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Video of Comey Testimony:
Talking Points Memo has posted the video containing the key parts of James Comey's testimony here.
Bobbie (mail):
After Gonzalez's deplorable behavior, the President promotes him to Attorney General. Incredible. I'm surprised he didn't give him the medal of freedom.

What could the President have been thinking when either he or somebody at his request called Mrs. Ashcroft? What person does such a thing?

And to what end? What if Ashcroft signed off on the program. Since he wasn't the AG, his signature wouldn't have meant anything.

Stunning. This whole thing is stunning.

Can anyone defend this?
5.16.2007 3:46pm
Kovarsky (mail):
Bobbie,

(1) Ashcroft was not that sick

(2) Gonzalez and Card were only going because Comey's rejection of the program was unanticipated, and they weren't sure Ashcroft had signed off on it

(3) The President cleared it all up once he understood what was going on

(4) Card did not necessarily call Mrs. Ashcroft at the President's request

(5) We must stop the terrorists in their tracks
5.16.2007 3:54pm
r78:
I'd bet that within the next 24 hours there will be either a) news of the capture of some alleged terrorist poo-bah, or b) release of pictures of Comey at a NAMBLA convention or something.

The only thing the Bush Administration can do is to try to push this off the page . . .
5.16.2007 3:56pm
IdiotWatch (mail):
Um, Kovarsky, you're wrong on each count. Wow. Thank god all VCers aren't that thick.
5.16.2007 3:58pm
Martin Ammorgan (mail):
Actually, Kovarsky, Card told Comey they went to the hospital strictly to wish Mr. Ashcroft well. Though I agree your lie is a little smoother.
5.16.2007 4:04pm
Bobbie (mail):
IdiotWatch, I think he's being sarcastic.

Is there anyone publicly responding critically to Comey? I'd be interested to hear how this can be put in a more favorable light.
5.16.2007 4:05pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Kovarsky, if you're going to be ironic, don't leave out "Clinton did it too."
5.16.2007 4:15pm
Ramza:
Yes Ashcroft being in the ICU and he wasn't that sick *rolleyes*
5.16.2007 4:16pm
Oren (mail):

Gonzalez and Card were only going because Comey's rejection of the program was unanticipated, and they weren't sure Ashcroft had signed off on it


Ashcroft's signoff is irrelevant - Comey was acting AG.



We must stop the terrorists in their tracks


At all costs? Is there absolutely no notion in the proponents of the war on terror that counter-terror programs might have costs and well as benefits? Do you consider that, in some cases (I can dream on up) the costs might be greater than the benefits?
5.16.2007 4:20pm
MikeC&F (mail):
Kovarsky: That is brilliant, if not entirely obvious, sarcasm. Your sarcasm is non-obvious only because we will undoubtedly see someone at "The Right Coast" blog make those very same arguments.
5.16.2007 4:22pm
Bobbie (mail):
This is going to quickly devovle into a million responses to Kovarsky. Either he's being sarcastic or he's a troll. Either way, he's not worth the million responses.
5.16.2007 4:22pm
Crust (mail):
What to do with respect to Gonzales? It seems that he won't resign or be fired, come what may. So that only leaves impeachment. Impeachment itself only requires a simple majority in the House, but conviction would take 67 votes in the Senate.
5.16.2007 4:22pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
So that only leaves impeachment. Impeachment itself only requires a simple majority in the House, but conviction would take 67 votes in the Senate.

I think *not* trying to impeach sets a terrible precedent -- "you can b.s. the Congress as you like and face no consequence."

Even a failure to convict would make the experience such that others might hesitate to repeat it.

Whether 16 GOP Senators would jump ship is hard to tell, but if they'd throw anyone overboard, AG AG is he.
5.16.2007 4:26pm
guest:
What shocked me is that atthe end of the story, DOJ had won the internal debate and "fixed" whatever needed to be fixed to make the program legal. Given the level of lawlessness I've come to expect, this was positive news.

The Bush administration caved and a make a secret program somewhat more legal. He must love the terrorists.
5.16.2007 4:28pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
The Bush administration caved and a make a secret program somewhat more legal.

As Jukeboxgrad pointed out last thread, Bush had no choice. Can you imagine if Ashcroft and Mueller had both resigned the same day in the 2004 campaign?

Who knows, the NYT might even have run its NSA story *before* the election.
5.16.2007 4:32pm
MikeC&F (mail):
As Jukeboxgrad pointed out last thread, Bush had no choice. Can you imagine if Ashcroft and Mueller had both resigned the same day in the 2004 campaign?

Exactly. It wasn't a respect for rule of law that motivated Bush. It was his own respect for his own rule of man.

I truly thought no one could outdo the Clintons - whitewater, filegate, Monica, Ruby Ridge, etc. Wow, was I ever wrong.
5.16.2007 4:37pm
Martin Ammorgan (mail):
Precisely MikeC&F! In 1994, if you wanted to bet me that 1. Mrs. Clinton would be a 2008 candidate and 2. I'd be willing to vote for her(!), well, you'd have my net worth in your pocket.
5.16.2007 4:50pm
byomtov (mail):
he's not worth the million responses.

He's worth something. He both summarized and refuted the expected talking points in a brief comment. Think of the bandwidth saved.
5.16.2007 4:51pm
Just an Observer:
What to do with respect to Gonzales? It seems that he won't resign or be fired, come what may. So that only leaves impeachment.

Interpreting Comey's narrative so narrowly as to imply that the only thing important here is Gonzales' tenure in office as AG is simply the wrong paradigm. One reason he has been left in office is to act as a sacrificial anode to distract criticism while Bush runs out the clock.

It is time for a special counsel, empowered to follow the trail wherever it leads. Getting that process started should be the immediate goal of political action.

Meanwhile, the Senate should renew its oversight investigation of the unlawful domestic surveillance program and how it came to be, which has been overshadowed recently by the other odious practices at Bush's DOJ.
5.16.2007 4:53pm
magoo2 (mail):
Did anyone ask Comey why he didn't come forward with this information during the AG's confirmation hearing? I believe he was still at DOJ, but given how appalling Gonzales's behavior was, why not resign and provide the details in a timely fashion?
5.16.2007 4:54pm
Kovarsky (mail):
I'd point out that my (1) was already Snow's talking point, I suppose, when he said: "Because he had an appendectomy, his brain didn't work?"
5.16.2007 4:55pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
N.b. that for Tony Snow, who has been diagnosed with fairly serious cancer, to toss out such glib lines, is ... well, what would you call that, actually? Adjectives fail me.
5.16.2007 4:57pm
Katherine (mail):
"It is time for a special counsel, empowered to follow the trail wherever it leads. Getting that process started should be the immediate goal of political action."

Doesn't that require Gonzales' departure?

I'd sure like to hear from Philbin, Goldsmith, and Mueller first though.
5.16.2007 5:01pm
Oren (mail):

What to do with respect to Gonzales?


(1) Censure would be sufficient and could be passed in the Senate.

(2) The dismantling of the unitary DoJ. I can't find any precedent or principle that prevents Congress from vesting some positions within the DoJ with statutory independence from the normal chain of command.
5.16.2007 5:01pm
Steve P. (mail):
Because he had an appendectomy, his brain didn't work?

This is an especially odd quote from Tony Snow, since AG Ashcroft was in the hospital for pancreatitis.
5.16.2007 5:11pm
Crust (mail):
JaO:

Interpreting Comey's narrative so narrowly as to imply that the only thing important here is Gonzales' tenure in office as AG is simply the wrong paradigm.

Absolutely, and I didn't mean to imply that, I was just asking that specific question. In addition to impeachment, censure and appointing a special counsel, I suppose disbarment is a possibility. (At least I would think disbarment should disqualify Gonzales as AG. Perhaps not?) Or of course a combination of these.
5.16.2007 5:17pm
Eli Rabett (www):
There is another path, disbarment. There are lots of grounds.
5.16.2007 5:19pm
Crust (mail):
Anonymous Liberal on the sick Ashcroft:
Not only was [Gonzales] attempting to circumvent James Comey's lawful authority as the acting Attorney General, but he was seeking to have someone who'd had major surgery the day before and who was heavily-medicated, execute an important legal document. That's an incredibly shady thing to do, the kind of thing that can get an attorney sanctioned or disbarred.
5.16.2007 5:21pm
Crust (mail):
Eli, great minds think alike (and fools seldom differ).
5.16.2007 5:22pm
Just an Observer:
"It is time for a special counsel, empowered to follow the trail wherever it leads. Getting that process started should be the immediate goal of political action."

Doesn't that require Gonzales' departure?


Not necessarily. It does require political pressure on the President.

Nobody had to resign to get Patrick Fitzgerald appointed, although the attorney general and his deputy at the time obviously had a greater sense of honor than Gonzales and his boss.

I just think it is more actionable to call for a special counsel than simply to chant "Gonzales must go" when Bush has already shown he will stonewall that one. Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee should ramp up its own oversight investigation.

Perhaps, heaven forbid, some responsible Republican voices might join the call to clean this mess up.
5.16.2007 5:23pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Perhaps, heaven forbid, some responsible Republican voices might join the call to clean this mess up.

Perhaps McCain, Specter, and Graham will sponsor a bill requiring the AG to tell the truth to Congress, and immunizing all sitting AG's for any lies they may have told in the past ...
5.16.2007 5:30pm
Steve:
Wow, Anderson. A+ for that snark.
5.16.2007 5:44pm
Crunchy Frog:
JaO: are you seriously implying that Fitzgerald's appointment was a Good Thing?

Anyone ever notice that it's always <i>former </i>officials that come out with this stuff, right around election time?

Chuckie Schumer's fingerprints are all over this.

p.s. Whenever the MSM starts describing someone as "straight as an arrow" it's time to hide your wallet.

<waiting for inevitable flames to follow>
5.16.2007 5:49pm
Katherine (mail):
Anderson--they also need to strip the courts of the jurisdiction to hear perjury cases. Our security demands nothing less.
5.16.2007 5:51pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
right around election time?

I don't think this is really meant to influence the Mississippi gubernatorial race ...
5.16.2007 5:52pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Katherine -- *such* attention to detail! Have you considered switching parties?
5.16.2007 5:53pm
Kovarsky (mail):
P.S. -

Who is the MSM, and where do they meet to systematically implement hierarchical decisions? Inquiring minds want to know.
5.16.2007 5:59pm
Bobbie (mail):
Crunchy Frog, we're almost as far away from the national elections are you can be. What isn't "right around election time"?
5.16.2007 5:59pm
uh clem (mail):
I truly thought no one could outdo the Clintons - whitewater, filegate, Monica, Ruby Ridge, etc.

In an amazing and unprecedented abuse of presidential power, Clinton managed to pull off Ruby Ridge in August 1992, months before he'd even been elected, let alone innaugurated. Proof positive that you can never trust the Clintons! They'll stop at nothing.

//
//Not quite as good as Kovarsky, unfortunately...
5.16.2007 6:13pm
Kovarsky (mail):
I want to apologize publicly for failing to lob in some incoherent remark, ignoring obvious differences in magnitude of malfeasance, about how the Clintons are bad.
5.16.2007 6:38pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
I want to apologize publicly for failing to lob in some incoherent remark, ignoring obvious differences in magnitude of malfeasance, about how the Clintons are bad.

Indeed, you should be ashamed of yourself.
5.16.2007 7:11pm
SP:
"Your sarcasm is non-obvious only because we will undoubtedly see someone at "The Right Coast" blog make those very same arguments."

I'd actually be surprised if they made those arguments, and I wonder if you've ever actually read that blog.
5.16.2007 9:18pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
"Bart DePalma," serial commenter at Balkinization, has trotted out a few of Kovarsky's chestnuts.
5.16.2007 10:26pm