watergator-in-chief, let me say this about that.

Don't forget that Nixon's administration participated in a huge, huge array of major scandals other than Watergate. Nixon illegally wiretapped telephones such as that of Morton Halperin. Nixon's plumbers illegally broke into Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office and left a mess to make it look like a burglary rather than a political fishing expedition. Not finding Ellsberg's file, they made plans to break into the psychiatrist's home. Nixon illegally ordered the FBI to investigate numerous "enemies" including then-CBS reporter Daniel Schorr. There was the Grain Deal aka the Wheat Deal, in which Nixon conspired to sell wheat to the Soviet dictatorship at low prices, causing U.S. consumers to pay higher prices for all wheat products while giving U.S. farmer none of the benefit, as most had already sold their grain without knowledge of the deal. This was engineered to benefit Continental Grain Company. And the Carpet Deal. And Maurice Stans' slush fund. These are just a few of the dozens and dozens of scandals that actually came to light, with obviously uncounted others that still remain buried.

But even subsuming all of Nixon's scandals into the rubric of "Waterate," I still agree with daCascadian. At least Nixon had the decency to recognize that there were some limits; he famously said "It would be wrong, that's for sure." Bush does not appear to have any moral center all, and there appears to be nothing he would not do to advance his political objectives, if he thinks he can get away with it. George W. Bush is much worse than Richard M. Nixon.

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on March 30, 2007 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

Least credible testimony: that neither Sampson nor anyone in his office kept a file on this issue.

This particular response was preceded by perhaps the longest pause before answering any question I saw in his entire day, and the only "Ummm..." that I recall him uttering.

Posted by: melior on March 30, 2007 at 12:54 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

He's lying. They would be taking a completely different tact if he was telling the truth. They are in an indefensible position.

Posted by: patience on March 30, 2007 at 1:01 AM | PERMALINK

I saw Mr. Sampson say Ms. Lam was fired, not because of an impending indictment against a Republican Rep from CA (the Honorable Jerry Lewis) but because she did not pursue illegal immigration vigorously enough. Mr. Sampson said that witout blinking or objection.

Posted by: Brojo on March 30, 2007 at 1:26 AM | PERMALINK

...that people outside of the liberal blogosphere are rallying to the cause of incompetent civil servants?

Posted by: American Hawk on March 30, 2007 at 12:21 AM | PERMALINK

chickenheart, intelligent comment is always welcome.

The problem is that you are so far out there, up y'uranus, and probably Rove's, that you don't bring any information, no argument, only specious drivel.

And you are not defending (grossly) "incompetent civil servants" so much as criminal political lackeys.

And (11:04 PM) you seem to have forgotten these dismissed US Attorneys are Republicans. Or at least they used to be.

When you have a coherent thought...Oh, never mind. Hasn't happened yet.

Posted by: notthere on March 30, 2007 at 1:29 AM | PERMALINK

TruthPolitik: "Suprise, Suprise Now that Iglesias is gone Democrats are getting indicted."

I checked out the URL you provided.

Please. Is that the best you can come with to gloat -- a former state senate president, his wife and former Albuquerque mayor? The only thing those clowns proved is that pecuniary self-interest is inherently non-partisan.

OK. As long as we're bringing up local stories about local miscreant public officials, let me drop you a link about what happened to the former Hawaii State House Minority Leader in the not-so-distant past. At least his conduct was consistent with the GOP's penchant for family values.

P.S.: The correct spelling is "surprise" -- not "suprise".

Posted by: Comrade Donald from the People's Republic of Hawaii on March 30, 2007 at 1:29 AM | PERMALINK

From the McClatchy press:

Last April, while the Justice Department and the White House were planning the firings, Rove gave a speech in Washington to the Republican National Lawyers Association. He ticked off 11 states that he said could be pivotal in the 2008 elections. Bush has appointed new U.S. attorneys in nine of them since 2005: Florida, Colorado, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Arkansas, Michigan, Nevada and New Mexico. U.S. attorneys in the latter four were among those fired.


Rove thanked the audience for "all that you are doing in those hot spots around the country to ensure that the integrity of the ballot is protected." He added, "A lot in American politics is up for grabs."

http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/16962753.htm

Posted by: JohnK on March 30, 2007 at 1:30 AM | PERMALINK

It is all well and good to pursue the current investigations. I'd like Congress to also interview under oath the last dozen or so USAs Bush appointed.

Posted by: JohnK on March 30, 2007 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

Apollo 13 >"...I wouldn't be surprised if money laundering..."

You are getting "warmer"...

Joel Rubinstein >"...George W. Bush is much worse than Richard M. Nixon."

MUCH MUCH worse (as are his partners & supporters in this activity)

Get comfortable with it !

"Politics is just high school with guns and more money" - Frank Zappa

Posted by: daCascadian on March 30, 2007 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

This particular issue aside, I've gotten really sick of the habit of most media to refer to any political scandal as "whatevergate."

Posted by: Thomas on March 30, 2007 at 1:34 AM | PERMALINK

Comrade Donald, I'd forgotten about that rediculous TruthPolitik post. Don't suppose he has any idea how long it takes to put an indictment together sometimes. When a USAtt'y takes 'em to court (s)he expects to nail their ass, so these have been coming down the pipe for quite a while; minimally, many months.

SpinPolitik scores zero points on that one.

Posted by: notthere on March 30, 2007 at 1:37 AM | PERMALINK

Brojo: "I saw Mr. Sampson say Ms. Lam was fired, not because of an impending indictment against a Republican Rep from CA (the Honorable Jerry Lewis) but because she did not pursue illegal immigration vigorously enough. Mr. Sampson said that witout blinking or objection."

And did you catch Sen. Dianne Feinstein nail Sampson to the mainsail on the rebound?

American Hawk: "Billy doesn't understand that there's information outside of the left blogopshere"

I know -- it's simply amazing what you can see on C-SPAN if you just give it a chance.

After Sen. Feinstein nailed Sampson to the mainsail, she laughingly pulled out a dull scalpel that belonged to her late husband, cut off Sampson's cojones -- such as they were -- with a slow sawing action while he screamed like the piglet he is, waved them before the applauding crowd, and then drank a cup of his blood before tacking them up as a trophy on the Senate hearing room wall.

Never try to out-bullshit a bullshitter, Hawk. You really ain't worth a damn at it.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on March 30, 2007 at 1:51 AM | PERMALINK

These US attorneys have become darlings of the left. They'll doubtless have long careers working for organizations like the ACLU, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and NAMBLA; all three always need lawyers. I wouldn't worry about them.

American Hick - you're not even coherent anymore. For Chrissake, you're "darlings of the left" are ALL REPUBLICANS, all prosecutors handpicked by the fucking Bush administration and you still won't consider for a moment the possibility that it is Bush who is corrupt. Nope, impossible. Hick's world would just *shatter* if he had to face the truth.

Bush? Corrupt? Incompetent? Perish the thought, and cover poor American Huck's ears while you're at it - I think he's having a meltdown, quite honestly.

Posted by: chuck on March 30, 2007 at 1:53 AM | PERMALINK

Ha Ha. American Hick. Like that one.

Posted by: billy on March 30, 2007 at 1:59 AM | PERMALINK

did you catch Sen. Dianne Feinstein nail Sampson to the mainsail on the rebound?

Unfortunately I missed that.

Posted by: Brojo on March 30, 2007 at 2:02 AM | PERMALINK

He also refused to say he understands that it was wrong.

The closest he would get was acknowledging that 'it gave the perception of having been presented wrong', or something similarly mealy-minded.

Posted by: cld on March 30, 2007 at 2:55 AM | PERMALINK

daCascadian: You are getting "warmer"...

Didn't the CPA "misplace" $12 billion in Iraq funding per a Bloomberg report on Feb. 6, 2007? Rep. Waxman:

"We have no way of knowing if the cash that was shipped into the green zone ended up in enemy hands,'' Waxman, a California Democrat, said at today's hearing. "We owe it to the American people to do everything we can to find out where the $12 billion went.''
Uh-huh.

And isn't Halliburton relocating their HDQs to Dubai? (U.A.E. has no extradition treaty with the U.S.) Dubai sure has undergone a remarkable transformation... luxury condos, hotels, the world's largest shopping center, tallest building, etc. ...what DDIMagazine described as a "Dynamo in the desert." Yeesh. Speculation on my part but still...

I can imagine all kinds of slush funds for various "projects" derived from looting the treasury. IMO, the RICO presidency makes Nixon look like a petty pickpocket.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on March 30, 2007 at 2:57 AM | PERMALINK

My favorite part was when Dianne Feinstein was asking why they didn't have the courtesy of informing Democratis 'home state' Senators - just the Republicans were notified, not the Dems - and he said that, because they were replacing Republican appointees with other Republican appointees, they didn't think the Democrats would much care.

All politics with these people, never any policy, never any actual governing. Just names on a list, boxes on a org chart. Why would a Democrat care who's the US Attorney in their state?

So when it comes time to replace one Republican Attorney General with another, you think the Dems may have an opinion about it, Kyle?

Oh, and my favorite quote of the day (I think I have it exactly, but....):
Kyle Sampson - "Let me precise...I don't remember ever being aware of anything like that."

Posted by: Robert Earle on March 30, 2007 at 3:03 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter Kid Sampson: US Attorneys serve at the pleasure of a thirtysomething political hack with a disorganized file drawer.

Posted by: RT on March 30, 2007 at 5:54 AM | PERMALINK

Bill Clinton fired the White House travel office employees, who were all political appointees, and an independent counsel was named and Republicans in Congress spent millions of our tax dollars investigating the reasons why. The White House travel office staff affected exactly zero common American's lives.

Alberto Gonzales, at the behest of Karl Rove, fired 9 U.S. attorney's, whose decisions impacted hundreds of common American lives and the Republicans want to spend exactly zero dollars investigating the reasons why.

Tell me again which political party is the party of moral relativism?

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on March 30, 2007 at 6:35 AM | PERMALINK

Some in congress have recommended an independent investigation into all this, another job for Patrick Fitzgerald, because he's not afraid to issue anyone a subpoena unlike Sen. Leahy, and as the best lawyer around, Fitz makes airtight legal arguments - he goes where Senator Leahy and rest of Dems are afraid to go.

Patrick might want might like another crack at the cloud over the Whitehouse. I like to see Patrick give it shot.

Posted by: Cheryl on March 30, 2007 at 8:00 AM | PERMALINK

The Devil's dilemma. Incompetence or corruption. Which is better?

The thing about the Bush Administration is, it's no longer a dilemma: You get both!

Posted by: Gregory on March 30, 2007 at 8:06 AM | PERMALINK

Incompetence doesn't exclude corruption; it aids it. It seems pretty clear to me that some of the USA's were added to the list for reasons of low politics. And the stunning lack of seriousness by which the project proceeded aided the corruption by ensuring that no one asked hard questions or documented what was going on.

Posted by: john on March 30, 2007 at 8:11 AM | PERMALINK

See Josh Marshall's excellent video summary of Tim Griffin, his background, and why he was chosen to be the USA in Arkansas and you'll know everything you need to know about WHY Rove/Bush/Cheney did this in key swing states. Hint: Bare-knuckle, vicious politics just may be involved. www.talkingpointsmemo.com

Posted by: Doofus on March 30, 2007 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

In 1992, GHW Bush political hacks were pressuring the USA in Little Rock to file charges against former S&L owners and naming the Clintons as witnesses. This would have wrongly tainted the Clintons with an S&L failure just before the election. At the time, USA Banks refused to go forward because he thought it was too political and might influence the election. What will Karl Rove's oppo research guy, Griffin do if the Dem nominee has ties to Arkansas and there is pressure to file charges just before the election?

Should we anticipate USAs filing numerous bogus charges against Democratic candidates just prior to the elections in 2008? Just asking.

Posted by: bakho on March 30, 2007 at 8:18 AM | PERMALINK

Bakho asked, "Should we anticipate USAs filing numerous bogus charges against Democratic candidates just prior to the elections in 2008? Just asking."

My money's on "Yes".

Posted by: Doofus on March 30, 2007 at 8:22 AM | PERMALINK

All illusions require misdirection. I am more worried about the other U.S. attorneys that did "play ball".
Bush has a tell, he immediately accuses others of his misdeeds and when asked he said "fishing trip".

Posted by: vampire77666 on March 30, 2007 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

How humiliating to have to testify publicly that Harriet Miers thinks you're an idiot.

Posted by: shortstop on March 30, 2007 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

DA has it right. The lack of documentation and process wasn't the result of incompetence, it was intentional.

Posted by: AndrewBW on March 30, 2007 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe someone's already made the point, but wasn't one of the reasons that the White House said they needed the provision in the Patriot Act because it would be disastrous to the war on terror to leave any USA position vacant awaiting the confirmation process?

If so, then isn't it strange that the administration [according to Sampson] doesn't have a list of replacements?

Doesn't this mean that the administration either lied about the need to quickly address vacancies when defending the Patriot Act provision, is lying now about having no list of replacements, or is utterly devoid of any concern for national security by its willingness to contradict its own claim that leaving the vacancies unfilled puts the nation at risk?

Shouldn't Sampson and Gonzales be harshly questioned about why no replacements were in place given their claims about the danger of leaving such vacancies unfilled?

Shouldn't they be asked how long they were going to allow these positions to remain unfilled before submitting nominations?

Shouldn't they be asked how removing an attorney, the top attorney, from each of seven regions without having a replacement ready was supposed to increase performance or even compliance with administration policies?

E.g., how was Lam's district supposed to prosecute more immigration violations with one less attorney and no leadership at the top?

This is the most surprising revelation to me, that after all the hand wringing about the need for the Patriot Act provision and GOP opposition to repealing it, the administration didn't act consistently with their reasons for supporting the provision and in any event were going to let seven USA divisions remain (for days, weeks, months?) without leadership and one less attorney to prosecute all these crimes they said weren't getting prosecuted.

It's just another brick in the GOP's wall of shame, dishonesty, and deceit.

Come on Senators, stick the knife in and twist it.

Do not let these twits get away with dissembling answers and explanations.

Posted by: anonymous on March 30, 2007 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

During his testimony Sampson said "I don't remember" (or some variation thereof) a total of 124 times. He also claimed, despite his apparently appalling memory, to have kept no files on the matter of firing USAs, just assorted scraps of paper in a drawer. While his amnesiac testimony & ad hoc filing system may have been intended to circumvent perjury charges, it reveals, if believed, a level of astonishing incompetence & staggering unprofessionalism, while, sadly, in no way eliminating the very real possibility of charges being levelled against him.

In one of the few areas where his memory didn't fail him (possibly because a paper trail existed to remind him) he admitted to writing a letter that misled Congress ( ooops!) & to approving testimony that was, well...actually untrue. His selective memory also served him well enough to fatally implicate Gonzales in USA sacking deliberations going back 2 years. ("I think his claims to the contrary were...uh...kinda inaccurate.") & to have recommended the firing of Patrick Fitzgerald. So, an incompetent, disloyal, mendacious, amnesiac with crap clerical skills is allowed to judge & potentially end the careers of outstanding USAs? How did this utter tool get any job, let alone the incredibly powerful one he held?

His equally inexplicably powerful cohort Goody "I'm pleading the Fifth" Gooding, is similarly an undistinguished thirty-something evangelette with a dazzlingly feeble grasp of jurisprudence. Having graduated in 1999 with a fifty cent degree from Pat Robertson's Voodoo Jesus Law, she landed, miraculously, with no CV to speak of, in the DoJ where, in record time, she blondely ajudicated between her Bushie & Not-Bushie-Enough betters.

Putting aside, for the moment, those that the Bush DoJ fired - what about these evangelincompetents they hired?

Talk about BUSH HITS FOR JESUS

I guess Rove means never having to say you're sorry

Posted by: DanJoaquinOz on March 30, 2007 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

The "which is worse" question implies it's one or the other, when it's both. They're woefully incompetent and systemically corrupt. In fact the only thing they're not incompetent at is corruption.

I also loved Sampson's repeated handwringing about the firings creating "a perception of partisanship." Kinda like how rain creates "a perception of dampness."

Posted by: sullijan on March 30, 2007 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

Putting aside, for the moment, those that the Bush DoJ fired - what about these evangelincompetents they hired? - DJO

Well, read the Salon piece on the systematic destruction of the Civil Rights section of DOJ where one of the few remaining areas of activity has been the dismantling of Church and State, and draw your own conclusions as to the intent.

http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/03/30/
civil_rights/


“Our form of democracy is bribery, on the highest scale.” - Gore Vidal

Posted by: MsNThrope on March 30, 2007 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

I think the most interesting and disturbing piece of information to come out of this is that Ms. "I take the fifth" Goodling doesn't even have a proper law degree or not one anyway that should land you a job at the Justice Department.

Posted by: JeffII on March 30, 2007 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

March 30, 2007 -- 09:24 AM EST // link)
House Dems strike deal for private testimony from Justice Department officials. -- Paul Kiel

From TPM.

After yesterday's testimony from Sampson (I never did catch taking hits of helium) I can't understand why they wouldn't push for public hearings. Gonzales is gone no matter what at this point, but I think he deserves to be grilled publicly.

Posted by: JeffII on March 30, 2007 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Hey MsNThrope -

Yeah, I read it. Spooky huh? All those Federalist Society & Jeezus Law types taking over the whole Civil Rights department, elbowing out the knowledgeable, brief-skilled career professionals...It'll take such a purge, post 2008 to get that department back up to speed & doing the work for which it was created.

On a related point, I've read a few, semi-ironic comments around the blogosphere saying "bring back John Ashcroft!", but one of the best things about that article was its' vivid recall of how
monumentally incompetent & deeply weird he was as AG: $13,000 drapes for Lady Justice's offending breasts, no mention of sinful "pride", prayer meetings in Ashcrofts office, replete with sing-a-long versions of his crypto-jingoist ditty "Soar Like an Eagle".

With this lot it's hard to know the frying pan from the fire....

Posted by: DanJoaquinOz on March 30, 2007 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Gonzales is gone no matter what at this point, but I think he deserves to be grilled publicly.
Posted by: JeffII

Over a nice hot mesquite fire, with or without marinade. Squeeze of lemon and just a dusting of coarse ground pepper.

Posted by: MsNThrope on March 30, 2007 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

sullijan: Kinda like how rain creates "a perception of dampness."

Nice.

Posted by: anonymous on March 30, 2007 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK
…rallying to the cause of incompetent civil servants? American fawk at 12:21 AM
Strange how all those 'incompetents' had good reviews and were replaced by political party hacks like Rove's boy and one of Abu Gonzo's minions cost taxpayer's 100 Mil U.S. Attorney Botches Biggest Ever Tax Fraud Case. Posted by: Mike on March 30, 2007 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

and just a dusting of coarse ground pepper.
Posted by: MsNThrope

Abu Gonzo is a Son of Texas. I bet he likes his BBQ hot! So make sure it's cayenne.

Posted by: JeffII on March 30, 2007 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Abu Gonzo is a Son of Texas. I bet he likes his BBQ hot! So make sure it's cayenne.
Posted by: JeffII

Cayenne burns up and gets extremely bitter under high temp. Better to use it in a sauce applied at the end.

Turn and baste. Turn and baste. Throw a few more chunks of mesquite on that fire please. Going for that really smoky flavor.

Posted by: MsNThrope on March 30, 2007 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Doyousolemnlysweartotellthetruthandnothingbutthetruthsohelpyougod?

Huh?

He's asking you if you swear...

Cointenly, I know all the words but I don't say'em.

Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk


Honestly,

Have the bushies watched too many 3-Stooges lately?

Is this government in competent hands?

Certainly, we're all incompetent!

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on March 30, 2007 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

How did this utter tool get any job, let alone the incredibly powerful one he held?

The hiring process:
Q: What qualifies you to do this job?
A: I love Jeeesus, voted for W, will do anything I'm told, and have no conscience.
Q: See you tomorrow

Please see:
Qualifications for critical CPA positions in Iraq.


Posted by: Dress Left on March 30, 2007 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

"I am more worried about the other U.S. attorneys that did "play ball"." Posted by: vampire77666 on March 30, 2007 at 8:43 AM

I've been listening for that myself.

I caught a glancing earfull of a story on one in New England that did play ball. That Democrat lost the election. Then, nothing more. No one was fired in New England. No investigations up there either that I could find.

And the senators who made those illegal calls to the USA's, any thing on them?

The tax payer should be ready to dispense funds for the erection of a special prison built to hold this administration's woeful load of criminal aides.

Posted by: Zit on March 30, 2007 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

Cheney's silence, Libby's memory, now Sampson's memory, Dubya just in general.

This gov'ment should be an abject lesson in the dumming down of 'Merica.

Title it:
When Idiots Govern
Dense and Densibility by Austin Tx
My Life as a Bush

I would like to understand what inspires such loyalty from the Republican underlings toward their errant leader?

High salaries, unearned positions, furthering the cause of God, his testosterone-laden machismo? I am not getting it that this many people endanger their jobs, lives, plain freedom in the case of Libby, to cover for Bush.

Posted by: Zit on March 30, 2007 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

I caught a glancing earfull of a story on one in New England that did play ball. That Democrat lost the election. Then, nothing more. No one was fired in New England. No investigations up there either that I could find.Posted by: Zit

If this was related to the phone jamming carried out by the RNC, I heard something about this prosecution now being questioned simply because it took them months and months to act on it.

Posted by: JeffII on March 30, 2007 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

I vote for corruptly incompetent ... or is it incompetently corrupt ?

Posted by: Jon on March 30, 2007 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

nepeta--yes there was a shut down at the Senate hearing. Something happening behind the scenes?
There was definitely an interuption that happened when John Kyl claimed that he had received a personal call from the attorney general on 12/7, and right as Senator Grassley was starting to speak some truth to power. Grassley susequently left.
Pat Leahy said that Grassley would pick up again after they returned...but I don't recall Grassley returning.

Wonder if the white house summoned these republicans as beans were being spilled....Kyl's admission certainly was significant.

Posted by: consider wisely always on March 31, 2007 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

Good morning. It's the soul's duty to be loyal to its own desires. It must abandon itself to its master passion. Help me! I find sites on the topic: Uwe tanning beds. I found only this - sunquest Tanning beds bulbs. If you do not tan in the sun, you are unlikely to tan from the use of this product. Fake baking now joins tobacco, hepatitis b, and chimney sweeping on the list of known causes of cancer. With love :cool:, Koto from Armenia.

Posted by: Koto on August 18, 2009 at 2:26 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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