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Tilting at Windmills

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April 25, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

GOODLING GETS IMMUNITY....Excellent. I see that the House Judiciary Committee has voted to grant immunity to Monica "Fifth Amendment" Goodling so that she can testify under oath about Purgegate. Even a majority of the Republicans on the committee voted in favor.

Good for them. Goodling's refusal to testify has never seemed to be so much about genuine Fifth Amendment concerns as it was about the fact that she simply didn't think she should have to face tough questioning from a hostile panel. Unfortunately, the law doesn't say anything about that. It's time to get her under oath.

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Maybe if she gets her feelings hurt someone can give her a purple heart. Just like our wounded soldier W.

Posted by: other on April 25, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

I'm worried that Goodling will become the next "Ollie North" -- whose testimony to Congress was a) replete with omissions, b) allowed his co-conspirators to essentially get off free, and c) managed to make shredding the constitution look kewl.

Posted by: sdh on April 25, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

isn't she a Regent law grad? You'd think she could handle some tough questions. LOL

Posted by: haha on April 25, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Oops, linky dinky from above.

http://www.kdhnews.com/archives/results.aspx?sid=15367&q=purple+heart&t=def

Posted by: other on April 25, 2007 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

My guess is that the DoJ and the GOP courts will prevent Congress from granting Goodling immunity.

Posted by: Disputo on April 25, 2007 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm worried that Goodling will become the next Ollie North..."

I think this is a good observation. She's a true believer, and I don't imagine she's a shrinking violet. It'll be interesting to see how her memory compares with Abu G's.

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on April 25, 2007 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Predict she will not say anything significant in terms of incriminating anyone since her only world is Taliban Repukeanism. Can't jeopardize job offers from all dem Repukean law firms panting to hire her.

Posted by: Mellors on April 25, 2007 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Honestly, Goodling's youth and poor academic background will hurt her if she tries to be confrontational with the committee. Politicians are overwhelmingly second-rate intellects, by Goodling doesn't strike me as the sort of person who can really take them on toe-to-toe. I don't think she will go down as Ollie North. She'll either come across as an inexperienced professional in fear for her professional future or a wannabe combative witness completely and totally out of her depth.

Posted by: Tyro on April 25, 2007 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

As I understand it, she is immune from purgery charges, so the "under oath" bit is just a fig leaf. She can say whatever she wants.

Posted by: JoeBob on April 25, 2007 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Goodling's refusal to testify has never seemed to be so much about genuine Fifth Amendment concerns as it was about the fact that she simply didn't think she should have to face tough questioning from a hostile panel. Unfortunately, the law doesn't say anything about that.

That's exactly right, but the answer to that was not to give her immunity, but to prosecute her for contempt. Immunity is for overcoming legitimate assertions of the privilege. Still, I suppose in the interest of flipping the smaller fish to get to Rove, it's worth it.

Posted by: Glenn on April 25, 2007 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

What happens if she still answers truthfully that she "doesn't know" or "cannot recall" in response to questions about the firing of the US Attorneys?

Since Gonzales had no idea what was going on at DoJ, why should Goodling be any different? At least, with immunity her testimony before the Committtee cannot be used against her in any subsequent criminal prosecution.

Posted by: Chicounsel on April 25, 2007 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

As I understand it, she is immune from purgery charges, so the "under oath" bit is just a fig leaf. She can say whatever she wants.

You understand it wrong. She is immune to being prosecuted for any admissions of illegal behavior that she may admit in her testimony.

But if she knowingly lies under oath, she is most certainly NOT immune to perjury charges. In fact, I think you can pretty well count on it, if they can prove it.

Posted by: Ducktape on April 25, 2007 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

But if she knowingly lies under oath, she is most certainly NOT immune to perjury charges.

That's absolutely right. She is not immunized from any perjury she may commit in her testimony. See this link from a US DOJ Manual:

http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/eousa/foia_reading_room/usam/title9/crm01758.htm

Posted by: Glenn on April 25, 2007 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

But what's really important is, Democrat Politicians are Subverting The War On Terror and Undermining The Commander In Chief in a Time Of War by Revealing Secrets For Partisan Political Advantage and thereby Providing Aid And Comfort To America's Enemies and Letting Down The Troops.

Oh, and also they're shrill.

Posted by: bleh on April 25, 2007 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Chicounsel (being his usual dishonest self) >"What happens if she still answers truthfully that she "doesn't know" or "cannot recall" in response to questions about the firing of the US Attorneys?..."

There is sufficient evidence (read the emails) she DID know so any other testimony would be lying. Take your strawdolls and use them in a way that Sheryl Crow will be happy with your lack of use of toilet paper.

"Proof depends on who you are. We're looking for a preponderance of evidence, and some people need more of a preponderance than other people." - John Kantner

Posted by: daCascadian on April 25, 2007 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

I think Senate Democrats ought to be very careful with this witness. Browbeating a Bush Christian, although something I would enjoy seeing, will not play well to the platitude grasping American masses. This woman will play for that audience that believes there is a war against Christmas.

Posted by: Brojo on April 25, 2007 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Who gives a rat's ass about that 28% - the ones that are still yammering that the Democrats lost Vietnam crowd.

Fuck them and fuck her.

Pummel the piss out of the little bitch and make her cry.

Just because she looks like Tanya Harding's evil twin. That right there is reason enough.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 25, 2007 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

And for years we all assumed that Tanya was the evil twin....

Posted by: Disputo on April 25, 2007 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

This woman will play for that audience that believes there is a war against Christmas.

Even a lynching won't get evangelicals out to vote for Rudy or Walnuts.

Posted by: absent observer on April 25, 2007 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Since Gonzales had no idea what was going on at DoJ

So you're all in favor of Gonzo's resignation then Chicounsel?

Posted by: ckelly on April 25, 2007 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Tanya's just a white-trash thug. This bitch is way worse.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 25, 2007 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

This bitch is way worse.

Don't let Russell Simmons hear you using that kind of language.

Posted by: Glenn on April 25, 2007 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo,

I think they will, too. But I've been racking my brain to think of a way they will justify it. The only way I can think is to say that by nature of her position she had access to classified information that they do not want her to reveal, but even that is extraordinarily weak. How do you think they can justify denying her immunity?

Posted by: Noah on April 25, 2007 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

For one, she could not remember
stalling a probe of a GOP congressman? [not Mark Foley]
...Sources tell the Wall Street Journal that investigators had begun asking senior Justice Department officials to approve search warrants, subpoenas and the like in the Renzi case more than a year ago. A wiretap request was approved just before the November elections, but then somebody leaked its existence, thereby rendering the wiretap itself completely useless. As for other requests? The investigators faced "unexpected obstacles" in getting the search warrants and subpoenas, the Journal says, until after the 2006 elections were over....

Posted by: Mike on April 25, 2007 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Immunity should only be granted where the questioner has a very good idea of what the witness will say and how she will say it, and where there is no other practical way of getting that information into the record (which assumes that getting the information from THIS witness into the record is necessary.) I haven't gotten the impression that the Congressional Democrats have been able to find out with any great specificity what she will testify to, although they may know enough about her to make an estimate as to what sort of witness she will be (Ollie North or FEMA Brownie?) I also doubt they will have much access to her prior to testimony. In short, like others, I have concerns about the wisdom of immunity versus contempt proceedings.

Posted by: wihntr on April 25, 2007 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Remember, Goodling, through her shyster, claimed that she was asserting her privilege because she faced possible criminal prosecution for an "innocent" misstatement under oath (ala Scooter's conviction for his "innocent" lies).

But she still faces such a peril. If she makes a misstatement under oath, she can be prosecuted for perjury (among other things) regardless of her immunity for prior acts.

Her assertion of the privilege was made in bad faith, and she should have been held in contempt of Congress for that act alone. Unless she's promised Congress something extraordinary via a proffer, she doesn't deserve immunity. And unless that's the case, her testimony will be the same "I don't know" bullshit that we heard from Abu Gonazales.

Posted by: Roger Ailes on April 25, 2007 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

My guess is that the DoJ and the GOP courts will prevent Congress from granting Goodling immunity.

Um, how? They have no authority to do so. Congress is a co-equal branch of government and can give immunity to anyone it wants to.

Posted by: Stefan on April 25, 2007 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Since Gonzales had no idea what was going on at DoJ,

The DOJ plays a vital part in our glorious War on Terror (TM). If Gonzalez doesn't know what's going on in his own department, as Chicounsel admits above, doesn't that mean that he is thereby endangering our national security? If he can't be trusted to remember the simplest details about any meetings he has, what if the next meeting is about some grave terrorist threat and he simply forgets all about it? Surely someone with such a grave mental deficit shouldn't be in any position of trust when it comes to national security....

Posted by: Stefan on April 25, 2007 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

sdh nailed it - I sense a whitewash.

Posted by: craigie on April 25, 2007 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, Roger, Goodling does have a legitimate 5th Amendment claim, though her lawyer clouded the issue with a lot of crap to hide the real problem.

She briefed several DoJ officials who then testified on Capitol Hill. It appears likely that she coached them to tell lies, by providing them with false stories. That's a crime, and forcing her to answer questions about her witness-preparation efforts could expose her to prosecution.

But now she'll have to tell. She can say "I don't recall", but the very fact that she took the 5th before gets in her way, as she'll have to answer in detail as to what she was worried about.

Of course, she can pull a Gonzales: if she's willing to pretend to be an incompetent lawyer, she can pretend she doesn't understand her 5th Amendment rights and say she was just afraid the committee would make her look bad.

Posted by: Joe Buck on April 25, 2007 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Perjury is the one crime immunity does not protect you from. This was always a question with me -- how could her attorney (also a Regent grad?) suggest that she was taking the Fifth to avoid a perjury trap? Immunity from prosecution only applies to any crime she admits to when she testifies truthfully. If her crime were to consist of testifying UNtruthfully to the Committee, the immunity wouldn't protect her from it.

I like it. It's a Catch-22 as far as she's concerned. And she's caught in it now, with all the implications of the Fifth that she has something to hide.

Posted by: Cal Gal on April 25, 2007 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Congress is a co-equal branch of government and can give immunity to anyone it wants to.

Doesn't it have to be approved by the DC circuit?

Posted by: Disputo on April 25, 2007 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

Could someone point out to godly Miss Goodling that the bible is actually against deceit (E.g., Acts 13:8-12, the rest of the goddamn book). ...and that all governments are established by God and must be obeyed (Rom 13:1-5).

Posted by: absent observer on April 25, 2007 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Doesn't it have to be approved by the DC circuit?

According to the 18 USC 6005, an immunity order has to be issued by a US district court. It says it could be any one, but practically speaking I'm sure that means the D.C. District Court. The only finding the statute says the Court has to make is that it was properly authorized, i.e., by 2/3 of the relevant committee. The AG is entitled to an automatic 20-day deferral by the court upon request.

Statute here:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00006005----000-.html


Posted by: Glenn on April 25, 2007 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

From where I sit I don't see what this gets justice. She get's off scott free, and the chances of her giving any useful testimony or blowing the lid off the Whitehouse's illegal strategy in the whole affair as opposed to lying and obstructing with impunity would seem like zero to me. Wish that weren't the case.

Posted by: Trypticon on April 25, 2007 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Me three. Make her cry cry cry, and don't let her pull an Ollie. She might be young and pretty and sympathetic (Not to me, and I've never seen her picture). But she's got a Leona Helmsley reputation. And I so enjoyed watching that crybaby digrace herself on national television.
She could be a really dumb too. I would love to see her selfdestruct under questioning. I'm sure it would play badly to the wingnuts, but I REALLY want to see Barney Frank smack down that harridan. Is there any way that can be arranged?

Posted by: jussumbody on April 25, 2007 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK
Perjury is the one crime immunity does not protect you from. This was always a question with me -- how could her attorney (also a Regent grad?) suggest that she was taking the Fifth to avoid a perjury trap?

As long as there is an actual concern of incrimination with regard to past actions (which he did identify), there is nothing improper about identifying other concerns which, whether or not they justify the assertion of the 5th Amendment privilege on their own, explain why his client chooses to exercise the privilege they are entitled to based on the actual concern of incrimination which makes the privilege available.


Posted by: cmdicely on April 25, 2007 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

I think people are making too much of the Evangelical Law School. Iglesias, the saint du jour, went to an Evangelical college.

I have such fond memories of Watergate and its bunch of wicked Fordham lawyers. I am hoping that the next scandal will be "The Return of the Jesuits"

Posted by: Bostonian in Brooklyn on April 25, 2007 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

there is nothing improper about identifying other concerns which, whether or not they justify the assertion of the 5th Amendment privilege on their own, explain why his client chooses to exercise the privilege they are entitled to based on the actual concern of incrimination which makes the privilege available.

Except it is wholly improper to refuse to appear based on the Fifth, rather than to appear and refuse to answer those questions that might be incriminating. Her attorney's claims about bias, etc., could not justify that refusal, which was as clear a case of contempt as you are likely to find -- or would be, if they had actually subpoenaed her.

Posted by: Glenn on April 25, 2007 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK
I think people are making too much of the Evangelical Law School. Iglesias, the saint du jour, went to an Evangelical college.

So? The issue with Regent is not simply that it falls into the larger category of "Evangelical schools".

Wheaton College is quite different from Regent University.


Posted by: cmdicely on April 25, 2007 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

I think people are making too much of the Evangelical Law School. Iglesias, the saint du jour, went to an Evangelical college.

False equivalence.

Iglesias went to Wheaton College, a respected school that has been around for almost 150 years, for his *undergrad* work, not to some Pat Robertson academy started 10 years ago for *law* *school*, like Goodling did.

Iglesias went to a real school to study law, the University of New Mexico.

Posted by: Disputo on April 25, 2007 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Good for them.

Let's hope that they work it better this time than when they granted immunity to Oliver North and John Poindexter. They lost the PR/political war, and then the criminal convictions were overturned. If they are going to grant immunity, they need to make Goodling take the 5th dozens of times, not just twice, before she gets immunity.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on April 25, 2007 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

You have to feel good seeing all aWol's little people lawyer up. Maybe she can dip into her tax cut money.

Posted by: Rula Lenska on April 25, 2007 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

BGRS(GC): Pummel the piss out of the little bitch and make her cry.

Yes, but be smart about it. She might be as dumb as lawn-mower clippings (or maybe smart, I don't know), but she will have retained counsel. The Democrats blew the North and Poindexter hearings by being too smug to be careful and thorough. North and Poindexter were guilty of worse crimes, but sloppiness by the Democrats led to the overturning of both convictions.

If it gets to the point where it looks like they are more interested in scoring political points (as they certainly are) than in doing the public good (as they certainly are as well), then they'll lose the political points they seek to gain. They can be too attuned to what plays in their own districts.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on April 25, 2007 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

Why is she worried about the risk to herself? Bush will pardon her in the event that she is indicted for a crime.

Posted by: Brittain33 on April 25, 2007 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Still waiting for Norm, E-L to tell us how this is fantastic news for Gonzo and the administration.

C'mon guys, i'm looking for my daily does of argumentative jujitsu.

Posted by: Simp on April 25, 2007 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK
…North and Poindexter were guilty of worse crimes, but sloppiness by the Democrats led to the overturning of both convictions.…MatthewRmarler at 5:08 PM
For you info, Oliver North was convicted and…He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gerhard A. Gesell on July 5, 1989, to a three-year suspended prison term, two years probation, $150,000 in fines, and 1,200 hours community service.However, on July 20, 1990, with the help of the ACLU (see [1]), North's conviction was overturned by a three-judge appeals panel in advance of further proceedings on the grounds that his public testimony may have prejudiced his right to a fair trial…

That three judge panel included Judge Laurence H. Silberman and Judge David Sentelle, both conservative extremists. The vote was 2-1.
So, no, it wasn't Democratic errors that lead to the conviction being overturned. It was a political coup by the highly partisan judges, both of whom managed to disgrace themselves later by their appointment of dirtbag Kenneth Starr.

Posted by: Mike on April 25, 2007 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK
Why is she worried about the risk to herself? Bush will pardon her in the event that she is indicted for a crime.

Well, see, I doubt that Bush would pardon her if she testified honestly, and that has to be the source of the risk if the 5th is invoked.

Now, Bush might pardon her for perjury if she lied her butt off to protect the Administration, but if she was going to do that, the only reason for the song-and-dance about the 5th Amendment would be delay. Not, of course, that that's not a credible explanation.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 25, 2007 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Could someone point out to godly Miss Goodling that the bible is actually against deceit" Posted by: absent observer on April 25, 2007 at 3:07 PM

Yeah, and Jesus preached peace while Bush, who got elected partially on his Christianity, won't turn off the war spigot.

Biblical manipulation is historical because it takes so little effort. Anyone can find just the right passages in the Good Book to distort the true message enough to advocate any purpose one chooses for oneself. I mean if you really really believe that your actions are lending to the greater betterment of our fine country and mankind general, there is nothing you cannot do, no act you cannot commit, that God hasn't sanctioned, via that age-old trick of taking a verse or two out of context.

I bet both of them are perfectly capable, Bush and Goodling, of applying the best light of good intention to all their personal actions and "sacrifices". Heck, Bush's displays of ridicule to Democrats and Dissenters is just putting the heathen in their place.

But if the unconverted can't tell the saved from the unsaved... politics, war, law, religion, what hasn't this administration polluted?

Posted by: Zit on April 25, 2007 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

with the help of the ACLU

When did they become right-wingers.

The Democratic Congress was sloppy. the prosecutor requested that they go slowly and not provide immunity for any charges before he had built an independent case. Instead, they granted immunity, and the prosecutor was unable subsequently to show that he had accrued the evidence independent of the testimony. Otherwise ACLU would not have represented North, and the conviction would not have been overturned.

My main concern for now is that the Democratic Congress not repeat the error. I mentioned two errors. First, they granted immunity. Second, they let North plead the 5th only twice. They should have made him say that about 20-50 times before granting immunity, to drive home the point that he was covering up probable crimes and not acting in the public interest. If they are going to give Goodling a grant of immunity, they need to be sure that they can really nail her in the hearing. either that, or get really good testimony on the crimes of others.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on April 25, 2007 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

Just because she looks like Tanya Harding's evil twin. That right there is reason enough.

I knew that there was something that looked sleazy about her. Will she get Karl to try and break some Dems leg?

Posted by: Ex - Republican Yankee on April 25, 2007 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with those who fear the granting Goodling immunity will be a poor move for Democrats and the country in the long run.

Lawrence Walsh made it very clear that he was against immunity for Oliver North from day one. Years later, with the advantage of hindsight (he wrote his book Firewall in 1997), he thought it hurt his investigation and prosecution(s) very significantly.

I want the truth to come out and I want anyone who committed crimes to pay.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on April 25, 2007 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

Why is she worried about the risk to herself? Bush will pardon her in the event that she is indicted for a crime.


I'm sure Wonder Boy has never even heard of this woman, and probably never will unless she really drops a bombshell.

She's one of the little people who magically keep things working, pick up the kleenexes and wind the clocks.

Posted by: cld on April 25, 2007 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

she's hot. she can cash in now and do a spread on Penthouse. who was that other bimbo.. Olie Norths' assistant that did that.

Posted by: jim on April 25, 2007 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

Fawn Hall

Posted by: Disputo on April 25, 2007 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

she's hot. she can cash in now and do a spread on Penthouse. who was that other bimbo.. Olie Norths' assistant that did that.

She is more likely to become an adult film star with a name like Goodling.

Posted by: MLuther on April 25, 2007 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like she is could end up with law license problems. Immunity may get her out of any criminal problems, but law licenses issues are another matter. I hope she still doesn't owe money on a school loan. It'd be a bitch to owe money for a decree for which you don't have a license.

Posted by: Bill jensen on April 25, 2007 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

Pummel the piss out of the little and make her cry

It would be better to do that while she was taking the Fifth. I think it would have been better to subpoena her and make this trusted presidential employee and Robertson Christian sit there taking accusations while claiming her right not to implicate herself.

Posted by: Brojo on April 26, 2007 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

the Democrat party has decided to prosecute their political enemies

Then maybe the Republicans should stop with the criminal acts, hm?

Posted by: Gregory on April 26, 2007 at 7:52 AM | PERMALINK

Ducktape says: "She is immune to being prosecuted for any admissions of illegal behavior that she may admit in her testimony."

Uh ... how can Congress grant immunity from prosecution? The decision of whether to prosecute someone lies in the executive branch, not in the Congress, and Congress can't tell the executive branch what to (or, in this situation, what not to do) -- not without passing a law, anyway. Or have I missed something about separation of powers?

Posted by: Bob on April 26, 2007 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Bob, it's not transactional immunity, it's use immunity -- Goodling's testimony cannot be used against her. She can still be prosecuted if there is sufficient additional evidence beyond her own testimony. And Congress did pass a law on this, it's 18 USC 6001-6005.

Posted by: Glenn on April 26, 2007 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK
She want immunity because the Democrat party has decided to prosecute their political enemies.

The Democratic Party can't, at the federal level, prosecute anybody. That's an executive power held solely by whatever party holds the White House, at least since the expiration of the statute that empowered Ken Starr.

If she was afraid of baseless partisan prosecution, rather than actual self-incrimination, she must have been afraid of Fredo, not the Democrats.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 26, 2007 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

The House Judiciary Committee voted 32-6 to grant her immunity--how tremendously significant. A subpeona will await her if she refuses to testify.
And of course the pResident thought Alberto Gonzales did a great job testifying on capitol hill as he endlessly stonewalled and used the Libby defense. Bad memories flourish in this administration. Heck of a job, Gonzo.

Posted by: consider wisely always on April 26, 2007 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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