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So much for that illusion of fiduciary duty to the American public being more important than propping up the Bush White House and the Republican Party:

The electronic messages, some written as recently as last month, offer a rare and almost contemporaneous account of the tactics used by a sitting administration trying to manage a political firestorm.

One e-mail message shows the White House urging the Justice Department to call Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, to give him information about the placement of J. Timothy Griffin, a former aide to Karl Rove, as the interim United States attorney in Arkansas.

“WH political reached out to Sen. Sessions and requested that he ask helpful questions to make clear that Tim Griffin is qualified to serve,” said a January 2007 e-mail message from Monica Goodling, a former senior aide to Mr. Gonzales, to other department officials. “Here are the talkers on Griffin, as well as a narrative that can be used by staff, and his résumé. I think it would actually be helpful for all of the Rs to have it.”

It was not clear whether the “talkers," shorthand for talking points, were sent to Mr. Sessions and other “Rs,” or Republicans. But Mr. Sessions, in a later hearing on the matter, ran through all of the highlights, praising Mr. Griffin’s résumé, just as the White House and Justice had apparently requested.

Some coordination is to be expected. This is politics, after all. But when questions about how the Bush White House, the Department of Justice and Rove's political shop are trying to politicize the nation's system of justice, lie to Congress, and subvert their investigation by tampering with evidence, among many others are raised…wouldn't you think that Republican lawmakers might have some smidgen of feeling that the American public deserves more than another sloppy coating of whitewash?

And is it too much to ask that when a news show is interviewing Republican members of the Judiciary Committee, say Arlen Specter or Lindsey Graham or Jon Kyl who all appeared on this morning's shows, that the interviewer might ask if the words dripping so blithely from their mouths were written for them by the White House?  I always assume there is some collusion on this sort of thing, but isn't it incumbant on the interviewer to ask the question — to get that person on the record on this, now that it is out there in the reporting, laying right out there on the table for anyone to examine if they care to do so?

Or is even the slightest bit of integrity and independence too much to ask from Republican members of Congress these days?  Have we just all decided that expecting more from them — expecting some sense of fiduciary duty to the public's interest or commitment to something higher than their own power grab — is just an exercise in futility?  Here's to a whole lot more sunshine…on the entire festering mess.

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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