by Peter Freyne
Lovely white St. Paddy's Day in Vermont. I know, the designated color is green not white, but it's not up to us, is it?
It's not like one can subpoena the Weather Goddess and put her under oath.
But Patrick J. Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee made it perfectly clear Sunday morning to George Stephanopoulos and those watching "This Week" on ABC-TV that he will subpoena the president's political guru Karl Rove and any White House official he has to in order to get to the truth that explains why eight United States Attorneys were fired by the Bush White House. We're supposed to be a "nation of laws," not a "nation of political paybacks."
Once the chief law enforcement officer in Chittenden County, Vermont, Leahy, a former state's attorney, appeared with a leading Texas Republican on the Judiciary Committee, one who has long had a close relationship with George W. Bush, and that would be former Texas Supreme Court Justice and Attorney General John Cornyn. Cornyn is also part of the Senate GOP Leadership Team.
Here's a taste:
Sen. Cornyn: "The problem is, and I’ve joined Sen, Leahy in this in saying the explanation was botched from the outset...
"I don’t believe there was any evidence these individuals were relieved of their responsibilities for any inappropriate reason. Having said that, I’ve told the attorney general that I think this has been mishandled, that by giving inaccurate information, by not giving complete information to Sen. Leahy and the Judiciary Committee on which I serve at the outset, has caused a real firestorm and he better get the facts out there."
Sen. Leahy: "The problem, George, goes beyond that. He has, ah, you hear one statement and the next day in the press it’s something else. Then the attorney general or somebody else from the administration comes up and [says] ‘I’ll brief all of you and now you have the whole story.'
"Next day, we pick up the paper and it’s changed. yet again. That’s why I intend to have these people come up, testify under oath before the Judiciary Committee which has both Republicans and Democrats on it. Let’s us ask them the questions and find out what’s going on. I am sick and tired of getting a briefing one day and being told, ‘Mr. Chairman, that’s the whole statement,’ and [reading something different in the paper the next day.]
Sen. Cornyn: "The kinds of questions Sen. Leahy wants answered, I think are legitimate questions. I want the answers to those questions, too. But I think we have to be careful here. When the leader of the effort is the chairman of the Democrats Senatorial Campaign Committee, Sen. Chuck Schumer, I think it undermines the apparent legitimacy of what is a legitimate inquiry."
Sen. Cornyn noted the DSCC was using the US Attorneys Firing Scandal to raise money on their website.
A little more of an issue of substance than, shall we say, that of presidential fellatio?
Sen. Leahy: "George, I’ve been on the Republican Senate Campaign Committee’swebsite a lot of times, and they’ve raised a lot of money on me. And,you know, it kept me down to 74 percent of the vote in my last election!
"The fact is Chuck Schumer has asked very legitimate questions. Butultimately, I’m the chairman of the committee. I intend to have thesesubpoenas."
George then asked Sen. Cornyn if he has a problem with issuing Rove a subpoena to testify under oath.
Sen. Cornyn: "We have issued subpoenas and I agree with that for theDepartment of Justice officials. Let’s get the information from them.
"You know, they want to cut to the chase and let’s get Karl Rove there and have a political circus. I don’t think that helps."
Sen. Leahy: "You understand, what we’re talking about is theauthorization for the subpoenas. I issue them only if we don’t getcooperation."
Kind of nice to have a guy, a guy who's eaten at Burlap's Oasis Diner for decades, calling the shots, eh? Exercising the constitutional checks and balances?
A beautiful thing when it's working.