miers and bolten face contempt charges

Yesterday morning, the House Judiciary Committee issued their report on the firing of nine U.S. attorneys by the Bush administration for what appear to have been political reasons. (A pdf of the memorandum can be found here.) In the words of Committee Chairman, John Conyers, their investigation “has uncovered serious evidence of wrongdoing by the (Justice) department and White House staff.” Here’s a clip from the “Washington Post”:

…The memorandum says the probe has turned up evidence that some of the U.S. attorneys were improperly selected for firing because of their handling of vote fraud allegations, public corruption cases or other cases that could affect close elections. It also says that Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and senior Justice aides “appear to have made false or misleading statements to Congress, many of which sought to minimize the role of White House personnel.”

In addition, the memorandum asserts repeatedly that the president’s top political adviser, Karl Rove, was the first administration official to broach the idea of firing U.S. attorneys shortly after the 2004 election — an assertion the White House has said is not true…

We’ve talked about it here before, so I won’t go into a lot of detail, but it’s worth remembering that these U.S. attorneys were, for the most part, Republicans who had been put in place by the Bush administration, and they weren’t fired for not doing their jobs well. The evidence seems to indicate that, in almost every case, they were removed from their positions for either not going after Democrats aggressively enough, or pursuing Republican officials on corruption charges. So, this isn’t a matter to be taken lightly. It means that the Executive branch was using the Judiciary to carry out its dirty work, punishing those who stood in their way, and protecting those who did their bidding. This report is an x-ray, showing a cancer at the very heart of our Democracy.

The good news is, not only did the House Judiciary Committee issue their report, but they then voted to issue contempt of Congress citations against White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and Harriet Miers, President Bush’s former legal advisor, for failing to comply with subpoenas issued during the investigation. It’s unlikely that charges will ultimately be brought, as the President has claimed executive privilege and holds the power to either commute their sentences, or pardon them altogether, should they be convicted, but it’s good to see that Conyers is at least bringing it this far.

It’s just too bad everyone in the corporate media is busy covering Lindsay Lohan.

[If you’re interested in learning more, NPR has a good Q & A on their site. And, if you want to voice your opinion, the People for the American Way have kicked off a letter writing campaign directed at members of the House, asking that they disregard Bush’s claim of executive privilege and push ahead with the cases against Bolten and Miers.]

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  1. mark
    Posted July 26, 2007 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    I thought that I posted this last night, but it must not have gone through… Sorry if it’s old news for some of you by now.

  2. Posted July 27, 2007 at 1:40 am | Permalink

    Okay, that was the good news. The bad news is that the administration can stonewall this until Jan., 2009.

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