Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Narrowly avoided Midnight Massacre, Part Trois

Remember a few months back, when we learned about the fateful night where the entire Department of Justice leadership prepared to resign to protest Bush's decision to continue warrantless wiretapping of American citizens without legal certification from DOJ? You know, the whole Ashcroft-on-his-death-bed thing?

Turns out that wasn't the only time this Administration faced mass resignations. Today, as part of the Washington Post's ongoing series, "Get to know the most secretive politician in American history: Dick Cheney!", we learn this:

When the FBI seized files from the office of Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.) as part of a bribery investigation, House Republican leaders erupted. With a number of their own members under investigation for other matters, they charged that the search violated the Constitution. They demanded the return of the files.

Cheney quickly gravitated toward the House's position, aides said, but Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales; his top deputy, Paul J. McNulty; and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III threatened to resign if forced to hand over evidence they believed had been properly collected under a warrant.

White House Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten called a meeting on May 25, 2006, to resolve the political and legal crisis. The president's lawyers and congressional liaison were in the room, and so was Cheney. Once again, it was the vice president who came up with a solution, according to a participant. Cheney's plan met his goal of keeping the files from federal investigators. The files would be placed under seal for 45 days. Within hours of the meeting, Bush made Cheney's recommendation official. As often happens in government, delay was decisive. Jefferson was indicted earlier this month on 16 counts of bribery, racketeering, fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice. But nearly half of the files remain off-limits, tied up in legal disputes.

So to recap: the DOJ executes a valid warrant, but the Administration decides it doesn't want Justice investigating corrupt politicians, and only the threat of mass resignation by the Attorney General, his deputy, and FBI Director Mueller (again) prevents a constitutional crisis.

Are mass resignations threatened weekly in the White House? Is that what it takes to get the Administration to bend on relatively obvious points?


Anonymous yolohawk said...

I thought it was strange when Jefferson got popped.
Who in the Bush reich would help out a Dem? And why would they? It figures the CONservatives had their hands in it.

Can you do a Tatupu tutorial? Or a Hackett brakett spread sheet?

9:53 PM  

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