Another shot in the dark

| March 16, 2007

I’ve been following this story about the Justice Department lawyers for a couple of days, but I’m still confused about what the big deal is. I even emailed the Washington Post reporters on Tuesday, Dan Eggan and Paul Kane, and mentioned the Clinton purge. Dan Egan emailed me back and tried to explain that they had mentioned the Clinton purge in their article, but that they were more focused on the Karl Rove connection and the political undetones of the firings.

Like there were no political motives in the Clinton purges. Sweetness and Light reprints the New York Times article about the Reno firings.

Well in their own article, on Page 2 this morning, Eggan and Kane admit that Rove was opposed to the firings;

The three e-mails also show that presidential adviser Karl Rove asked the White House counsel’s office in early January 2005 whether it planned to proceed with a proposal to fire all 93 federal prosecutors. Officials said yesterday that Rove was opposed to that idea but wanted to know whether Justice planned to carry it out.

Of course they (Kane and Eggan) don’t believe that.

The first e-mail, dated Jan. 6, 2005, is from a White House counsel’s office assistant. It indicates that Rove had stopped by that office to ask lawyer David Leitch whether a decision had been made to keep the U.S. attorneys in their jobs. The e-mail does not suggest that Rove advocated one outcome over another.

So if there’s no evidence he was opposed or not, then we must assume the worst (or best, depending on your perspective and who butters your bread).

And ABC News buries the fact that these firings are really no big deal in the middle of their story making a big deal of the firings;

Justice Department spokeswoman Tasia Scolinos said Gonazales “has no recollection of any plan or discussion to replace U.S. attorneys while he was still White House counsel.” She said he was preparing for his attorney general confirmation hearing and was focused on that.

“Of course, discussions of changes in presidential appointees would have been appropriate and normal White House exchanges in the days and months after the election as the White House was considering different personnel changes administration-wide,” Scolinos said.

Curt at Flopping Aces lays the whole thing out better than I.

Jon Ward at the Washington Times tells us that Howard Dean and Chuckie Schumer are taking advantage over the confusion the public has with this;

Democrats smell blood — and campaign cash — in the uproar over the Justice Department’s firing of eight federal prosecutors last year.
    “This could be George Bush’s Watergate,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean wrote in an e-mail soliciting campaign funds yesterday.
    Senate Democrats said their investigation into the firings is intended to preserve independence for federal prosecutors and keep them from being used as political foot soldiers for the executive branch.

If this is President Bush’s “Watergate”, is that all they’ve got? They get exercised over a non-covert CIA agent being “outed” (while her husband has been outing her all over town), some dusty buildings on an Army base and now this? If only they’d get this exercised about their own shortcomings. Like FBI files lost for years that suddenly turn up with the fingerprints of an unelected, uncommissioned person, or the travel office employees getting fired to pay off political allies.

Arlen Specter discovers he’s still a Republican and speaks out against Schumer’s conflict of interest in the Senate’s investigation;

Sen. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican, said Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, was using information gained in congressional inquiries he directed to attack Republicans through the Senate Democrats’ fundraising arm, which Mr. Schumer chairs.
    “I believe there is a conflict of interest between Senator Schumer’s position as chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the leader of this inquiry,” said Mr. Specter, the Judiciary Committee’s top Republican.
    Mr. Schumer rejected Mr. Specter’s criticism during a low-key but tense exchange in a Senate Judiciary Committee session.
    “I fail to see any conflict whatsoever,” said Mr. Schumer…

Yeah, well, we’re used to Little Chuckie Schumer not seeing a conflict of interest on his side of the aisle.

If ever there was “much ado about nothing”, this is it.

Category: Media, Politics

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