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I got on Senator Leahy's e-mail list.  Today I got the e-mail below -- full text below the fold.  Not that I even read it all.  That first sentence,

It should never have had to come to this.

killed any enthusiasm I had.  What a wimpy, hand-wringing tone.

Come on, Senator.  By now you have to be addled not to see that George W. Bush and company were looking forward to this fight -- or to seeing you and other Democrats back down when they threaten this fight.  It has been screamingly obvious it was going to "have to come down to this" for a long time.  Bullies don't go away.  

Now you can let Bush 'run out the clock' by delaying stuff in the courts another 13 months, or you could try to talk your colleagues into demanding respect for the Senate by going straight to contempt proceedings and a trial right there in the Senate chamber, using the Senate's inherent power to hold people in contempt.  

Do you have the courage of your convictions to do that?

Here's the text of the e-mail.

It should never have had to come to this.

Yesterday, on a bipartisan vote of 12-7, the Senate Judiciary Committee ruled that White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten and Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove are in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoenas issued in the U.S. Attorneys investigation.  As Chairman of the Committee, I have gone to real lengths to avoid this sort of legal confrontation, but after many months the White House has yet to cooperate with these requests from our investigation -- and the American people deserve the truth.

The President denies any involvement in the political firings of Justice Department officials.  Yet he and his staff continue to hide behind the veil of "executive privilege."  They have essentially asserted that this privilege -- historically applied very narrowly -- covers all documents and information in their possession.  It's a dramatic departure from precedent, and the Bush-Cheney administration's blanket claim of immunity from congressional subpoenas flies in the face of our system of checks and balances.

This is not about pulling a partisan "gotcha" or scoring political points.  After all, Committee members of both parties supported yesterday's ruling.  No, this is about defending Congress's oversight function and protecting the right of the American people to know the whole truth about the mass firings of attorneys at the Justice Department. Withholding critical evidence requested by a subpoena is a serious crime, and it's time we reminded the President and his staff that they are not above the law.

The White House's refusal to cooperate with our investigation casts further doubt on its contention that it had nothing to do with the political firings of Justice Department officials.  In fact, it's now quite clear that political officials in the White House pressured federal prosecutors to bring partisan cases and sought retribution against those who refused.

Since World War II, presidential advisers have testified before Congress 74 times, either voluntarily or compelled by subpoenas -- never once refusing to comply.  Executive privilege should not be invoked to prevent investigations into wrongdoing, and certainly should not prevail.  

Thank you for your support for holding the Bush-Cheney Administration accountable as we get to the bottom of the mass firings of U.S. attorneys.

Sincerely,
               
Patrick Leahy
U.S. Senator

Come to think of it, what else useful have Democrats in Congress got to do with their time?  They can let Bush bully them into more appropriations for the war, or they could keep plenty busy with inherent contempt proceedings and impeachments, and let the war end for lack of money.  If Bush tried to use the soldiers as hostages, demanding more money for ammunition but refusing in stead to bring the troops home, just add that to the bill of impeachment.

Originally posted to david78209 on Fri Dec 14, 2007 at 05:15 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip jar (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    prodigal, manwithnoname

    I really don't think this is 'circular firing squad' material.  If we can't get more than symbolic opposition from the Democrats we already have in Congress, we need to elect better Democrats.

    We're all pretty crazy some way or other; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is just a setting on the dryer.

    by david78209 on Fri Dec 14, 2007 at 05:16:09 PM PST

  •  Pair of what? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    david78209

    Big floppy bunny ears?
    Seems appropriate to our party some days.

    "I'm not gonna waste the perfect comeback on you now. But don't think I don't have it. Oh yes, it's time will come!" -- Xander, BTVS

    by prodigal on Fri Dec 14, 2007 at 05:24:00 PM PST

  •  I think you underestimate Leahy and what he does (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DMiller, david78209

    He's no Harry Reid or Henry Waxman.

    I am proud of Leahy and what he has done. If you can't see that, then maybe you're not looking hard enough.

    •  Now I'm embarassed. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      david78209

      I commented without thinking, just out of the zeitgeist of the day.
      Apologies.

      "I'm not gonna waste the perfect comeback on you now. But don't think I don't have it. Oh yes, it's time will come!" -- Xander, BTVS

      by prodigal on Fri Dec 14, 2007 at 05:36:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I haven't looked hard at what Leahy has done (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      prodigal

      I expect I'd find a good bit to admire.
      But when do you decide to switch strategy?  When do you decide you're not dealing with another person who expects to bargain and compromise, but rather you're faced with a gambler who has a compulsion for winner-take-all stakes?  

      Frankly, this is one thing I've learned (somewhat, painfully) from divorce proceedings.  You need to consider the possibility that you're not dealing with someone who wants an amicable solution, and you need to be able to quit trying to reach an agreement and call the other side's hand.

      We're all pretty crazy some way or other; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is just a setting on the dryer.

      by david78209 on Fri Dec 14, 2007 at 05:59:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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