Tuesday, April 03, 2007

# Posted 9:20 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

JOSH MARSHALL ON THE US ATTORNEYS: Taking my own excellent advice (which was seconded by an insightful reader), I decided to go ahead and see what Josh Marshall and the TPM gang have to say about the US Attorneys scandal. What do we do know for sure? What do we suspect? Why does it matter?

As I mentioned earlier, what I'm trying to figure out is whether there is reason to believe, as Dianne Feinstein suggested, that DoJ got rid of some of the US Attorneys in question in order to cover up corruption by GOP supporters. Josh Marshall thinks the answer to this question is pretty obvious:
Let's not be fooled on this one. The White House and the politicals at the DOJ were and are doing everything it can to spring [Brent] Wilkes and [Dusty] Foggo [the target of US Attorney Carol Lam's investigation].

Remember, Mitchell Wade really only gets you to Duke Cunningham, the little-lamented hapless federal inmate. Wilkes was tied in with DeLay, Cheney, Doolittle, the whole rotten crew.
The evidence Josh cites is that DoJ delayed the indictments of Wilkes and Foggo until after Lam was dismissed, which strikes me as inconclusive. In addition, one should note that Wilkes and Foggo are now on trial.

A few days ago, Marshall was less confident about why Lam lost her job. He wrote:
There's a lot of speculation now about what might have spooked the White House about Carol Lam's expanded Cunningham investigation, if indeed that is why she was sacked.
One point on which Marshall seems to have a reasonably good case is that Lam was not lax on enforcing immigration laws, which might have justified her departure (as one OxBlog reader noted). But that only gives us one more reason why Lam wasn't fired, not why she was.

In another post, Josh observes that Gonzales aide Kyle Sampson, while testifying before Congress, couldn't provide any clear indication of what criteria were used to select the eight US Attorneys who were let go.

In addition Lam, this lack of clarity extends to the departure of David Iglesias of New Mexico, described by Sampson as insufficiently vigilant in the prosecution of voter fraud. According to Josh, that may be the real reason Iglesias was fired, but it is a terrible reason, since bogus allegations of voter fraud are just something that the GOP cooks up to disenfranchise minority voters. (On several occasions, Josh links to this WaPo op-ed to justiy his assertion that voter fraud is a bogus issue.)

Iglesias' departure may also have been related to his refusal to rush the indictment of a Democratic pol in New Mexico so that it could be announced before election day. At present, Josh seems to think that the New Mexico Democrats in question actually were corrupt. But he is equally harsh on the two New Mexico Republicans, Rep. Heather Wilson and Sen. Pete Domenici, who pressured Iglesias to indict early. According to Josh,
In the old rule of law days, this would be seen as the definition of corrupt use of the justice system to interfere with the integrity of elections and advance narrowly partisan aims.
So, what should one make of this incredible welter of details? My sense is that there are some tantalizing hints, but no solid evidence of a corruption cover-up. But if there's nothing to cover up, why couldn't Judge Gonzales & Co. tell a straight story about the US Attorneys?

Unfortunately, there's no answer to that question that can make Gonzales look even half-way good. Maybe that's why the National Review wants him fired and the Weekly Standard wouldn't object to letting him go.

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(2) opinions -- Add your opinion

I think that this administration has been so secretive that there is very little clear evidence on anything other than the fact that Gonzales lies to Congress (either because his employees lie to him or to cover his behind.) Either way, this is not very good.

It appears that you did not go into the document dumps. A lot of mail having to do with government business was sent from gwb43.com, some domain owned by the Republican Party, possibly to avoid scrutiny of being on the public record. There were multiple document dumps with all the more interesting stuff withheld until later.

Anyway, no matter what has not been disclosed because it is somewhere on gwb43.com, a lot of what was in the documents clearly contradicted anything that the Attorney General said about the firings-- not to mention that the justification kept changing.

Why keep changing reasons if you believe what you are doing is right?
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