Category Archives: Executive Privilege
John Conyers, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, has just subpoenaed Karl Rove while investigating the politicization of the Justice Department and the political prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman. Rove previously invoked executive privilege to avoid congressional subpoenas. Conyers said in a press release: “I will carry this investigation forward to its conclusion, whether in Congress or in court. … Change has come to Washington, and I hope Karl Rove is ready for it.”
Oh, and happy 50th birthday KO! 😉
Once again my favorite constitutional law Professor at GW University, Jonathan Turley, talks about the Kucinich impeachment article and Bush’s most recent claim of Executive Privilege to keep Mukasey from complying with a House subpoena on the PlameGate investigation.
The Republican National Committee said it will not abide by a subpoena and turn over documents to a Congressional committee investigating the firings of at least eight US attorneys last year because the RNC is waiting to see if the White House will assert executive privilege over RNC documents at the center of the controversy, according to an outside law firm retained by the RNC.
The White House has asserted executive privilege to block senior administration officials from testifying before Congress about their involvement in the decision to fire the federal prosecutors. Moreover, the White House has cited executive privilege in declining to turn over specific documents to Congress that may shed further light on the circumstances behind the attorney firings. The US attorneys believe they were fired for partisan political reasons. In some instances, the US attorneys said they were pressured by Republican lawmakers and RNC operatives to file criminal charges against Democrats at the center of public corruption probes prior to last year’s midterm election as well as individual cases of voter fraud, which the attorneys said was based on weak evidence, in order to cast a dark cloud over Democratic incumbents and swing election results toward Republican challengers
Hell, isn’t everything Executive Privilege by now under King George? We need Congress to move their ass..but wait..they are on vacation..never mind.
They are really running scared with this newest reaction to Congress’s threat of contempt charges regarding the firing of the USA’s. BushCo said flat out that the Justice Department will never be allowed to pursue contempt charges initiated by Congress against White House officials once the president has invoked executive privilege. Per a WaPo article out this morning a senior official has stated:
“A U.S. attorney would not be permitted to bring contempt charges or convene a grand jury in an executive privilege case,” said a senior official, who said his remarks reflect a consensus within the administration. “And a U.S. attorney wouldn’t be permitted to argue against the reasoned legal opinion that the Justice Department provided. No one should expect that to happen.”
This is outrageous. This is pure unadulterated bullshit my dear reader. BushCo is saying that Exec. Priv trumps everything. That he makes the rules and Congress has no authority.
And it doesn’t trump everything..no sirree.. Not in the commission of a crime. Not in a free Democracy and not in the United States of America. He isn’t a king and he certainly isn’t Hitler..although you might get an argument from me about George being a reincarnated version of da fuhrer.
I have been waiting for ‘this other shoe’ to drop since I wrote this piece Wednesday about Executive Privilege. I knew that Bush and his minions would not sit still for contempt charges being brought by the Justice Dept.
Surely you, my dear reader, didn’t either. A final quote from the WaPo writeup:
But Stanley Brand, who was the Democratic House counsel during the Burford case, said the administration’s legal view “turns the constitutional enforcement process on its head. They are saying they will always place a claim of presidential privilege without any judicial determination above a congressional demand for evidence — without any basis in law.” Brand said the position is essentially telling Congress: “Because we control the enforcement process, we are going to thumb our nose at you.”
The shit is about to hit the fan. I just hope the Congress is ready for it. Its not going to be a cakewalk..and they better not pussy out on this.
I know folks; I possibly tackled this subject before here. But recently our Decider-in-Chief has used the term for anything and everything when it comes to Congressional oversight regarding the actions of his minions on vital issues and even some not-so-vital issues like the death of Pat Tillman.
Let’s start off with the Congressional Research Service’s report on Executive Privilege. The CRS in their own words is “the public policy research arm of the United States Congress. As a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS works exclusively and directly for Members of Congress, their Committees and staff on a confidential, nonpartisan basis. The sole mission of CRS is to serve the United States Congress.” This report was updated in 2004, long before all the bravado and bs started coming out of our Executive Branch in spades. It’s a 33-page document so bring your lunch if you plan on reading the report I linked to above. The report lists the history of Executive Privilege, the amount of times it has been invoked and by whom. It’s an important document that I think everyone should read at some point in George Bush’s final days. Lets go to the report;
There are 74 incidents that I counted of White House executive branch employees testifying before Congress. This begins in 1944. There are 8 instances where they refused to testify. Even the Watergate disaster did not stop the President’s men from testifying before Congress, men such as Jerome Jaffe Special Consultant to Nixon, Fredrick Buzhardt Special Counsel to Nixon, Alexander Haig even testifed..the list has a total of 5 of Nixon’s ‘minions’ that testified before a Congressional committee regarding Watergate. You can bet your sweet patootie that none of those men wanted to testify…but they did. When Clinton was in office, Congress literally dragged the Presidents entire staff before a committee investigating Whitewater and later..Monica and her blue dress. Since 1975, 10 senior administration officials have been called to testify before Congress, but the pissing contests were all resolved before getting to court. No president has mounted a court fight to keep his aides from testifying on Capitol Hill in this era.
Now we come to George Bush’s presidency. The Decider has now invoked Executive Privilege regarding the Army Ranger Pat Tillman’s death. The White House has refused to turn over documents in connection with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s investigation into the death of Cpl. Pat Tillman, citing…you guessed it.. Executive privilege. Interestingly enough, an examination of the documents released by the Department of Defense shows the White House selectively withheld documents which did not fall within their executive privilege claim, and the White House may have ignored a warning from a top military official in order to disseminate the totally fictional story of Tillman’s death.
Sara Taylor showed up for her time in the Congressional committee spotlight..but said nothing of importance. Again, she was ordered to remain silent by the White House based on..executive privilege. A good and loyal Bushie..she defied the committee.
Harriet Miers and her inability to even show up used executive privilege as her excuse per The Decider and his minions as well. She defied a House subpoena at The Decider’s request. She is facing contempt of Congress proceeding as I type this. Per the transcript for the Countdown show Monday night, this is what could happen to ol’ Harriet:
And while observers speculated that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales would decline to enforce such a finding, the House warned last week that it might circumvent Gonzales and try Ms. Miers in-house on a charge of what is known as “inherent contempt,” one that was last used more than 70 years ago.
Jonathan Turley is a professor of Constitutional Law at George Washington University. He was on Countdown Monday evening discussing executive privilege and ‘inherent contempt”. Here is part of his interview on the subject of inherent contempt:
TURLEY: Well, people may not realize this, but Congress routinely used to try people. In fact, in 1796, they held a full trial for a person for congressional bribery. They would routinely send the sergeant-at-arms who had arms and weapons to use and men to collect people and bring them to the Congress against their will, and they could hold them for the period of that session of Congress.
And they did this so often it actually became something of a burden. They still have that power, to hold the trial on the floor for someone in contempt. But they decided that they would be best to leave that to the Department of Justice so that they could increase the penalty and so that they did not have trials every week on the floor.
Sadly, we have a corrupt Department of Justice under Alberto Gonzales. Our Congress might finally have to invoke this centuries-old routine in order to hold BushCo and his cronies accountable for the lies and batshit foisted upon us, the people of the United States, under the guise of executive privilege. Mr. Turley also had a very memorable quote regarding BushCo’s use of executive privilege; let me share it with you:
But the White House seems to be invoking executive privilege if anyone is within a 25-mile radius of the building. It is as clever and as elegant as a meat cleaver.
That’s our President..as elegant as a meat cleaver. And just about as intelligent. What could the White House be hiding with respect to the Pat Tillman affair? Your guess is as good as mine..but these crooks and liars need to be ferreted out and dealt with in a manner that will embarrass and humiliate them. The grief that they have caused us on the international stage not to mention here at home is disgusting on every level. These warmongering fools have and will continue to attempt to circumvent the rule of law and our right to know every chance they get. It has to stop…NOW. Congress needs to rent the proverbial set of balls and take these carpetbagging sumbitches to the woodshed..but in full view of we, the People. They owe us that much.