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I recently had a phone conversation with House Judiciary Chair John Conyers.  I'm including a link to the audio from our conversation below.  He was particularly interested in GWU Professor Jonathan Turley's conclusion that the Democrats in the FISA and impeachment cases are evidently guilty of "collusion".  Conyers did not dismiss or contradict the allegation.  He asked me to forward him references to Turley's argument.  

This is a critical time.  At this moment, multiple front-page diaries refer to unconstitutional behavior by the Democratic Congress.  One refers to Turley's even more damning assessment yesterday - of Democrats' conflicts of interest in their readiness to offer immunity for FISA violations.  In both the FISA and impeachment cases, Congressional leaders were silent accessories to the illegal behavior being charged.  

It's time to set aside our partisan bias and admit that even Democrats shouldn't be allowed to rule on crimes they have witnessed, kept secret, or committed.  Conyers, Wexler or Kucinich - or Senator Obama, whose staff says it is reviewing the new FISA proposal - needs to make that argument publicly in the capitol.

Last week, inspired by compelling arguments that Congressional leaders including Nancy Pelosi and Jay Rockefeller have a severe conflict of interest in their willingness to rule on both FISA legislation and impeachment prosecution, I called House Judiciary Chair John Conyers' office.

At first an intern put me on the phone with a press handler, who soon became  defensive, declined to identify himself, and then disappeared.  But I called back and suddenly there was gracious Chairman Conyers on the line:

Over the phone, we had trouble sharing the complex Raw Story URL I was looking at, containing Turley's June 10th Countdown appearance.  That's one reason it's critically important that we get Conyers' staff's attention today.

Turley's appearance on Olbermann's Countdown yesterday was even more powerful.  

(If the YouTube embed expires, visit the MSNBC link above it.)
Democrats are "changing the law to conform to past conduct".  They are protecting themselves from prosecution and almost getting away with it.  In the front-page poll I linked, most of us consider them criminals.

Members of Congress simply must not be deciding on cases in which they are witnesses - whether they were accessories, co-conspirators, whistleblowers, or innocent bystanders.  They need subpeonas, not power to grant immunity or take prosecution "off the table".

This is not rocket science.  In a democracy with a functioning justice system, the House Judiciary Chair would graciously point out that those members - including Pelosi and Rockefeller - can not participate in granting immunity in those cases.  They must acknowledge their apparent or potential conflict of interest, suspend any efforts to grant immunity, and recuse themselves.

Until now, party members have been protecting party leaders.  But now that Turley has gone public, the ground is shifting.  Congressman Wexler now has a frontpage diary opposing the FISA immunity, but he must go further.

Wexler, Conyers, Kucinich, even Obama - any of them can finally expose the deep conflicts of interest that threaten the passage of corrupt laws designed to let legislators "protect themselves".

Let's make sure Congressman Conyers and his staff see Turley's compelling argument.  Call his office at (202)225-5126.  Let's give him no choice except to respond.

Originally posted to David L on Fri Jun 20, 2008 at 08:27 AM PDT.

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