Image: Themis, Goddess of Justice
The replacement of the eight fired U.S. attorneys through a loophole in the Patriot Act that enables the administration to evade consultation with and confirmation by Congress is a convenient element in the well-laid scheme. But it was not ad hoc, erratic or aberrant. Rather, it was the logical outcome of a long effort to distort the constitutional framework for partisan consolidation of power into a de facto one-party state. Sidney Blumenthal, All roads lead to Rove, Salon, 3-15-07
In the interview with Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), [Keith] Olbermann referred to comments made previously on the show by Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) about "really angry career employees," then asked if the Committee had any "rabbits in hats."
"He said that he hoped that the White House would let Mr. Rove and the others testify on the record," Olbermann related to Leahy. "If they did not, there really were enough really angry career employees, prosecutors in the Justice Department who would ensure that this information, the actual facts of the case would get out anyway."
Olbermann continued, "I'm wondering what we should infer from that. Are there rabbits in hats that you have that we don't know about?"
"Keith, I was a prosecutor for eight years," Leahy said. "I've always tried to have a few witnesses honing back in case we need them and I suspect we will have them. Raw Story, 3-23-07
Hard Rain Journal 3-25-07: DoJ Purge Update -- Four Blockbusters that Have Not Hit YET
By Richard Power
Here are hints at four blockbusters that have not hit yet:
BLOCKBUSTER #1: Maybe Gonzalez Can't Resign
Alberto Gonzalez may not resign, or at least not for awhile.
Why? Who would replace him?
That person would be walking into the frenzied cover-up of a massive abuse of power.
If they sent in one of their shameless operatives, e.g., Ted Olson, Senate confirmation hearings, now under the control of the Democratic majority, could wreak further havoc.
If they sent in an actual Republican statesman, e.g., John Danforth, either the cover-up would end or he would resign. And if the cover-up ended, the trail of filthy footprints would lead to Karl Rove and probably W. Jong-il himself.
BLOCKBUSTER #2: Was Fitzgerald Pressured Not to Indict Rove?
If you look at Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into the betrayal of US secret agent Valerie Plame's identity through the prism of the DoJ purge scandal, you get some fascinating hues and vectors:
We know that Rove was allowed to changed his story in five grand jury appearances. (It is unusual that a "person of interest" testifies five times before a single grand jury, it is even more unusual that the person doesn't end up getting indicted.)
What kind of pressure or restraints was Fitzgerald operating under?
Remember, he did not have the unassailable independence or unlimited power of Ken Starr or Lawrence Walsh. The Office of the Independent Counsel is long gone.
We already know that Rove didn't want Fitzgerald to be appointed to the post of US Attorney in Illinois, because he was concerned for the Bush-Cheney regime's cronies there. (See Sidney Blumenthal, All roads lead to Rove, Salon, 3-15-07)
We already know that in the ranking of all 93 US attorneys for their loyalty to Bush, he was not considered a loyalist. Indeed, it is a tribute to Fitzgerald's skill as a warrior that his ranking fell in the middle, as neither "strong" in exhibiting "loyalty" or "weak" for resisting "Administration initiatives" (Raw Story, 3-19-07).
But if Fitzgerald had been pressured or restrained, why wouldn't he have come forward himself?
Where would he have turned? To the then Republican-controlled US Congress which had forsaken all responsibility for oversight? To the US mainstream news media?
And perhaps of even greater significance, what would have happened to his investigation? Would Libby ever have been tried and convicted? Would Fitzgerald ever have gotten to stand there in his closing remarks before the jury, and all of Beltwayistan and the USA, and talk about the "dark cloud" over Cheney and the White House?
No, he wouldn't have.
At least, with the conviction of Libby on four counts, the issue of this treason has been kept alive.
The question is what would happen if Fitzgerald was subpoenaed and compelled to answer questions about whether or not he was pressured not to indict Rove or restrained in his investigation? I do not know the answer, but I do know he would tell the truth.
BLOCKBUSTER #3: The Real Reason Rove Wanted Democrats Investigated for Vote Fraud
There have been convictions for criminal activity by Rove-connected Republican operatives both in the 2002 election in New Hampshire and the 2004 election in Ohio.
More and more revelations are bubbling to the surface concerning both Ohio in 2004 and Florida in 2006. (See Explosive New Vote Fraud Developments Continue To Rock Ohio and Florida, Common Dreams, 3-23-07)
We know that career DoJ lawyers in the Civil Rights division wanted to pursue allegations concerning DeLay-inspired re-districting in Texas. They were thwarted. (See Justice Staff Saw Texas Districting As Illegal, Washington Post, 12-2-05)
We know Robert. F. Kennedy and Mike Papantonio brought a Qui Tam lawsuit (which compelled DoJ to decide on whether or not to participate) concerning Ohio back in 2006. But what happened to it?
What will Leahy and Conyers find if they scratch below the surface? Will they find that there was an internal struggle within the US DoJ on whether or not to follow up on serious accusations election fraud orchestrated by the Rove machine? Will what they find lead to revelations that call into play the legitimacy of the last two presidential elections? What will they find out about the 2002 New Hampshire Senate race? What will they find out about F-13?
(NOTE: Brad Blog is on the cutting edge of the cynical and contrived "Democratic vote fraud" angle. Check out this post: EXCLUSIVE: New Details on the Phony 'Voter Fraud' Angle in the U.S. Attorneys Purge, Brad Blog, 3-15-07)
BLOCKBUSTER #4: The Scandal is Much Bigger than What These Eight US Attorneys Would or Would Not Do, It Reaches to Guam and even Redmond
As Krugman wrote three weeks ago, "the bigger scandal . . . almost surely involves prosecutors still in office . . . The Gonzales Eight were fired because they would not go along with the Bush administration's politicization of justice. But statistical evidence suggests that many other prosecutors decided to protect their jobs or further their careers by doing what the administration wanted them to do: harass Democrats while turning a blind eye to Republican malfeasance." (Krugman: Bigger scandal involves US attorneys still in office, RAW STORY, 3-9-07)
There is much more to be uncovered and many more revelations ahead.
For example, the Bush-Cheney regime's possible tampering with the DoJ case against Big Tobacco has hit the fan, but when will its possible tampering with the DoJ's anti-trust case against Micro$oft hit the blades? Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) is going to investigate the Big Tobacco angle, I doubt he will overlook any issues concerning AG John Ashcroft and the Micro$oft anti-trust suit. (See Ashcroft's MS conflict of interest, geek.com, 2-15-02)
Remember, too, that in the early months of 2006, it was widely reported that six to eight members of Congress were in deep trouble and would probably be indicted on Federal corruption charges, including Tom Delay and Jerry Lewis (R-CA). But only Nye and Cunningham went down in the end. Why?
Here are some leads on important angles that need to be kept in the forefront over the next few weeks, as this historic struggle to restore the rule of law in the Executive branch intensifies:
In the fall of 2005 dominos were falling fast in the Jack Abramoff investigation. And they were falling in one very clear direction, closer and closer to Tom DeLay.
First DeLay's former communications director fell . . . Then DeLay's former deputy chief of staff fell . . . And it looked like the former Chief of Staff [Ed Buckham] was next . . . In June 2006 the Washington Post revealed this choice nugget: A registered lobbyist opened a retirement account in the late 1990s for the wife of then-House Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and contributed thousands of dollars to it while also paying her a salary to work for him from her home in Texas . . . Since then.....nothing. No Buckham plea. No indictments. Nothing.....was a U.S. Attorney fired to prevent the investigation from continuing to inexorably close in on Tom DeLay? Nope. But something very fishy did indeed take place. The lead investigator was given a Federal Judgeship, a new division chief with connections to the GOP machine was appointed (AND REPORTEDLY, TO THE DELAY DEFENSE TEAM ITSELF) and presto...no more momentum in the investigation. Why did the Tom DeLay investigation stop? Or, there is more than one way to skin a US attorney , Burnt Orange Report, 3-22-07
A US grand jury in Guam opened an investigation of controversial lobbyist Jack Abramoff more than two years ago, but President Bush removed the supervising federal prosecutor, and the probe ended soon after.
The previously undisclosed Guam inquiry is separate from a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia that is investigating allegations that Abramoff bilked Indian tribes out of millions of dollars.
In Guam, a US territory in the Pacific, investigators were looking into Abramoff's secret arrangement with Superior Court officials to lobby against a court reform bill then pending in Congress. The legislation, since approved, gave the Guam Supreme Court authority over the Superior Court. Bush removal ended Guam investigation: US attorney's demotion halted probe of lobbyist, Los Angeles Times, 8-8-05
Last September, CREW named Rep. Rick Renzi as one of the most corrupt members of Congress in our report, "Beyond DeLay." Last October, the Associated Press reported that Renzi was under federal investigation for a land deal. In December, Paul Charlton, the U.S. Attorney in Arizona who was investigating Renzi, was fired. Speculation is growing about whether the Renzi investigation led to Charlton's dismissal . . . Was Renzi investigation a factor in dismissal of Arizona's U.S. Attorney?, CREW, 3-21-07
Washington D.C. defense contractor Mitchell Wade pled guilty last February to paying then-California Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham more than $1 million in bribes.
Wade’s company MZM Inc. received its first federal contract from the White House. The contract, which ran from July 15 to August 15, 2002, stipulated that Wade be paid $140,000
Two weeks later, on August 30, 2002, Wade purchased a yacht for $140,000
According to Cunningham’s sentencing memorandum, the purchase price of the boat had been negotiated through a third-party earlier that summer, around the same time the White House contract was signed.
To recap, the White House awarded a one-month, $140,000 contract to an individual who never held a federal contract. Two weeks after he got paid, that same contractor used a cashier’s check for exactly that amount to buy a boat for a now-imprisoned congressman at a price that the congressman had pre-negotiated.
That should raise questions about the White House’s involvement.
The leader of the Justice Department team that prosecuted a landmark lawsuit against tobacco companies said yesterday that Bush administration political appointees repeatedly ordered her to take steps that weakened the government's racketeering case.
Sharon Y. Eubanks said Bush loyalists in Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales's office began micromanaging the team's strategy in the final weeks of the 2005 trial, to the detriment of the government's claim that the industry had conspired to lie to U.S. smokers.
She said a supervisor demanded that she and her trial team drop recommendations that tobacco executives be removed from their corporate positions as a possible penalty. He and two others instructed her to tell key witnesses to change their testimony. And they ordered Eubanks to read verbatim a closing argument they had rewritten for her, she said. . . .
Two weeks before closing arguments in June, McCallum called for a meeting with Eubanks and her deputy, Stephen Brody, to discuss what McCallum described as "getting the number down" for the $130 billion penalty to create smoking-cessation programs. Brody declined to comment yesterday on the legal team's deliberations, saying that they were private.
During several tense late-night meetings, McCallum repeatedly refused to suggest a figure, Eubanks said, or give clear reasons for the reduction. Brody refused to lower the amount. Finally, on the morning the government was to propose the penalty in court, she said, McCallum ordered it cut to $10 billion.
The most stressful moment, Eubanks said, came when the three appointees ordered her to read word for word a closing argument they had rewritten. The statement explained the validity of seeking a $10 billion penalty.
"I couldn't even look at the judge," she said. Prosecutor Says Bush Appointees Interfered With Tobacco Case, Washington Post, 3-22-07
Hard Rain Journal 3-7-07: Justice Not Just Blindfolded, But Bound and Gagged?
Hard Rain Journal 2-26-07: Is the Storm Yet to Come? Our Only Protection is An Old Piece of Parchment; Its Only Protection is Us
Hard Rain Journal 2-22-07: Corporatist News Media Still Shields Bush-Cheney from the Savage Truth on Plame, Iraq, Iran, Al Qaeda and Walter Reed
Hard Rain Journal 2-21-07: This is Madness -- Bush-Cheney Target Saddam and then the Iranians -- Both Sworn Enemies of Al Qaeda, Meanwhile...
Hard Rain Journal 2-16-07: What Happens When a Whole Nation is Dragged into Room 101? Remember, 2+2=4
Hard Rain Journal 2-13-07: Is the Mainstream News Media Ignoring the Biggest Obstruction of Justice in US History?
Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and Words of Power. His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to www.wordsofpower.net
Mitchell Wade, Iran, Valerie Plame, Rep. Jerry Lewis, Rep. Rick Renzi, Sen. Patrick Leahy, Patrick Fitzgerald,David Iglesias, Tom DeLay, Jack Abramoff, Bush, Cheney, Duke Cunningham, Karl Rove, CREW, Guam, Microsoft, Sharon Y. Eubanks , I. Lewis Libby, DoJ, Richard Power, Words of Power