Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Do We Finally Have The Smoking Gun?


Your Congress is finally on-the-job working for you. Because of the Democratic Party's win in the November 2006 election, the US House of Representatives now has the crucial subpoena power it needs to hold Mr. Bush and his cronies accountable for the thousands of mistakes (and likely illegal actions) they've committed over the past seven years. Representative John Conyers (one of my personal heroes) released the following document last week:

March 13, 2007

The latest round of disclosures from the Department of Justice raise new and troubling questions about the firing of six United States Attorneys.

We have just received documents from the Justice Department in the last hour and are in the process of reviewing them. At a minimum, we believe these documents show a coordinated effort, initiated by the White House, to purge every United States Attorney in the country.

Until recently, the Justice Department persisted in stonewalling the Congress with claims that these firings were “performance related.” Now, these documents prove that assertion to be categorically false. We now know the original plan was to fire all the United States Attorneys. It is absurd to think that the performance of every United States Attorney in the country was sub-par and that they deserved to be fired. So this is about something else.

Is it about political cronyism? Is it about partisan pressure on public corruption investigations?

We don’t know because the Justice Department and the White House continue to hide behind rationalizations and cover stories that are obviously not true. It is time to come clean.

I have directed my staff to engage with the Justice Department and White House to bring in officials who may have knowledge of these issues for depositions. If they fail to come forward voluntarily, we are prepared to consider further subpoenas.

Media accounts have raised questions about the President’s and the White House role in this matter. The public deserves a full accounting of their involvement. I think the president may want to consider making himself available to answer questions from the press on this matter.

The important thing to remember is that this is an ongoing investigation and we will seek coordination with and cooperation from the White House and the Justice Department to get to the bottom of this first. We will not put the cart before the horse by demanding resignations and issuing subpoenas without first asking these individuals to voluntarily answer our questions so that we might get a better sense of what has happened and who should be held accountable.

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But we will get to the bottom of this crisis in our Justice Department with or without cooperation. The United States Attorneys are entrusted with tremendous power in our criminal justice system. Using the United States Attorneys as political pawns undermines their critical work in fighting terrorism and risks subjecting the power of the prosecutor to partisan whims.

If that happened here, we deserve the truth and we deserve more accountability than the resignation of a staff member. We are looking to establish better accountability not just in how the Justice Department handled the firing of these US Attorneys, but we want to them to account for their mishandling of the national security letters.

We will markup a bill in our committee this Thursday that repeals the provision in the Patriot Act allowing US Attorneys to be appointed without Senate confirmation and next week we will hold hearings on the use of national security letters. Next Tuesday we will be holding an issue on the NSL Scandal. We are going to use our oversight authority to the best of our ability to hold this Administration accountable for their actions. - Text Source

Photo Source

Keep track of this dramatic case on Conyers' Website.

An article in today's NYT by one of the "fired" Federal Prosecutors, David C. Iglesias.


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