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Things are inching towards the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate torture.  My concern all along has been that we need to ensure that the investigations don't derail important legislative battles on health care and cap-and-trade.

We need the DoJ to appoint Patrick Fitzgerald as the special prosecutor tasked with the torture investigation.

I realized recently that what matters more than finding someone congress is happy with or that the public is  happy with is finding a prosecutor that the media believes to be unbiased.  Without the patina of nonpartisanship, the media could turn the investigation into a daily circus, draining energy from the legislation we need passed.  Fitzgerald is the right guy for the job.

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The most obvious reason to pick Patrick Fitzgerald is his investigation of Blago.  It shows the media that he'll go after Democrats, and since that's the most recent big corruption bust, it'll be fresh in their minds.

But he doesn't just go after Dems - let's look at his record:

  1.  Investigation of Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) for corruption and conspiracy.
  1.  Investigation of Dick Cheney's CoS, Scooter Libby (R) in the Plame CIA leak case.  Here he went after members of the Bush administration, even though he was appointed by Ashcroft's own deputy.
  1.  Investigation of members of Chicago Mayor Daley's (D) office for mail fraud and corruption.
  1.  Investigation of Gov. George Ryan (R) for corruption.
  1.  A number of other cases against mafia figures, WTC bombers, and others.

It's a strong record, and one that would give the nation, the media, and congress no reason to doubt the validity of the torture investigation.  (Plus Fitzgerald knows how to handle the media during press briefings, so they won't be able to throw him off.)

The GOP won't be able to complain about him - he was their pick for the Plame CIA leak investigation, and even Bush said this about him:

"After the investigation was under way, the Justice Department appointed United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald as a Special Counsel in charge of the case. Mr. Fitzgerald is a highly qualified, professional prosecutor who carried out his responsibilities as charged."

Just a few months ago the National Review was happily drooling at the notion that Fitzgerald's investigation of Blago would hurt Obama:

But that’s not the only way the incoming administration might be caught up in the Blagojevich affair. The probe is being conducted, after all, by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, the man who prosecuted one of the most intensely investigated and politically charged perjury-and-false-statements cases in Washington history. In that case, the Plame affair, no one was charged with any underlying crime, yet several Bush administration officials went through repeated sessions before a grand jury, plus interviews with investigators, with their statements subjected to extraordinarily close scrutiny. You don’t think the Blagojevich matter could cause trouble for Obama? Then you haven’t looked closely enough at the Plame affair.

...

But he knows, or should know, that Fitzgerald and his prosecutors won’t be nearly as accommodating as the press.

The point here isn't payback.  It's that Fitzgerald is the sort of prosecutor everyone wants investigating the other team, because they know how good he is at it.

Originally posted to barath on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 03:24 PM PDT.

Poll

Patrick Fitzgerald...

43%26 votes
28%17 votes
28%17 votes

| 60 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

    •  Elizabeth de la Vega provides a good (3+ / 0-)

      argument for not appointing a special prosecutor, in light of the 1999 expiry of the Independent Counsel law, which provided total independence form DoJ for said counsel. Read her arguments for waiting, while more information comes to light. She says that appointment of a special prosecutor would lead to everyone clamming up.

      Of Black Holes and Radio Silence

      Elizabeth de la Vega is a former federal prosecutor with more than 20 years of experience. During her tenure, she was a member of the Organized Crime Strike Force and chief of the San Jose Branch of the US attorney's office for the Northern District of California. Her pieces have appeared in a variety of print and online publications including Truthout, TomDispatch.com, The Nation, The Los Angeles Times, Salon, Mother Jones and The Christian Science Monitor. The author of "United States v. George W. Bush et al," she may be contacted at....

  •  Nah, the Publicans will tar him for being (4+ / 0-)

    the lawyer in the previous Bush/cheney fiasco.  Scooter Libby thing will just poison the well - and they will use this to hide the torture crimes.

    And they will swear that he is covering up for the POTUS in the Blago crime.  Better off if they get someone fresh, but just as tough.

    •  Interesting... (2+ / 0-)

      That's possible.  My question is whether the media will buy it.  I think the MSM wisdom on him is that he's a tough but fair prosecutor, so while the GOP will complain about anyone who's picked, their attacks might not stick.

      •  I think Fitz's reputation is overinflated. I (4+ / 0-)

        know some will disagree, but I thought he blew it with the Libby case.
         Someone made your same suggestion on msnbc to Jim Warren, a former Trib editor who is very familiar with Fitz and his work.  I think he felt the same as I do, but was diplomatic, saying no, this wasn't the place for him.  He said Fitz has too much on his plate right now and also added that he testified in a mob trial in Chgo this week and didn't do a particularly good job.

    •  What could possibly be better? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      barath

      He won his case.  His case was defensible to most Americans by way of facts.

      He would be the best of the best in terms of creating a real feeling of justice served by average Americans and by showing what partisan hacks the Republicans are.

      'Media' is the plural for 'mediocre'. - Rene Saguisag

      by funluvn1 on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 03:32:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  C'mon you know how the Publicans are..... (2+ / 0-)

        they'll drown the fish in water.  We'll never get to the bottom of this bull - they'll hoop and hollar about fitz for days - and anything he does they will surely say he is coming back for a 2nd bite of the apple, since he didn't get Cheney the first time around.

        The bums will pull anything out of their (fill in the blank) to drown the torture trial .  Remember these are the people who like drama and no substance.  They will rail on and on about him out to get the Bush Admin.  

        As for the msm - you can't build anything on sand.  That's just what they've become.  Remember they carried the water for this Admin marching all the way to war.  so don't count on the MSM for help.

        •  Nah, jennyL. I don't know that (0+ / 0-)

          Nor do I agree with that.  Your MSM is just another set of words for Liberal Media.  Which is a joke, of course.  No, not in your mind.  Touche', huh?

          'Media' is the plural for 'mediocre'. - Rene Saguisag

          by funluvn1 on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 04:01:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  GOPer/media/Rupert's_whores -- who cares ??? (0+ / 0-)

            The juries and the sentencing judges -- that's the audience.

            That's the only audience that matters.

            Fitzgerald is top notch for getting the convictions. And for not overcharging, not grandstanding, not allowing any silly leaks.

            BTW ::: the opposite to that POS out at Pepperdine, who fouled the wells during the Clinton Whitewater/impeachment travesty.

            Droogie is as Droogie does....

            by vets74 on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 05:38:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  I would reject him because he failed (3+ / 0-)

      and as others have mentioned, his political investigations tend to be leak prone.

      "80% of Republicans want Palin to lead the Republican Party and 100% of Democrats want her to lead the Republican Party." Bill Maher

      by Dave from Oregon on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 03:38:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  They'll tar whoever it is with something (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      barath

      Fitz has the air of a truthteller about him.  The Republicans are hopeless and we can't rely on them to support anything about this.  They'll fight it all tooth and nail no matter what.

      Save the parrots: Drink shade-grown coffee!

      by oscarsmom on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 03:41:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're right - but why let the circus take over (0+ / 0-)

        with Fitz and nobody will get the jest of what horrible things they did.  There's gotta be another truthteller in the justice dept. or one of his new appointed Atty Gen.

  •  That would be the best of the best in my (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    barath, stagemom, oscarsmom, ericlewis0

    opinion.

    Not only would we get a prosecutor that is interested in justice, but winger heads would explode.

    They aren't interested in justice.

    'Media' is the plural for 'mediocre'. - Rene Saguisag

    by funluvn1 on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 03:29:29 PM PDT

  •  He is a Republican that pulled up very short (7+ / 0-)

    in the Plame case.  This is not a job for someone who will top out on his investigation, this is a job for someone who will go all the way.

  •  Great idea, hope it works! (0+ / 0-)

    becayuse if we get a Mitchell kind of investigation we are all screwed

    The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?' - 1984

    by MinistryOfTruth on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 03:31:41 PM PDT

  •  Is Scooter Libby out again? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cwholcomb, Bob Love

    Or does Fitzegerald only go after each low level patsy while letting the principals go scott free once?

    Law is a light which in different countries attracts to it different species of blind insects. Nietzsche

    by Marcion on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 03:32:06 PM PDT

  •  I've been wanting that for a long time!!! n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    barath, funluvn1

    friend good, fire bad.

    by ericlewis0 on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 03:32:16 PM PDT

  •  Fitz failed with the Plame investigation (4+ / 0-)

    I don't know why he failed, but he did. Find someone else.

    "80% of Republicans want Palin to lead the Republican Party and 100% of Democrats want her to lead the Republican Party." Bill Maher

    by Dave from Oregon on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 03:36:51 PM PDT

  •  I totally support this. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    barath, stagemom

    Fitzgerald for special prosecutor to investigate torture.

    And I fuck the impossible.

    by MiscastDice on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 03:37:23 PM PDT

  •  Haha! I had the same thought this morning. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    barath, stagemom

    Ed Schultz was asking, so what do you want to happen about the torture?  And the first thing that came into my head was, "Sick Patrick Fitzgerald on 'em!"  LOL

    Save the parrots: Drink shade-grown coffee!

    by oscarsmom on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 03:40:13 PM PDT

  •  No. He does too much grandstanding. (4+ / 0-)

    It's one thing to grandstand about Blago's petty corruption, it's another to have someone out there grandstanding on these more serious issues.  I'd rather have a serious minded, low-key guy or gal (which might be even better).  And I don't want witch hunts, fishing expeditions, and leaks designed to smear people (including those for which there's insufficient evidence of criminality) and taint juries.  Fitz excels in all of those.

  •  Yes, let's appoint someone who screwed up the (3+ / 0-)

    Rove Cheney investigation, FAIL.

    I vote a resounding NO. There has been no Fitzmas, ever.

    Children in the U.S... detained [against] intl. & domestic standards." --Amnesty Internati

    by doinaheckuvanutjob on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 04:00:31 PM PDT

  •  Fitz is a whimp: He let Karl Rove off the hook (3+ / 0-)

    And he let Dick Cheney off the hook -- even with handwritten notes to submit as evidence!!

    Fitzgerald was a failure.
    We need someone that puts Cheney and all these guys on the witness stand.

    _________________
    "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold, is for
    people of good conscience to remain silent."
         --Thomas Jefferson

    by FreeSociety on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 04:01:38 PM PDT

  •  He's kinda busy now... n/t (0+ / 0-)

    Let's put this to bed. Yes, I am an Obamabot!!! You've found the foolish worshiper!

    by freakofsociety on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 04:25:19 PM PDT

  •  Fitzgerald is a BUSH political (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Love

    hack. One of the local news reporter said, "he is eyeing the Senate seat held by Senator Burris."

  •  There's only one lawyer the GOP base will respect (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Love

    Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others.

    by Aqualad08 on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 04:49:21 PM PDT

  •  Special Prosecutor? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Love

    I would be surprised if a Special Prosecutor is named in this investigation. There is a reason Congress let the Special Prosecutor statue lapse. The Obama administration does not want to see this investigation run wild. I think this will be done internally at the DOJ, if at all.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 04:49:41 PM PDT

  •  Sorry, but his investigation of the Plame affair (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cwholcomb

    stayed meekly within the narrowest scope of his authorization. I'm not sure he can be trusted to follow such an important investigation wherever it leads. Plus I hear he has his sights on public office and may not want to start an investigation he can't finish.

    Besides, how come when a Democratic president is being investigated the Special Prosecutor is a Republican, and when a Republic president is being investigated the Special Prosecutor is likewise a Republican?

    "We should all be down on our knees and praying for the President." - Glenn Beck, 10/5/07

    by Bob Love on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 04:50:45 PM PDT

  •  Yeah, he really stuck it to Karl Rove (0+ / 0-)

    Oh... wait...

    This ain't no party. This ain't no disco. This ain't no foolin' around!

    by Snud on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 05:14:12 PM PDT

  •  A BIG no. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aidos

    Fitz futzes around til the very end, and often up to the statute's limitation.
    Some call him careful; I call him unprofessionally slow.

    The way he handled Illinois corruption was frustrating or worse.
    For all the years that he has been picking at Daley, getting all of his top aides to resign, plead or get indicted, the real powers, Daley included remain scot free.

    His work up of the Libby case was an embarrassment. ROVE WALKED? I bet I know why. That was the plan all along.

    Ryan? My gosh, I was pushed to donate bucks to Ryan, if only to keep a large client happy. (illinois state medical) The word was, either put up or lose all your cases. That sucked, I tell you. And so does Fitz.

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 05:21:36 PM PDT

    •  Who pushed you? Webb or Thompson? Or? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      agnostic

      If it's Illinois Medical Society, then it most likely was Thompson. Thompson is the lobbyist for IMS as well as lobbying for predatory lenders.  You have my deepest sympathy, I know what you have gone through.  Thompson is a monster who covers himself with an aura of imperial civility. Thompson's not a lawyer, he got his degree, because he literally "sucked" his mentor(s) at NU and elsewhere.  
      Ask anyone who graduated with Thompson's class at NU.  NO ONE recalls seeing Thompson in class. Why? Jim Thompson is a very, very large and imposing man, kinda hard to miss.  WHY?  Because Thompson got his law degree because of who he blew, not what he knew.

      Thompson was busy threatening people (or, as he would put it, lobbying)in Springfield to change the sodomy laws.  Yep.  Jim Thompson started that guns & gays meme, back in the 50's. That was his claim to fame and his eventual road to the governor's mansion.  

      His beard, I mean his wife & child, was merely the way he planned on becoming President.  

      Yeah.  Thompson was on Bush Sr.'s (Dan Quayle got the job) SHORT LIST for the Vice-Presidency until the FBI talked to me.  Thompson & his cronies still have a grudge against me.  For awhile, his law firm's pro bono team did the legal work for my non-profit women's support group.

      Blagojevich was mentored by Jim Thompson.  When Blago ran for Gov, he met many times with Thompson at an office on Wacker Dr.  The doorman clued me in on what was going on.  I was minding my own business, and the doorman just blabbed to me and continued to blab.   Frankly, it made me sick.  I find Thompson's presence sickening.  I find his name on the State of Illinois Building sickening.

      That's why Blago keeps smiling.  He's crazy like a fox.  He knows, that Thompson, the queen of Illinois corruption, will pull out all the stops to get Fitzgerald.  There's alot of vindictiveness, spite, etc., in those two, Thompson & Blagojevich.

      I had to laugh when recently I saw Dawn Clark Netsch was addressing corruption in Illinois.  Netsch was one of Thompson's alleged professors.  She famously told her students that she "learned alot from Jim Thompson".  The students were puzzled.  He was her student.

      Thompson. The Illinois combine, began with him.  Until they nail Thompson, the corruption - including threats - will continue.

      BTW, Thompson's dad was a doctor.  A pathologist.  I had the displeasure of meeting.  He looked like an older version of the Gov, but without his pretentious imperial air.  Two detectives from Homicide/Violent Crimes asked me to go under deep-cover to find a link between Dr. Thompson, Jim Thompson and the the death of a male prostitute from Clark & Diversey.  A sordid tale.  Some nasty politicians got away with murder.  I am a cynic.  

      Illinois: so much corruption, so little time.

      I've had many masters and many lives.

      "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." -Aristotle

      by Aidos on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 06:16:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  David Iglasias (0+ / 0-)

    I'll bet he would be a real "pit bull" in going after the gang of thugs

  •  Yup. He did a real good job (0+ / 0-)

    protecting the Bush Administration.  The only stipulation he put in place was that Bush not pardon Libby, otherwise those Grand Jury transcripts could become public.


    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 05:58:40 PM PDT

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