Saturday, June 20, 2020

From the Archives, 2008: The Republican Purge of U.S. Attorneys

Editors' Note:  The latest blatantly unlawful and politically-inspired attempted firing of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York by Torquemada Barr has, to put it mildly, not been playing well.  Here's what one far-left antifa sympathizer said:

(Bhahara's Twitter profile to be fair claims that he was formerly the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.)

Another Soros-paid hard-left agitator said 

She too attempts to cover her Commie past by noting that she was formerly the U.S  Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Not only that, but the stalwart and true Republicans at The Lincoln Project, almost of all of which were former Bush apologists, coatholders, and associated mouthpieces, have now proclaimed themselves absolutely shocked by the latest blatant abuse of power by President Super Spreader and his gang of cutthroats:

It made us wonder whether there was ever any similarly dastardly effort to unseat competent, honest U.S. Attorneys for blatantly political and inappropriate reasons.  

Guess what?

There was, as this thumbsucker from the June 28, 2008 Spy will confirm:

Spy Sunday Review:

Analysis: What Have We Learned From the U.S. Attorney 'Scandal'?

Analysis By Scott V. Sandford
Justice Editor

Now that the controversy over the firings of seven U.S. Attorneys for reasons that remain murky is quieting down, we can look back at the matter and see what lessons we can learn from it.

The firings were greeted by a great deal of negative comment on the part of constant critics of the Bush Administration, like The New York Times:

Ms. Lam is one of at least seven United States attorneys fired recently under questionable circumstances. The Justice Department is claiming that Ms. Lam and other well-regarded prosecutors like John McKay of Seattle, David Iglesias of New Mexico, Daniel Bogden of Nevada and Paul Charlton of Arizona — who all received strong job evaluations — performed inadequately.

It is hard to call what’s happening anything other than a political purge. And it’s another shameful example of how in the Bush administration, everything — from rebuilding a hurricane-ravaged city to allocating homeland security dollars to invading Iraq — is sacrificed to partisan politics and winning elections. 

But was this a partisan purge, as leftist critics like to contend, or was it part of the normal prerogatives of a President?

The President's defenders continue to assert vigorously that the Administration has done nothing wrong:

Bush Administration sources say that Fredo Gonzales
wanted to prove he could do things too
During her appearance in the Senate, [Former White House Political Director Sara] Taylor said she did not believe “there was any wrongdoing by anybody at the White House.” She said she had been subpoenaed to appear and said in her opening statement that she would answer questions only about what she described as factual issues.

In a somewhat disjointed account of her role in the dismissals, Ms. Taylor refused to respond to a number of the lawmakers’ questions, frequently citing a letter by Mr. Fielding describing the expansive terms of Mr. Bush’s directive that she should not testify about confidential deliberations at the White House.

Ms. Taylor, 32, is a veteran of Mr. Bush’s White House political operation and a longtime aide to Karl Rove, the senior White House adviser. She said her decision to leave the White House earlier this year was unrelated to the uproar over the fired prosecutors.

Further buttressing the case that the termination of the U.S. Attorneys was legitimate is provided by the caliber of key individuals in the Bush Administration and political shop, none of whom would ever be associated with anything remotely underhanded, ethical, or abusive, including

  • Steve Schmidt, who worked for Karl Rove in the White House and on the campaign until 2006, 
  • Nicolle Wallace, who was White House Communications Director until she left int he summer of 2006, just a few months before the midterm debacle,
  • David Frum, who left his job as a Bush speechwriter in 2002 to take up a no-heavy-lifting gig at the pro-Bush pro-Republican American Enterprise Institute, and
  • John Bolton, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations

Although Democrats tried to make hay over the unexplained disappearance of millions of emails from Karl Rove's account and others at private Republican political committees which may have been relevant to the investigation into the firings, most experienced political observers believe that the Democrats' concerns are overblown.

“We're supposed to get excited about using private email servers for government business?  What a load of crap,” said Republican political consultant Kellyanne Conway.  “Can you imagine anyone caring what server was being used by which official when?” she chortled, “right George?”, referring to her beloved husband George Conway nestling by her side.

The Democrats were similarly frustrated in their efforts to make a political issue over the Bush Administration's sweeping claims of executive and absolute privilege that they used repeatedly to block witnesses from testifying or limiting the scope of their answers:

A lawyer for Harriet E. Miers, the former White House counsel, told the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that she had been ordered by the White House not to appear at a hearing on Thursday.

Ms. Miers’s lawyer, George T. Manning, gave the House panel a letter dated Tuesday from Fred F. Fielding, the White House counsel, that said Ms. Miers had “absolute immunity” from being compelled to testify — an assertion that committee officials said was not supported by any court decision and did not mean she was not obliged to appear.

“It's just a distraction from the important issue, which is escalating the war in Iraq and bombing Iran,” said Republican pundit Billy Kristol.

With the inquiries winding down, it seems clear that the Democrats were never able to find the alleged political fire behind the smoke.  However, given the embarrassment that the affair has caused Republicans as they prepare to fight a tough election, it is reasonable to predict that the Republicans have learned their lesson and will never try again to rid themselves of U.S. Attorneys on any basis that could be questioned.

It's our hope that this so-called “scandal” will play no role in this year's elections, so that the nation can focus on the important issues facing it, including cutting Social Security, restoring a common sense of national purpose and community, and inspiring the young by forcing them to perform unpaid national service after high school.  And one more thing – thanks for the soprassata sub, Dave, it was delicious!

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