Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Gonzales aide refuses to testify

I have read with amusement the comments people have made about how the current investigation into the firing of eight U. S. attorneys is much ado about nothing. No crime was committed, the critics are sayings.
I have contended that the investigation is necessary if these firing were made to slow or stop investigations into wrongdoing by officeholders, and a large number of those who were fired were connected with that kind of information.
In nearly every instance, prosecutors were improperly called by elected officials trying to determine the outcome of investigations. And though former U. S. Attorney Bud Cummins has waffled somewhat in his comments on whether his firing was connected to an investigation of the awarding of lucrative license fee offices by Missouri Governor Matt Blunt's administration, there is absolutely no doubt Cummins was improperly contacted by a lawyer representing the governor's interests.
Now those who say there is nothing criminal about what has taken place have received another blow to their stance: a top aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales took the Fifth Amendment Monday rather than testify before a Senate committee:

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales's senior counselor yesterday refused to testify in the Senate about her involvement in the firings of eight U.S. attorneys, invoking her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Monica M. Goodling, who has taken an indefinite leave of absence, said in a sworn affidavit to the Senate Judiciary Committee that she will "decline to answer any and all questions" about the firings because she faces "a perilous environment in which to testify."

Forget the "perilous environment" nonsense. When you invoke the Fifth Amendment, you are exercising a constitutional right, but if you are being paid by the American taxpayers and you are unwilling to tell the truth, it certainly indicates you have something to hide.


Anonymous said...

You are paid by the taxpayers too. Does that mean you can't ever invoke the 5th without appearing to have something to hide? I think i would rather see the congress make and refine laws rather than conduct one frivolous investigation after another with the sole purpose of scoring political points. George Bush is not running for president, but the congress seems to feel that going after him is what the American People want them to do for the next two years. All of the attorneys are waffling on their initial assertions about wrongful firing.

Anonymous said...

Randy, the bushies think they are above the law. This is so like Watergate it makes me wonder how so many Americans can turn a blind eye.

Anonymous said...

In your “Times: Document gap evident in material turned over by Bush administration” article I stated in my 2:32 p.m. post that: “so long as administration officials avoid the perjury trap, there is really nothing your side can do over this issue besides raise a stink.”

Obviously, Ms. Goodling’s attorney agrees with me. Now, as a school teacher, you might think it is nonsense that an innocent person has anything to fear when testifying truthfully, but as a lawyer, I can tell you that it is quite possible to make an innocent witness sound like a liar when you are experienced at it and motivated. In fact, as far as I am concerned, it is malpractice for any attorney to advise his client to say anything to people investigating them. Particularly in a case like this where the people doing the investigation have a vested (political) interest in finding a “crime” whether it exists or not. Democrats are on a fishing expedition hoping to find a crime and if no crime can be found then that is when someone gets wacked with perjury (see, e.g., Martha Stewart and/or Scooter Libby).

BTW, did you think it was nonsense that Susan McDougal took the 5th? What crime was she covering up with her silence?

You know, if you really want to get to the “truth” and avoid Ms. Goodling’s ability to take the 5th, then there is an easy way to do it, namely, give her immunity. Once immunity is granted then she can no longer assert the 5th because she is no longer subject to prosecution and therefore she must testify or face contempt charges.

Finally, you keep taking about crimes, can you tell me specifically what federal statute you think has been violated?

Anonymous said...

GSA Chief Is Accused of Playing Politics
Doan Denies 'Improper' Use of Agency for GOP

By Scott Higham and Robert O'Harrow Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, March 26, 2007; Page A01

Witnesses have told congressional investigators that the chief of the General Services Administration and a deputy in Karl Rove's political affairs office at the White House joined in a videoconference earlier this year with top GSA political appointees, who discussed ways to help Republican candidates.

With GSA Administrator Lurita Alexis Doan and up to 40 regional administrators on hand, J. Scott Jennings, the White House's deputy director of political affairs, gave a PowerPoint presentation on Jan. 26 of polling data about the 2006 elections.

Anonymous said...

The committee's examination of the Jan. 26 videoconference could raise questions about the role of Jennings, the White House official who works for Rove.

Jennings's name has recently surfaced in investigations of the firing of eight U.S. attorneys around the country. He communicated with Justice Department officials concerning the appointment of Tim Griffin, a former Rove aide, as U.S. attorney in Little Rock, according to e-mails released this month. For that exchange, Jennings, although working at the White House, used an e-mail account registered to the Republican National Committee, where Griffin had worked as a political opposition researcher.

Jennings is a longtime political operative from Kentucky. He served as political director for Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in 2002 before joining the White House.

After Jennings and Doan spoke during the videoconference, one regional GSA administrator offered the suggestion that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) could be excluded from the opening of an environmentally efficient federal courthouse in San Francisco, which Pelosi represents, according to Waxman's letter. GSA manages the nation's federal courthouses.

The letter cited evidence that Doan then raised questions about "the upcoming opening of a courthouse in Florida," based on statements from participants in the videoconference. Doan noted that President Bill Clinton had suggested he might attend, and she "stated that an effort should be made to get Senator Mel Martinez, the General Chairman of the Republican National Committee, to attend," Waxman said in his letter to Doan.

Anonymous said...

Randy, the coruption is everywhere in this partisan bunch in the current administration.

Anonymous said...

I think corruption has always existed in government, there are those who rise above it, and those who succumb. I haven't walked in the shoes to be able to judge what is going on. I sometimes feel that some of this is the detractor from the real issues, such as the war, border patrol issues and the financial situation of the country.

Anonymous said...

Randy, i found this on line it makes a good point.

A party can request a hearing (in federal or state court) to examine whether the party invoking the Fifth has done so properly. Goodling's attorney's letter does not provide a valid basis for invoking the Fifth. You can't invoke the Fifth to avoid perjury charges (or obstructing justice with the selfsame testimony). (I have the cases here, if you want them.) You can't invoke the Fifth because you think the Committee is on a witch hunt. Etc.
They shouldn't let Goodling get away with this. She either is refusing to providing testimony because she may be testifying about some crime she has previously committed (which is a valid reason for taking the Fifth) or she isn't. If she is, and a Judge so determines, then fine (and goodbye to her attorney's ridiculous GOP talking points), and if she isn't, she should be compelled to testify under subpoena.

The funny thing is she may be obstructing justice (protecting others) by refusing to testify under a bogus claim of needing to take the Fifth.

Talk to some attorneys who work with Congressional committees and see which court they can take this to -- I would suspect the D.C. Circuit.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it amazing how all Repuklicans stick together, lie together, and eventually hang together. Their side is always right, and they cry foul when they are investigated by "frivolous" investigations. They always know these investigations are a waste of time and money, and then they eventually resign or are asked to resign. Perhaps this bunch in the White House will take care of things in such a way that a Repug can't get elected or relected for years.

Anonymous said...

And as for the Attorney on here with his advice, they always told me that every man sitting on death row or in any prison had the best attorney that he could afford.

Anonymous said...

In a post to a previous article Randy wrote: “Please feel free to comment on the posts, even to argue points, but do not resort to namecalling [sic].”

Does that admonition only apply to “Repuklicans” and/or “Repugs” or does it also cover the Dimwit-o-crat who wrote the two non sequiturs above?