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AG Gonzales Testimony, Part V

puppet.jpg(Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is testifying today before the House Judiciary Committee. The committee website is streaming video and C-Span3 is broadcasting it as well. During liveblogging, please stay on topic in the comments, and please try to hold yourself back from extraneous comments where possible to be kind to our servers. Thanks! — CHS)

Well well well.  Looks like Christy was on to something when she noticed Abu dancing on the head of a pin when he said he had "reviewed the documents available to Congress."  According to Murray Waas, seems like there were a few others:

Several of the e-mails that the Bush administration is withholding from Congress, as well as papers from the White House counsel's office describing other withheld documents, were made available to National Journal by a senior executive branch official, who said that the administration has inappropriately kept many of them from Congress.

The senior official said that Gonzales, in preparing for testimony before Congress, has personally reviewed the withheld records and has a responsibility to make public any information he has about efforts by his former chief of staff, other department aides, and White House officials to conceal Rove's role.

"If [Gonzales] didn't know everything that was going on when it went down, that is one thing," this official said. "But he knows and understands chapter and verse. If there was an effort within Justice and the White House to mislead Congress, it is his duty to disclose that to Congress. As the country's chief law enforcement official, he has a higher duty to disclose than to protect himself or the administration."

Wouldn't it be great if someone slipped a note to someone on the Committe and asked him about it. 

*******

FRANKS (R-AZ) — We're sorry we're making it so hard for you to protect America by conducting this witch hunt.  Abu says the department has been politicized as if it hasn't been a damn near religious crusade on the part of BushCo.  "It would be hard to make a decision for political reason and get away with it."  Miraculously his head does not explode in a fiery ball of flame. Franks genuflects and kisses the hem of Abu's gown.

KING:  All of us here on the committee are concerned with our reputations.  Well, some more than others. 

SHERMAN (D-CA) — Are there any people who have been held more than a month who have been denied habeus corpus?  Abu doesn't know.  As the Attorney General don't you think that might be something you might want to know about? Abu says it's a big government and he can't know what everybody is doing like they were asking him about the need for restocking supplies in the DoJ cleaning closet.  "I look forward to a definitive answer for the record," says Sherman. 

Sherman wants to know if he'd fire the 8 US attorneys all over again.  Abu babbling about process.  Doesn't want to answer.

Would it be inappropriate to fire a US attorney because they successfully prosecuted a Republican?  Oooh Abu does not want to answer that one either.  Points to Atrios' BFF Ney as an example of when they didn't do that but won't answer definitively.  Wonder what Moronica will have to say about that one? 

CHABOT (R-OH) — Let's give Abu a rest by changing the topic to his "Operation Safe Neighborhoods."  Did the Republicans not get the memo on what the hearing was about?  Somebody should let them read the subpoenas before they go out, it really isn't fair if nobody showed them.

BALDWIN (D-WI) — Wants to submit a New York Times article, "A Woman Wrongly Convicted and a U.S. Attorney Who Kept His Job."  Did USA Bikubic get his name off the firing list by conducting a partisan investigation?  "The White House has indicated they played no role."  That's slippery.

From the article:

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which heard Ms. Thompson’s case this month, did not discuss whether her prosecution was political — but it did make clear that it was wrong. And in an extraordinary move, it ordered her released immediately, without waiting to write a decision. “Your evidence is beyond thin,” Judge Diane Wood told the prosecutor. “I’m not sure what your actual theory in this case is.”

Members of Congress should ask whether it was by coincidence or design that Steven Biskupic, the United States attorney in Milwaukee, turned a flimsy case into a campaign issue that nearly helped Republicans win a pivotal governor’s race.

Abu says "ask Sampson."   

GOHMERT (R-TX):   Says all this OT stuff is not the point of the hearing. Is he the only Republican who got the memo?  So he takes the opportunity to "defend" Linda Sanchez for her "honest mistake" of not being able to remember what she said a few minutes before.  Says she should not be judged like Abu has been judged.  Congressional concern troll.

Clinton getting kicked around for replacing 89 US attorney, which must have been political.  Nobody seems to have anything to say about St. Ronnie or Codpiece Sr. doing the same thing:

"Reagan replaced 89 of the 93 U.S. attorneys in his first two years in office. President Clinton had 89 new U.S. attorneys in his first two years, and President Bush had 88 new U.S. attorneys in his first two years"  — LA Times

SCHIFF (D-CA):  Dominici was worried Iglesias didn't have his best people on "corruption cases,"  Sept '05.  Second conversation, '06, they talked about voter fraud.  Schiff says none of his Senate testimony said he discussed voter fraud with Dominici.

Schiff says that Abu testified that based on these three conversations he lost confidence in Iglesias, but after these three he went to visit Iglesias in July 06 to meet and never mentioned voter fraud or corruption, only immigration issues.

Gonzales' spokesman said publicly that corruption cases were never mentioned in the Dominici/Abu conversations, which was misleading.  Abu splitting hairs and Schiff is pissed about the doublespeak.  Says Abu has little respect for the people in his department and he should resign.

emptywheel in the comments: 

Oh, this is quite good. Really hammering AGAG on his inconsistent behavior about the Domenici conversations.

Now AGAG is MELTING!!! He knows he’s covered.

CANON:  I'm just a bit too thick to follow the testimony, can you tell me whether you were talking about Iglesias or Cummings? 

JORDAN (R-OH):  Didn't get the memo either.  Wants to ask probing questions regarding Hometown Heros Survivor Benefit Act. Boy howdie if it hadn't been for the US Attorney scandal I'm sure they would've subpoenaed the Attorney General of the United States and yanked his BVDs to the Hills to address the controversy swirling around that one. 

DAVIS (D-AL):  Is it your practice to sample the opinions of US Senators regarding the performance of US Attorneys?  Abu says "of course not."  Davis:  are there any Democratic Senators who expressed their concerns that terminations were based on?  Not that Abu can recall.

Is there any reason for the disparity for the number of elected Democrats prosecuted and the number of elected Republicans prosecuted?  Abu says he doesn't know anything about this.  What, does he live under a frigging rock?  85% Democrats, 12% Republicans.  Abu actually says "I know nothing," catches himself in his Sgt. Schultz impression.  Abu will not answer the question Davis is asking — would he be concerned if he knew 7 times as many Democrats were being prosecuted?   

LUNDGREN (R-CA):  Admitting articles saying Iglesias sucks.  He got the memo, too.

Recess for voting, will resume. 

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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