Seven Degrees from Normal

Two people, eighteen years of marriage, seven college degrees.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Aw, no Saturday night massacre?

This is fascinating:
A Defiant Stance In Jefferson Probe
Justice Dept. Talked of Big Resignations If White House Agreed to Return Papers

By Dan Eggen and Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Justice Department signaled to the White House this week that the nation's top three law enforcement officials would resign or face firing rather than return documents seized from a Democratic congressman's office in a bribery investigation, according to administration sources familiar with the discussions.

The possibility of resignations by Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales; his deputy, Paul J. McNulty; and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III was communicated to the White House by several Justice officials in tense negotiations over the fate of the materials taken from Rep. William J. Jefferson's office, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
No way will I be able to sort through this, but here are a couple of observations:
  • Unlike Nixon, Bush is caving in.
  • The small amount I've read by Fourth Amendment experts indicates there isn't a Constitutional issue here; it should be legalto raid a Congressional office if there is evidence that a crime was committed there.
  • Thus, it seems likely that the hysteria on the part of Hastert and the other Republicans (Cheney's office is apparently a major player in trying to get the documents returned) has more to do with skeletons in their own closets than with love of the Constitution.
  • I would believe Hastert's charge that someone leaked rumors about his involvement with the Abramoff scandal in an effort to intimdate him on this issue. The question is, who? The DOJ has already publicly declared the rumor false, and Cheney appears to be on his side. Perhaps there are now multiple, competing smear machines operating within the White House?
  • Alberto Gonzalez standing up to Bush? WTF?
Also, I read an opinion piece a couple of weeks ago (I apologize for losing the link trail) that noted Nixon's biggest mistake was trying to use the CIA to shut down the FBI's Watergate investigation. It's clear something similar is going on now, though the Bush White House appears to have far less control over things than Nixon did.

It's a good thing they don't have anything more important to do right now.


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