Friday, March 23, 2007

Ten Top Reasons Why I'm Staying on the Purged Prosecutor Story

1. Resisting Congress’ request for testimony and documents related to why the eight U.S. attorneys were fired is part of Bush’s expansion of presidential power. See the March 22 New York Times article, Bush's Big Picture Battle: Presidential Prerogatives.

It’s time to push back.

2. What about the November 16 to December 7 “Document Gap” as reported this morning in the New York Times here?

I’m want to know if there are documents and e-mails from or to the White House and the Department of Justice, and if there are, what do they say?

3. I want to add my support as a blogger to the efforts of Joshua Micah Marshall, of, who is being given credit for singlehandedly keeping the purged prosecutor story alive until the mainstream media caught on.

4. Bush’s claim of “executive privilege” needs to be challenged if he refuses to honor the subpoenas requiring Rove and Miers and other White House officials to testify under oath. This looks like the perfect issue to take him on because we have a United States Supreme Court case, U.S. vs. Nixon in support of our challenge.

A Daily Kos blogger, Scientician, posted an excellent article on March 21, Executive Privilege is Not an Absolute, leading with this statement, “The idea that the President can arbitrarily declare evidence off-limits belongs on the ash heap of history along with the "Divine Right of Kings," "Unitary Executive" and the 'Doctrine of Papal Infallibility;' absolute rubbish invented by the mendacious to rationalize that most human of impulses."

5. As a lawyer, I’m been wildly curious about what options are available if Bush refuses to honor the subpoenas that the House Judiciary Committee has been authorized to issue. I’m researching this issue and am asking others what they think; your opinion is welcome.

6. I support impeachment of the Bush, et al. If Bush refuses to honor the subpoenas, I’m not counting on the United States Supreme Court to bail us out as it did when Nixon was facing impeachment (see my March 17 post, “Ignored Subpoenas = Impeachment?).

7. If we can’t hold Bush accountable on this issue, when will we? I personally believe that climate change is the biggest threat we face. John Nichols, Washington correspondent for The Nation magazine, and the Green Party believe that tampering with studies on global warming is an impeachable offense. I agree. (See my Feb. 7 post, “Coming Full Circle.”)

If we citizens lack the will to press Congress to issue and enforce subpoenas to determine whether or not the White House and/or the Department of Justice were involved in the firing of eight Republican prosecutors, there’s no reason to expect us support efforts to impeach Bush, et al., for other serious “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

8. I receive e-mail alerts from Mel Martinez, Republican Party General Chairman. Yesterday I received one in which Martinez insisted that “Alberto Gonzales is a man of integrity and high ethical standards.” And. he added, “There was no question that U.S. attorneys, like all political appointees, serve at the pleasure of the President. That was true when Bill Clinton’s Justice Department replaced all 93 U.S. attorneys and it remains true today.”

We need to hold the Republican’s feet to the fire. Bush replaced all 93 U.S. attorneys when he became President. See Glenn Greenwald's March 19 post, “Republicans and U.S. attorneys – then and now.” It’s standard behavior to start with a fresh team of U.S. attorneys when the president’s belongs to a different political party than his predecessor. Firing eight prosecutors in the middle of the President’s term is unprecedented.

9. It’s wrong, plain wrong, when people who do their job are fired. David Iglesias, who was U.S. attorney in New Mexico, explained what happened to him in a March 21 op-ed at the New York Times, Why I Was Fired. Accused of not pursuing voter fraud (see my March 16 post), he stated, “I was one of just two United States attorneys in the country to create a voter-fraud task force in 2004.”

10. And then there’s Kevin Ryan, who according to Today's Must Read at, is the “… only U.S. attorney fired by the administration in December who undeniably had performance issues [and] was begrudgingly added to the list at the last minute -- and only then because of a federal judge's threat that he would go to Congress with complaints about the prosecutor's performance.”

How would we know this stuff if we didn’t stay on this story?

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