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This is a two part diary on Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

Part I:  The conflict of interest Mukasey has re the extremely important telecom immunity in the FISA case and his son Marc.

Part II:  The Attorney General's statement that whether it's torture, well that's all about "circumstances" -- his refusal to now state publicly that waterboarding is torture and his tense testimony with Senator Whitehouse this week.

Part I. Yesterday I learned that Attorney General Michael Mukasey's son works with Rudy Guiliani's law firm of Bracewell & Guiliani. Marc Mukasey is heading the Verizon defense in the FISA case.

Wikipedia: Mukasey's stepson, Marc L. Mukasey .... as of 2007 leads the white-collar criminal defense practice* in the New York office of Bracewell & Giuliani....

*as in Verizon

This is a conflict of interest in a topic of supreme importance. I kept waiting to see references to it in the MSM but have not since of course the corporate owned media may not want us to know that government officials at the very top collude with corporate interests, or at the very least give that impression by their close ties.

Mukasey should recuse himself from all FISA matters as AG. Did the Senate know about the FISA connection Mukasey had when they approved him as Attorney General? They must have because these things have been out in the open for some time.

Raw Story: Mukasey conflict of interest?
Attorney General Michael Mukasey has recently been a strong proponent of retroactive immunity for the telecommunications companies that were involved in illegal warrantless surveillance at the request of the Bush administration.

Mukasey argued before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that allowing lawsuits against the telecoms is undesirable because it both "puts means and methods in the courts for everybody to examine and for people to become aware of" and "casts some doubt on the question of whether they acted in good faith."

Verizon (seeking immunity for illegal spying) is a client of the Houston lawfirm of Bracewell & Giuliani, where former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani became a partner in the spring of 2005. Attorney General Mukasey's son, Marc L. Mukasey also joined the firm as a partner a few months later, after having served for eight years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

....The conflicts even reach to the NSA wiretapping issue with respect to Verizon: snip  Verizon is a prime client of Bracewell & Giuliani.

In addition, Paul Crotty, the respected federal judge who joined Mukasey on the Manhattan bench in late 2005, was the regional president of Verizon, which is based in New York. Crotty was Giuliani's corporation counsel and contributed $5,500 to his federal campaign committees before he became a judge—$1,000 more than the legal limit (the excess was returned). When Crotty left, a Verizon press release stated that he was "responsible for government relations and regulatory affairs for Verizon's largest telephone operations company," but a company spokeswoman declined to answer questions about his possible involvement in the surveillance decisions....

(The Senate, in approving Mukasey as AG) overlooked a glaring conflict of interest, or did they?

Michael Mukasey is now and always has been, a close friend of Giuliani, starting when they both worked as young prosecutors and moved on to the law firm of Patterson Belknap together, and in fact, Mukasey returned to the firm after he stepped down from the federal bench....

That sounds innocent enough, but when one starts to look a little deeper into the many conflicts of interest surrounding both of these men, a pattern of deceit and lies emerges that should cause everyone to call into question not only Giuliani's integrity, but Mukasey's also.

snip (quoting)The Village Voice...: "Even the recent ruckus about Verizon and its cooperation with the National Security Agency's domestic-surveillance program may put Mukasey in a Giuliani-connected bind. The company has admitted that it (illegally spied on Americans). Verizon is a prime client of Bracewell & Giuliani."

Also, the Wayne madsen report calls for impeachment of the AG ....but I could not find the LATimes Op Ed he refers to below:

Verizon, other telecommunications companies, and the Bush administration want the phone companies given immunity from any criminal or civil violations of the law. Mukasey has not recused himself from Justice Department deliberations concerning immunity for the companies
even though his son and best friend stand to benefit from immunity for Verizon.

In fact, Mukasey has not merely failed to recuse himself from the immunity issue but he is actively lobbying for it.

In a December 12, 2007, op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, Mukasey wrote that it would be unfair for telecommunications companies, including his son's and best friend's client Verizon to, "face the possibility of massive judgments and litigation costs." Verizon, AT&T, and other firms are facing lawsuits from customers for permitting NSA to engage in warrantless eavesdropping of their communications.

snip If Mukasey fails to appoint a firewalled Special Counsel in the
telecommunications immunity case and other cases that have an impact on Giuliani's business activities, the House Judiciary Committee should, without delay, begin impeachment hearings against the Attorney General.

Indeed, quoting from the above source, it seems Mukasey's position has formed the GOP talking points for immunity:

Mukasey added, "in the future we will need the full-hearted help of private companies in our intelligence activities; we cannot expect such cooperation to be forthcoming if we do not support companies that have helped us in the past."

Mukasey... wants any immunity agreement for the telecommunications companies to be retroactive.

So, I ask of the WHITE HOUSE!

Question for the White House:
      You promised that the Mukasey would recuse himself
      from any Guiliani issues, so why haven't you
      insisted he recuse himself from
      Marc Mukasey/Bracewell & Guiliani issues as well?

Part Two - Waterboarding and Attorney General Mukasey's refusal to say it is torture, pure and simple, awful torture. See BarbinMD's account-- "What an embarrassing, infuriating disgrace." --of the 1/30/08 Senate testimony which I watched on CSpan. I heard that shocking and tense exchange between Senator Whitehouse and the attorney general.

The Nuremberg Defense ... is a legal defense that essentially states that the defendant was "only following orders" ("Befehl ist Befehl") and is therefore not responsible for his crimes. The defense was most famously employed during the Nuremberg Trials, after which it is named.

Whitehouse, a gifted inquisitor, repeatedly brought up "the Nuremberg Defense"questioned the AG regarding whether waterboarding is torture. If he had had more time he might have been able to get somewhere. But the AG was on guard, speaking very carefully so as to avoid incriminating himself or anyone in the administration. You could see that Whitehouse had the AG's full attention! It was electrifying I felt.

This is a comment by Jonathan Turley, Constitutional Law professor, who cogently stated the case last year on why Congress should refuse to allow Mukasey to serve as AG even if it meant having an acting AG for the rest of Bush's term.

Jonathan Turley:

Of course, (Mukasey) took an oath to uphold the Constitution, but now believes that it would be irresponsible to address a criminal act ordered by the President of the United States. It reflects a rather curious understanding of both his oath and his duties. It is the same relativistic view that led to clearly false statements made by Mukasey under oath in first denying that he did not know what waterboarding was and then, when told what it was, refusing to answer the question during his confirmation. Click here

In a maddening added comment, he insisted that "it is my job as attorney general to do what I believe the law requires, and what is best for the country, not what makes my life easier." Yet, that is precisely what he is doing: taking the easier and unethical approach. The difficult course would be to enforce the law and state the legal standard despite its implications for the President.

Mukasey said whether or not waterboarding is torture all depends on "circumstances" in his recent letter to Sen. Leahey on this question.

Gee, I dunno.......
"If this were an easy question, I would not be reluctant to offer my views," Mr. Mukasey wrote to Senator Patrick J. Leahy...

"But with respect, I believe it is not an easy question," he said. "There are some circumstances where current law would appear clearly to prohibit the use of waterboarding. Other circumstances would present a far closer question."

The letter did not define any of the circumstances.

Digby said a couple of days ago--
It Depends On What The Definition Of Conscience Is.

Remember this?

       Whether they voted for Mukasey or not, Democrats widely
       want him to examine the interrogation tactic designed
       to make the subject think he is drowning, and answer
       definitively: Is it illegal torture?

      "I do believe he will be a truly nonpolitical, nonpartisan
       attorney general; that he will make his views very clear;
       and that, once he has the opportunity to do the evaluation
       he believes he needs on waterboarding, he will be willing
       to come before the Judiciary Committee and express his
       views comprehensively and definitively," said Sen. Dianne
       Feinstein of California, one of the six who voted with
       the majority for confirmation.

I repeat:

Question for the White House: You promised that the Mukasey would recuse himself from any Guiliani issues, so why haven't you insisted he recuse himself from Marc Mukasey/Bracewell & Guiliani issues as well?

What does this all amount to?

Our dear elected Congress has done it again. They have empowered more Bush administration breaking of law, of immunity to prosecution, of conflict of interest (read "corruption"). Democrats should have never accepted this man, Michael Mukasey, as Attorney General ofthe U.S.

Originally posted to Gorette on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 01:53 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  If you feel so inclined to leave a comment (25+ / 0-)

    it would be appreciated. I thought this was important, but there are other very important stories out there such as Iraq which is pretty much ignored these days.

    Corruption and torture all in one diary.

    "I ain't got it." - Bush, 2008 in Mideast

    by Gorette on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 01:57:16 PM PST

  •  Why does this give me a sense of deja vu? (7+ / 0-)

    ...something to do with another bush crony and Blackwater, if I recall...

    Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

    by darthstar on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 02:00:00 PM PST

  •  Oh my god. (8+ / 0-)

    Seriously, that is all I really have to say.

    How in the hell did Mukasey get confirmed so easily?

    Once again my Father's seemingly quixotic rantings prove to be prescient and valid.  Saying the name Patrick Leahy in his presence will provoke a tirade about his vote on the Patriot Act among other things.  More and more I am thinking that his instincts about Leahy have been completely on the money all this time.

  •  Is there no end to this sleaze????? (6+ / 0-)

    Jebus . . . Mukasey pere, Mukasey fils and Giuliani . . . it's a fucking trifecta of corruption, greed and fascism.

    "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

    by bobdevo on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 02:24:03 PM PST

  •  IOKIYAR (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trashablanca, kurt, NonnyO

    and a special note of thanks to my other Sen -- Schumer

  •  Mukasey right before his nomination was all set (7+ / 0-)

    to be a " Monitor ", the same as former AG John Ashcroft is now. Ashcroft is set to make up to 52 million off his position that was funneled to him by the DOJ.

    I wrote a diary based on a WaPo article just the other day that slipped by mostly unnoticed. Here is a quote from that article.

    Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey was in the advanced stages of securing a lucrative corporate monitor assignment last year but withdrew his name after he was nominated to lead the Justice Department, according to lawyers familiar with the previously undisclosed arrangement.

    You may find some things that could tie this altogether there.

    "Democracy Is The Best Revenge" Benazir Bhutto

    by SmileySam on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 03:18:24 PM PST

  •  This is incredible! (8+ / 0-)

    I can't possibly believe the Democrats that voted for Mukasey were aware of the instant conflict(s) of interest he'd be carrying to the job, day 1.

    Yes, it was the MSM's job to tell us - but ONLY because Mukasey didn't - he had an ethical, moral, AND LEGAL responsibility to declare his connections to FISA at his confirmation hearings. IMNHSO, this alone is grounds for impeachment.

    Mukasey argued before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that allowing lawsuits against the telecoms is undesirable because it both "puts means and methods in the courts for everybody to examine and for people to become aware of" and "casts some doubt on the question of whether they acted in good faith."

    Hmmm, silly me...exactly why I thought THE COURTS EXISTED!

    A "respected" (sic) Federal Judge who's "unaware" of Federal Law as it relates to donation limits? RRIIGGHHTT....

    The word "circumstances" does NOT exist anywhere in US law, nor in international law/treaties, as they relate to torture. Torture is torture; "circumstances" be damned.

    What does this all amount to?

    Pete Townshend said it best: " the new boss, same as the old boss...".

    ITMFA!!! ALL of them! We need a new, LARGE prison - so all these motherfuckers can enjoy spending the rest of their days, TOGETHER.

    GREAT catch, Gorette.

    "Why do we have to think up all of these complicated new ways of losing money when the old ones still work so well?" - CNBC

    by grndrush on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 04:27:21 PM PST

  •  FYI (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gorette, CanyonWren

    just so you know as a hopefully helpful hint, using Wayne as a source here at dkos could cause you to be banned. I don't support that idea but thought you should know.

    "Democracy Is The Best Revenge" Benazir Bhutto

    by SmileySam on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 07:05:29 PM PST

  •  Rec'd, Tipped, and Hotlisted (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gorette, kurt, Scubaval, spyglass10

    Good Diary, Gorette!

    Mukasey should never have been approved as AG.

    I caught this on the Diary Rescue and I'm wondering why this diary didn't grab the attention of everyone and get placed in the Recommended Diaries column... instead of the endless and tiresome and ultra-boring candidate diaries which are sucking up all the oxygen for issues that affect ALL Americans - and Mukasey's conflict of interest and his non-opinion about torture affects all of us, because it means he'll only run the clock out on very valid issues, such as the contempt charges waiting to be voted on in the House - but that could be dispensed with if Congress Critters would just file inherent contempt charges instead, since the latter gets around the AG and DoJ by coming straight from Congress.

    The absolute and utter LACK of common sense by what used to be reasonably good Congress Critters since the SCOTUS decision of December 2000 continues to baffle me beyond my ability to comprehend.

    Running out the clock on the lying de facto dictators and war criminals is NOT what will win the '08 election for Democrats this year - in fact, I'm not nearly as sure as the optimists that we will win the presidency or even maintain our (slim) lead in Congress.  We went through this in '06, Democrats have done nothing to hold Dickie and Georgie accountable for their lies and war crimes and everyone who is still waiting for miracles to happen has lost what little patience they had a long time ago when Nancy and Harry refused to abide by their oaths of office.

    Lamestream Media shuts out the Dems willing to DO SOMETHING about holding the lying war criminals accountable and the teleprompter readers and "journalists" refuse to mention the lies and crimes of Dickie and Georgie... 935 lies from 9/11 to the illegal invasion of Iraq were told by them and their criminal cohorts... Do we even know what the true number of lies is?

    We don't know truth from fiction any longer.  Lamestream Media doesn't delve into the lies and the war crimes, and rabid 'PubliCon reichwingers do nothing but praise Georgie and/or Dickie and their evil minions every time they get invited to the political bobblehead shows, and oppositional voices are silenced by not being mentioned - the "simple" Sin of Omission.  Kucinich won the ABC "debate" - the candidate who brought impeachment resolution against Dickie (and has now put a hold on the one against Georgie), advocated getting out of Iraq immediately without leaving permanent bases, and a not-for-profit healthcare plan (guaranteed to piss off the insurance, medical, and pharmaceutical corporations), and he was shunted out of future "debates" so quickly it damn near made my head spin.  He was declared 'unelectable' and 'not viable' by people who didn't like his looks, even when they agreed with his platform.

    I don't get it.

    I guess we truly do get the government we deserve - or, in this case, the government Lamestream Media tells us we are supposed to have and have been allowed to choose for us because they've been promoting Clinton as a viable presidential candidate since her husband's term of office ended, and they've been promoting Obama since his speech at the '04 DNC.  Those two, in particular, have become the media darlings, and they have the celebrity status of movie stars, every word they say, every bit of body language they use, is analyzed to bloody death in Lamestream Media and/or blown up out of proportion to the actual words or actions (and diarists on dKos imitate them and blow everything out of proportion in endless boring diaries)... and meanwhile, lies and criminal activities by Dickie and Georgie and their evil minions during this endless campaigning that is boring everyone senseless have been ignored and the lies and the war crimes continue....

    Someone, please tell me where ANY of this makes ANY sense...?!?


    by NonnyO on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 02:29:07 AM PST

    •  It doesn't make sense, NonnyO (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gorette, NonnyO

      Someone, please tell me where ANY of this makes ANY sense...?!?

      It seems sometimes that we who care are screaming into the dark.  I'm also very disappointed in the Kossacks who are parroting the MSM(COM) in this primary season when we (most of us? all of us?) were railing against them before the campaign trail became the focus.  For instance, why in the hell quote Novak as CW?

      The media knew that Mukasey's son had a link to Guiliani, and the congresscritters probably did too.  They must think that most people are not savvy enough to delve into background information, or care.  They may be right, unfortunately.

      I see our job now, as Kossacks and U.S. citizens, to get our neighbors, friends, relatives, more involved in civics, locally and nationally.  To know the facts and not believe everything on the teevee.

      My sister (R) told me she heard of DailyKos, and at first I wondered how she would, then I laughed and realized that what she knows about it is what she's been told by Bill O'Reilly.  One of these days, I'll talk to her about the Tampa case where FOX News won the right to lie to their audience based on "free speech."  She is not a neocon by any stretch of the imagination, but she is as stubborn as any elected Republican in defense of this Administration.  It is real tough to admit to the mess, better to put the blinders on and wait for the next election.  I'm praying daily that we get there (1/20/09) and will breathe a sigh of relief on that day, unless things go to shit.  No blinders here.  I'm preparing for shit, and hoping for a clean flush.

      I am an Edwards Democrat!

      by Scubaval on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 08:17:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Didn't know about that Tampa case. What a (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        sad situation, but something everyone needs to realize. Yes, die-hard Republicons are having a tough time I should think though I never talk to any.

        I agree about Edwards. Isn't he the best?

        "I ain't got it." - Bush, 2008 in Mideast

        by Gorette on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 08:32:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Agree with you, NonnyO! (0+ / 0-)

      Kucinich helped drive the agenda in the same way Edwards did toward more progressive positions, but he was treated badly by the MSM of course. They need to pursuetheir fairy tale/star characters for glitz/celebritology, eh?

      Running out the clock, as you say, is crap, isn't it? It will cause a lot of damage.

      "I ain't got it." - Bush, 2008 in Mideast

      by Gorette on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 08:35:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mukasey s/b impeached (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gorette, gooderservice

    and should never have been confirmed.  DiFi needs to be primaried.

    Good to see that your diary got rescued, Gorette, and in time for me to rec.  

    Damn, are we going to wake up from this nightmare?

    I am an Edwards Democrat!

    by Scubaval on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 08:19:31 AM PST

  •  Brave New Films (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Here is an article and video about Rudy 9/11 and Mukasey's relationship, along with stepson Marc being mentioned.

    Giuliani And Mukasey Sitting In A Tree

    Why can't we use the 140 billion to jump-start Universal Health Care? If we don't advocate for this, who will?

    by gooderservice on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 09:12:32 AM PST

  •  Excellent catch (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    If not for diary rescue I probably would have missed this story.  This has the potential to be game changing, please continue to flog this here and on any other sites you visit.

    Drop comments in other diaries with a link to this information, I think it should be more widely known that his SON is his nominal opposition in this case. is America's Blog of Record

    by WI Deadhead on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 09:13:12 AM PST

  •  The next overseas trip for Bush and friends (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    should be to an international war crimes trial. After they're released, then they should stand trail in the US for lying, cheating and corruption! Shumer and Feinstein no doubt would issue pardons if they could!

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