Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Washington Post Reports that Gonzales Badgered Ashcroft in Hospital to Sign Executive Order Opposed by Justice Department

If you click on the link in this entry's title, you can read about how then White House counsel Alberto Gonzales went to George Washington Hospital in the dead of hte night. He went there to ask Gonzales to sign off on an executive order that reauthorized the administration's domestic survelliance program. The kicker is that the Justice Department under Ashcroft, who was at the time the Attorney General, had refused to certify its legality.

The article is a report on testimony that James B. Comey, who was acting Attorney General while Ashcroft was hospitalized, gave to the Senate Judiciary Committee. In that testimony he recounted how top officials at the Justice Department were prepared to resign in mass if the Administration insisted on following the executive order. Apparently the threat of such resignations caused Bush to rescind the order and amend it to meet Justice Department objections.

Comey described how he received a call from Ashcroft's Chief of Staff that Gonzales and Andrew Card, who was then White House Chief of Staff, were on their way to the hospital to obtain a signature. Ashcroft's Chief was reporting to Comey about a call he had received from Mrs. Ashcroft concerning a call she got from the White House, possibly from the President himself. Comey then contacted the FBI Director who ordered the security detail at Ashcroft's room not to allow Card and Gonzales to order Comey from the room.

When Comey got there Card and Gonzales were not yet there, but arrived shortly after him. Ashcroft told Card and Gonzales what the Department's objections were but said that since Comey was Acting AG, they had to get his approval, which Comey refused to give. During their time at the hospital neither Card or Gonzales acknowledged Comey's presence.

And now, of course, Gonzales is Attorney General. You have to wonder if he was appointed to bring what must be to Bush a rogue agency, an agency that dared to tell Bubble-Boy that he couldn't have what he wanted, under control. Instead of talking about impeaching Bush or Cheney, progressives should talk about impeaching Gonzales. He shouldn't be in charge of the Justice Department and Bush won't remove him because he is doing exactly what Bush wants.

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