Abu Going Down?
I don’t think many who saw Sheldon Whitehouse question Alberto Gonzales and corner him like a trapped rodent about how the investigation of the US Attorney scandal was being handled within the Justice Department will quickly forget it. It became clear that Gonzales was going to try and bury the results of the investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility in a non-public report. Whitehouse was having none of it, and according to comments made by fired USA John McKay, a report by the Office of Inspector General will be publicly released as early as next month.
Marcy tries to reconstruct a timeline and ventures a good guess about the reason/timing for Abu’s resignation:
And then, in the middle of this, AGAG testified again–lying again, at least according to John McKay. And, perhaps not incidentally, both SJC and HJC started getting more explicit about Rove’s involvement, and a whole lot more explicit about Gonzales’ role in covering up Iglesias’ firing.
What remains unclear from McKay’s comments is something that Isikoff didn’t divulge in his piece pre-emptively revealing that AGAG had lawyered up: when AGAG lawyered up. And McKay’s version adds in another question: when did OIG request AGAG’s cooperation, only to be spurned? There are a couple of possibilities, it seems to me:
- [Get asked questions, lawyer up, resign] It’s possible that as soon as OIG started asking Gonzales to clarify his statements, he lawyered up and Terwilliger told AGAG what he should have been told months earlier: shut up! Stop lying under oath!! If so, he’d likely be forced to resign, as Monica was, particularly because it’d be pretty damning for Bush if his AGAG was refusing to testify.
- [resign for some other reason, get asked questions, lawyer up] I don’t buy this one: the scenario would suggest that AGAG resigned because, um, he wanted to spend more time with his family, only afterwards discovering that he really wanted to spend time with his lawyer.
- [resign for some other reason, lawyer up, get asked question] Again, this is unlikely, that AGAG resigned and lawyered up, and only recently refused to cooperate with the OIG investigation.
The chronology here matters for two reasons. One, because the most plausible scenario (that AGAG lawyered up when OIG started pursuing him, which led to his resignation) suggests that they’re very worried about further trouble for AGAG, and that he resigned because he was about to get into trouble (duh!). But that also raises another very real possibility: that Terwilliger started representing AGAG long before he interviewed for AGAG’s job. Which is about the most inappropriate thing I can imagine–interview for the job overseeing an investigation of your client with the guy whom your client is protecting?
I realize the arrogance of the Bush Adminstration appointees made them believe that they would never be answerable to any law they couldn’t twist, and Gonzales — as Chief Twister — probably most of all. But you would think that Jeffrey Skilling would have become a cautionary tale for them all. Ballsing it out and brazenly lying works sometimes, until it doesn’t.
I just hope it doesn’t compromise that fragile dream of spending more time with his family.