Saturday, May 27, 2006

Congressional Raid Kerfuffle

Well, this is getting interesting. Gonzales says he'll quit if the White House orders the FBI to return evidence gathered in the raid of Jefferson's office. The whole GOP power structure is wrapping around and chewing on itself, and Bush probably has no idea what the hell to do to appease all parties. It may be that there will be no way to appease them all. His order to seal the evidence for 45 days merely stalls a decision while some back room deals are no doubt underway.
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, the F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, and senior officials and career prosecutors at the Justice Department told associates this week that they were prepared to quit if the White House directed them to relinquish evidence seized in a bitterly disputed search of a House member's office....

Mr. Gonzales was joined in raising the possibility of resignation by the deputy attorney general, Paul J. McNulty, the officials said. Mr. Gonzales and Mr. McNulty told associates that they had an obligation to protect evidence in a criminal case and would be unwilling to carry out any White House order to return the material to Congress.
The arrangement between Congress and the White House has been fairly clear for sometime: we'll relenquish serious congressional oversight of your flagrant violations of law and the Constitution and you leave us to our internal corruption network. The GOP-led Congress was clearly getting bitched slapped by the DoJ anyway as both the Abramoff and Cunningham scandals expanded in scope. There wasn't much they could do about that, though, as key parties of both cases were copping plea agreements left and right. With the DoJ asking questions about Speaker Hastert and his relations with Abramoff, the raid of Jefferson's office finally bunched up congressional panties.

Bush right now is caught between a hard-line stance by his beloved Attorney General, a man who has given so much to Bush over the years (lots of executions in Texas, justifications of torture, etc.), and the Hastert-led GOP revolt against intrusion by the DoJ. I can't see much of a compromise here as the positions are very clear and there doesn't seem to be a lot of wiggle room: retain the documents seized or give them back. It's hard to meet half way on something like that.

Bush's implementation of his long sought police state has experienced its first real snag. What will he do? He has 45 days to figure it out.


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