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Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) held hearings today on the FBI search of Rep. William Jefferson’s offices (D-LA).  You’ll recall that Sensenbrenner is still smarting over the WH dumping of the immigration bill in his lap — and now it may be time for a bit of payback.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner said Tuesday he will summon Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller before his panel to explain their decision to raid a lawmaker’s office for the first time in history.

"I want to have Attorney General Gonzales and FBI Director Mueller up here to tell us how they reached the conclusion they did," said Sensenbrenner, one of President Bush’s most loyal House allies. Sensenbrenner’s hearings, which began Tuesday, are examining whether the May 20 raid violated the Constitution.

Calling the decision to authorize the raid "profoundly disturbing," Sensenbrenner signaled that he would not be among the lawmakers backing off their criticism of the Bush administration….

At this point, I’m not sure anyone knows which end is up in all of this. Rep. John Conyers asked today why it was that Jefferson’s attorneys were not allowed to be present during the 18-hour search nor anyone from Congressional staff or legal. There was testimony today from Jonathon Turley and Bruce Fein which called the constitutionality of the warrants into question. Meanwhile, Sen. Bill Frist appears to have flipped his flop again on this.  And the threat of resignation from Gonzales, Mueller and others is still hanging out there — along with the Cheney support of Hastert. 

All I know is, when Sensenbrenner titles his series of hearings: "Reckless Justice: Did the Saturday Night Raid of Congress Trample the Constitution?," you know that the cat fight is on.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com