THE BUZZARDS IN
THE HALLS OF JUSTICE
The government which was designed for the people, has got into the hands of their bosses and their employers, the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy.
– Woodrow Wilson
Sightings from The Catbird Seat
~ o ~
"There can be no equal justice where the kind of trial a man gets depends on the amount of money he has."
- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, Griffin v. Illinois, 373 U.S. 12,(1964),
~ ~ ~
"Reason and reflection require us to recognize that in our adversary system of criminal justice, any person haled into court, who is too poor to hire a lawyer, cannot be assured a fair trial unless counsel is provided for him. This seems to us to be an obvious truth."
- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335, 344 (1963),
~ ~ ~
"If the motto ‘and justice for all’ becomes ‘and justice for those who can afford it’, we threaten the very underpinnings of our social contract."
- Chief Justice Ronald George California Supreme Court, Annual "State of Judiciary" Speech, 2001
~ ~ ~
"In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. The humblest is the peer of the most powerful."
- U. S Supreme Court Justice John Harlan, Plessey v Ferguson [dissent], 163 U.S. 537, 559-560 (1896),
May 17, 2009
Battle looms as Obama nears
Supreme Court pick
By Caren Bohan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama hopes to tone down the partisan warfare that often surrounds selections to the Supreme Court, but that won't be easy with interest groups bracing for a fight over issues like abortion.
Obama has been weighing a short list of mostly women for a seat on the nine-member high court that decides such issues as abortion and the death penalty as well as business and property rights cases. The court's members are appointed for life but require Senate confirmation.
The pick, expected to be announced later this month, is unlikely to change the court's ideological makeup since Obama, a Democrat, is expected to pick a liberal in the mold of retiring justice David Souter.
Some experts think Obama, a former lecturer in constitutional law, may seek someone with the intellectual firepower and personality to go to toe-to-toe with two of the court's most conservative members, Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito. Though well regarded for his intellect, Souter is relatively low-key.
Eugene Volokh, a professor at UCLA School of Law in California, said a fight will likely loom even though the Democratic majority in the Senate means any Republican effort to derail the nominee would probably fail.
"It's pretty clear the people on the other side are going to fight against the appointment of people with whom they disagree," Volokh said. "The degree of controversy depends on just how far left this nominee is going to be."
Noting that Obama, a former senator, voted against Republican President George W. Bush's two Supreme Court nominees, John Roberts and Samuel Alito, Volokh said it is unrealistic for Obama to expect conservatives to "engage in unilateral disarmament."
Solicitor General Elena Kagan, who argues for the government before the Supreme Court, and two federal appeals court judges -- Sonia Sotomayor and Diane Wood -- are among those under consideration by Obama, according to a source familiar with his thinking.
Also in the mix are Michigan Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno. Many analysts believe Obama will pick a woman to join the only other female justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Hoping to show he is taking a consultative approach, Obama has been meeting with key Democratic and Republican members of the Senate, which must vote to approve the nominee.
"We would like to put the confirmation wars of the past behind us, and have signaled that with our consensus-oriented approach to appellate court nominations," White House spokesman Ben LaBolt said.
In explaining his opposition to Roberts in 2005, Obama praised him as an "outstanding legal thinker" and he said he disagreed with his legal philosophy, calling it one that gave more deference to the powerful in U.S. society. But he chastised both liberal and conservative allies for stirring up partisanship in the debate.
Administration officials said Obama hopes for less acrimony over the current Supreme Court opening, though in an indication of an awareness of the potential for controversy, Treasury spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter is being tapped to move to the White House to manage the media strategy for the nominee.
"Who is he trying to kid?" Republican strategist Keith Appell said of Obama's hope for a calmer nomination process. "If you're going to be realistic, you have to anticipate that center-right organizations are going to push to ensure that any nominee is fully vetted and scrutinized by Republican senators."
Appell said many of the names reported to be on Obama's short list "raised red flags" among conservatives.
Many Republicans are concerned by Obama's statement that "empathy" will be an important quality he will look for in a Supreme Court justice. Republicans have said they want justices who will strictly interpret the U.S. Constitution and many have criticized the landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion as "judicial activism."
Senator Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee who met with Obama last week, said he would welcome a "highly qualified nominee" from Obama but also wanted to see someone who favored "judicial restraint."
Stephen Wayne, professor of government at Georgetown University, said a more moderate nominee would trigger less opposition, but either way there would be a battle.
But he added, "We can never forget that nominations for Supreme Court Justices are forums. And people on both sides of the aisle are required to use them to espouse a certain point of view and to use them as a fundraising technique."
"So I think you can have a much milder circus but you're still going to have one big tent there and there will be objection to whomever he nominates," Wayne said.
* * * * *
THE FIRST AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION
OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
* * * * *
May 5, 2009
The Right to a Jury Trial
By Paula Michaud – Maine JIC
From: Paula J Michaud
Sent: Tuesday, May 05, 2009 8:02 AM
As always, I'm trying to find an easy way to get judges held accountable... so far JAIL has been the only answer. However, I just thought of something. Might it be possible, or easier to pass such legislation as what I've proposed here?
That every state Supreme Court decision in which one of the parties has a complaint of constitutional rights violations be placed on some sort of ballot for voters to decide if a jury trial should be held.
People could vote on only the cases they want to, and check off a "NO VOTE" box on those cases in which they have no strong opposition or support for a trial by jury to be held. Please consider sending this out to all other JAILers. Thanks!
~ ~ ~
Paula, our Founding Fathers have already provided for this in our Constitution. In civil matters we are entitled to a jury trial in every matter exceeding twenty dollars, VI Amendment. In criminal matters our Constitution provides in Article III, Section 2, Clause 3, “The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury.”
I was mocked by those in South Dakota during the 2006 election on this point. They said, “If Ron Branson had his way, we would have to provide a jury trial to prosecute anyone who did not get a dog license.” I smiled at this observation of our enemies, but chose not to comment thereon. They are entirely correct, inasmuch as a dog license does not fall within the exception for impeachments. However, this conclusion is not based upon “what Ron thinks,” but upon the supreme law of the land, the Constitution. I didn’t happen to be around, or even make the suggestion, that we include this mandate when this provision was placed in our Constitution. They argue to me that they don’t have the money to give a jury trial to everyone that demands such trial for every citation they write. That’s tough! What are they proposing? Do they wish to abolish our Constitution?
The fact is, the government can prosecute whatever they wish, provided they follow due process. But if constitutional due process is not followed, the government should not be able to try a single soul even if it be a “major” crime. Yes, and this is also provided for in our Constitution, “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury.”
What happened in 1970 is the California Legislature came up with a “marvelous” idea on how they could rake in much more money so they could convict people without giving them a jury trial, so they invented a new class of “crimes” called “infractions.”
The only crimes recognized prior to this point in our Constitution were high crimes and misdemeanors. Along comes “infractions” which provide that no one could ever go to jail for the commission of such “crimes,” and therefore were neither entitled to the assistance of counsel nor a jury trial, but that the judge would decide. All the other states said “this was good,” and so they spoke the word, and jury trials were eliminated from most every “case.” This is precisely why our country is now overtaken by so-called “administrative laws.”
I wrote on this subject under the title of “Understanding Administrative Law” in a past J.A.I.L. News Journal, and peppered it with humor. See http://www.jail4judges.org/JNJ_Library/2003/2003-12-09.html.
The nature of government is to convert God-given inalienable rights into government-granted licensed privileges. If the people didn’t object, the next thing you know, government would even seek to convert the God-given right of marriage, (“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.” Ephesians 5:31) into a government-granted licensed privilege, and we would start having marriage “licenses” – God forbid!
Hey, I’ll bet you didn’t realize that marriage without a license was a crime and required government’s permission. Hmmm, I wonder if people should be entitled to a jury trial for getting married without government’s permission. God commands us to, “do your own business, and to work with your own hands,” I Thessalonians 4:11, but then the government comes along and says, “No problem, just apply at our State Contractor’s License Board, or go to jail!” What? You want to exercise the privilege of laboring with your hands? Okay, just sign here and acquire our number and you can go to work. Do we not have a Lordship question here? Is work a duty and right from God, or a privilege from the State?
But some will say to me, “Ought we not to render unto Caesar?” Yes, but the question I am presenting is, ought we to render unto Caesar that which belongs to God, and thus render Caesar to be like unto God. Was not Satan’s fall “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” Isaiah 14:14? This is what “government” pursues, i.e., in every area to be like unto God; omnipresent, (everywhere) omniscient, (all knowing) omnipotent, (all powerful) and finally, the god of this world.
So, Paula, we see in our State Constitutions that the, “Trial by jury is an inviolate right and shall be secured by all. …. A jury may be waived in a criminal cause by the consent of both parties expressed in open court…” (Calif. Const. Art. I, Sec. 16). There are no exceptions! The problem is not “provision,” but rather “enforcement,” and that is why we absolutely must have J.A.I.L. or our nation collapses absolutely!
- Ron Branson
California Association of Black Lawyers
California Association of Black Lawyers Applauds the State Assembly’s Reprimand of Governor Schwarzenegger’s Judicial Appointments
- - - - -
The California Association of Black Lawyers applauds Speaker Fabian Nunez’s proposed budgetary limitation of new judgeships in response to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s failure to make judicial appointments reflective of the diversity of California.
As local, state and national organizations continue to aggressively promote the necessity and indispensable role of diversity in the legal profession, the executive office of the State of California marches in the opposite direction, as exemplified by its deplorable record of appointing people of color to the judiciary....
Rather than select judges who would inspire the public’s confidence in the impartiality and fairness of the judicial system, Governor Schwarzenegger has appointed candidates to curry favor in the Republican Party as demonstrated by his recent appointments of former Republican Congressman James Rogan and Assistant United States Attorney Laura H. Parsky, daughter of President George W. Bush confidant Gerald Parsky, to judgeships in Orange and San Diego counties, respectively.
If these types of judicial appointments continue, without significant weight attached to diversity and the appreciation of varying backgrounds and experiences, the California judicial system’s fabric will continue to erode and its integrity will be challenged by those who are denied the equal right to participate in its composition....
For more, GO TO > > > Confessions of a Whistleblower; Dirty Money, Dirty Politics & Bishop Estate - Part III; Don’t Bet Your Life on MedLife; The Vultures That Ate HonFed; Vultures in The Meadows
July 28, 2008
DOJ: Former aide broke law
in hiring scandal
By LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press Writer
Top aides to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales broke the law by letting politics influence the hiring of career prosecutors and immigration judges at the Justice Department, says an internal report released Monday.
Gonzales was largely unaware of the hiring decisions by two of his most trusted aides, according to the report by Justice's Office of Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility.
But it singles out his former White House liaison, Monica Goodling, for violating federal law and Justice Department policy by discriminating against job applicants who weren't Republican or conservative loyalists.
"Goodling improperly subjected candidates for certain career positions to the same politically based evaluation she used on candidates for political positions," the report concluded.
In one instance, Justice investigators found, Goodling objected to hiring an assistant prosecutor in Washington because "judging from his resume, he appeared to be a liberal Democrat."
In another, she rejected an experienced terror prosecutor to work on counterterror issues at a Justice Department headquarters office "because of his wife's political affiliations," the report found. It also found she rejected at least one job applicant who was rumored to be a lesbian.
Goodling's attorney, John Dowd, declined comment Monday. Attempts to reach her were not immediately successful.
Additionally, a majority of immigration judge candidates considered by former Gonzales chief of staff Kyle Sampson were recommended by the White House's political affairs office — including one name forwarded by then-top adviser Karl Rove. Sampson told investigators that he did not consider those jobs to be protected from political considerations.
His lawyer, Brad Berenson, described those hiring decisions as an honest mistake and said that Sampson "immediately agreed with the recommendation to put a stop to this process" when he first learned he may have been wrong.
The federal government makes a distinction between so-called "career" appointees and "political" appointees, and the long-accepted custom has been that career workers are not hired on the basis of political affiliation or allegiance.
The 140-page report does not indicate whether Goodling or Sampson could face any charges. None of those involved in the discriminatory hiring still work at Justice, meaning they will avoid any departmental penalties.
However, Justice investigators said that bar associations that license lawyers have asked about the report's findings on Goodling — indicating she could be sanctioned there, potentially including losing her ability to practice law.
Congressional investigators said they also were considering asking the Justice Department to pursue perjury charges against Goodling, Sampson and possibly Gonzales as a result of their spoken or written congressional testimony during House and Senate investigations last year. Lying to Congress is a crime.
Democrats said the report affirms their charges of White House meddling in the hiring and firing of Justice Department employees.
"The cost to our nation of these apparent crimes was severe, as qualified individuals were rejected for key positions in the fight against terrorism and other critical department jobs for no reason other than political whim," said House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich.
"The report also indicates that Monica Goodling, Kyle Sampson, and Alberto Gonzales may have lied to the Congress about these matters," Conyers added. "I have directed my staff to closely review this matter and to consider whether a criminal referral for perjury is needed."
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said "it is crystal clear that the law was broken" by the political hiring process.
"But since it is unlikely that Monica Goodling acted on her own," Schumer added, "the question is, how many others were involved."
In their report, Justice investigators sought to find whether Republican politics were driving hiring polices at the nation's premier law enforcement agency whose appointees are expected to be selected on a nonpartisan basis. The investigation is one of several that examine accusations that Bush administration politics drove prosecution, policy and employment decisions within the Justice Department.
Those accusations were initially spurred by the firings of nine U.S. attorneys in late 2006 and culminated with Gonzales' resignation under fire as attorney general last September.
Gonzales, who has kept a low profile since leaving the department said in a statement that "political considerations should play no part in the hiring of career officials at the Department of Justice. ...I agree with the report's recommendations." His attorney, George Terwilliger, defended Gonzales by saying "it's simply not possible for any Cabinet officer to be completely aware of and micromanage the activities of staffers, particularly where they don't inform him of what's going on."
The man who replaced Gonzales, Attorney General Michael Mukasey, said he is "of course disturbed" by the findings.
"I have said many times, both to members of the public and to department employees, it is neither permissible nor acceptable to consider political affiliations in the hiring of career department employees," Mukasey said in a statement shortly after the report was released Monday morning. "And I have acted, and will continue to act, to ensure that my words are translated into reality so that the conduct described in this report does not occur again at the department."
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy said the report indicates that the effort to politicize federal law enforcement was not just the actions of a few "bad apples," but administration policy.
He called it "a clear indication of the untoward political influence of the Bush administration on traditionally nonpolitical appointments."
~ ~ ~
The DOJ report can be found at: http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/special/s0807/final.pdf
< < < FLASHBACK < < <
November 21, 2007
An Exercise in Political Epistemology:
Mukasey, Schumer, Chertoff, and AIPAC
By Travis Woodson
Epistemology – the critical study of what we know (or think we know) and how we know it – is a distinctive and admirable aspect of Western culture. From Socrates to the proponents of scientific method we learn the importance of caution in reaching conclusions. In Anglo-American law, with its rules of evidence (especially its rejection of hearsay) and presumption of innocence, we see a similar restraint. But caution in reaching conclusions is not always a virtue. In some contexts, it can be a fatal mistake.
I was thinking recently about what we know and don’t know while reading about the confirmation of Judge Michael Mukasey as Attorney General. Here are some things we know with reasonable certainty:
1. We know from Jewish sources that Mukasey is an Orthodox Jew and political conservative, whose Judaism is . . . deeply felt.” He is a lifelong congregant at Kehilath Jeshurun in New York City. He attended the Ramaz School, a Modern Orthodox Jewish prep school; his wife was headmistress there, and both his children attended the school. The Mission Statement for the Kehilath Jeshurun Congregation includes the following:
“[W]e are deeply committed to our religious traditions, to the study of the Torah, the observance of Shabbat and kashrut, the love of, and support for, our fellow Jews and an unbreakable bond with the State of Israel and its citizens.
“Our identification with the State of Israel and our fellow Jews extends well beyond the more conventional UJA/Federation, Israel Bonds and tree-planting campaigns . . . KJ participates in and sponsors political action groups around the world, and runs several well-attended missions each year to Israel for the primary purpose of demonstrating solidarity and support to our brethren, especially in these incredibly difficult times for the State and its citizens.
“KJ sponsors and supports an array of other programs . . . a partial list includes: ... The Israel Action Committee [which] is the vanguard of the growing grassroots movement among American Jewish communities to incubate local, regional and even national initiatives designed to support the beleaguered State of Israel.”
2. We know that Mukasey’s sponsor for the Attorney General Position was Senator Charles Schumer of New York. Schumer is Jewish, a supporter of the Iraq war resolution, a member of AIPAC, and a strident advocate for Israel. Schumer was one of two Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee – Senator Feinstein of California was the other – to cross party lines and vote for Mukasey’s confirmation as Attorney General, despite Mukasey’s political affiliation with Rudy Giuliani and his refusal to declare that waterboarding was illegal torture. Previously, Schumer had supported the neoconservative Republican John Bolton as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. primarily because Bolton was aggressively pro-Israel.
3. We know that Michael Chertoff, the head of Homeland Security, is the son of a rabbi, that his mother was apparently an Israeli national, that his wife was co-chairwoman of the regional Anti-Defamation League’s civil rights committee in the mid 1990s, and that his children attended Jewish days schools. And we know that Senator Schumer was a leading advocate for Chertoff’s appointment.
~ ~ ~
See also: www.kycbs.net/AIPAC.htm; www.kycbs.net/Google-AIPAC.htm
Final Decree entered
Date: Tuesday, June 24, 2008 8:17 PM
From: "Steven Guttman" <email@example.com>
To: "Bobby Harmon" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "David Farmer" <email@example.com>, "Michael Mukasey" <AskDOJ@usdoj.gov>, "Kevin Chang" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Robert Faris" <email@example.com>, "Barry M. Kurren" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Carol K. Muranaka" <email@example.com>, "J P Schmidt" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Janet Kamerman" <HONOLULU@FBI.GOV>, "Mark Bennett" <email@example.com>, "Hugh Jones" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Linda Lingle" <email@example.com>
"Mediation Center of The Pacific" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Sheryl Nicholson" <email@example.com>, "Robert Bruce Graham" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "James Wriston" <email@example.com>, "Andrew Winer" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "James Cribley" <email@example.com>, "Lawrence Goya" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Pension Benefit Guaranty Association" <email@example.com>, "James B Nicholson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Executive Office for U.S. Trustees" <email@example.com>, "Office of Inspector General US Dept of Justice" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "George Will" <email@example.com>, "Haunani Apoliona" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Leroy Colombe" <email@example.com>, "Scott Helman" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Bob Nichols" <email@example.com>, "Laura Thielen" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Barry Taniguchi" <email@example.com>, "Paul Achitoff" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Laurie Bennett" <email@example.com>, "Dave Shapiro" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Gail Kim-Moe" <Gkim.email@example.com>, "Marshall Chriswell" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Greg Palast" <email@example.com>, "Dee Jay Mailer" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Laser Haas" <email@example.com>, "Michael Moore" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Texas Observer" <email@example.com>, "Brian W. Bisignani" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Aon Insurance Managers" <email@example.com>, "William Burgess" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Brian E. Schatz" <email@example.com>, "Patricia Case" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Cheryl Nakamura" <CNakamura@rmhawaii.com>, "Bill Yuen" <email@example.com>, "Randall W. Wulff" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Karen Spiller" <email@example.com>, "Andrew Killgore" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Patrick Leahy" <email@example.com>, "Pamela A. McCullough" <HONOLULU@FBI.GOV>, "James Duke Aiona" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Ken Conklin" <email@example.com>, "William H. Donaldson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Ian Lind" <email@example.com>, "Jim Terrack" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Andrew Walden" <email@example.com>, "All Senators" <sens@Capitol.hawaii.gov>, "All Representatives" <reps@Capitol.hawaii.gov>, "Thomas Fitton" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Stew Webb" <email@example.com>, "Judson Witham" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "J C Shannon" <Hapa1234@aol.com>, "Jeff Biener" <email@example.com>, "V K Durham" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Richard Grove" <Richard@8thEstate.com>, "Bradley Tamm" <email@example.com>, "Susan Tius" <STius@rmhawaii.com>, "Paul Alston" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "John Goemans" <email@example.com>, "William K Slate" <Websitemail@adr.org>, "Lissa Andrews" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "John D. Finnegan" <email@example.com>, "Terry Mullen" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Margery Bronster" <email@example.com>, "Michael N. Tanoue" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Neil Ambercrombie" <Neil.Abercrombie@mail.house.gov>, "Lyn Flanigan Anzai" <email@example.com>, "Lorraine Inouye" <seninouye@Capitol.hawaii.gov>, "Samuel P. King" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Arthur Rath" <email@example.com>, "Randall Roth" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Rick Daysog" <email@example.com>, "Jim Dooley" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Robin Campaniano" <email@example.com>, "Blossom Tong" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Sammye Richardson" <email@example.com>, "Daniel Hopsicker" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Richard L Righter" <email@example.com>, "Dirk Kempthorne" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Jeffrey Sia" <Jeff.Sia@excite.com>, "Jim Babka" <email@example.com>, "Truth" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "J. C. Jones" <JCJJONES@aol.com>, "Dane Field" <email@example.com>, "Jeffrey Watanabe" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Message contains attachments
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Kessner Umebayashi Bain & Matsunaga
220 South King Street, Suite 1900
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
< < < FLASHBACK < < <
April 21, 2004
Wulff Chosen to Head 9/11 Panel
on WTC Loss
Attorney was picked by judge in New York to help
on panel determining value of damages
By Josh Richman, STAFF WRITER, The Oakland Tribune
An East Bay attorney and mediator will play a pivotal role in determining the amount of loss resulting from the World Trade Center's destruction at the hands of terrorists Sept. 11, 2001.
Randall W. Wulff of Piedmont was selected Tuesday by U.S. District Chief Judge Michael B. Mukasey of New York to be chief umpire on a three-person appraisal panel that will address reconstruction costs as well as rental value and business interruption damages. Hearings are expected to begin later this year.
The battle over the monetary costs of the World Trade Center's destruction, and who will be paid how much for those costs, has become almost as twisted as the wreckage of the towers. And the battle has turned somewhat political, with New York officials touting the rebuilding of Ground Zero as crucial to the region's economic recovery.
World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein claims his insurers owe him almost twice their policy limits -- as much as $6.8 billion -- based on a switch in insurance forms that he believes recognizes the two impacts by two hijacked jet airliners as two separate losses. His claim went to a six-man, six-woman federal jury Monday after a 10-week trial.
After the jury -- and those in future proceedings involving other members of Silverstein's jury pool -- has determined the extent of the insurers' liability, it'll be up to Wolff's panel to determine what the actual losses are.
Wulff was with San Francisco's Farella, Braun and Martel from 1974 -- first as a trial lawyer, and from 1994 on as a "neutral" mediator -- until 2000, when he cofounded Oakland's Wulff Quinby Sochynsky, which exclusively provides mediation, arbitration and other alternative dispute resolution services.
He has helped settle almost 2,000 cases in the past 15 years, including the recent $1.1 billion settlement of the California class action against Microsoft. He also has helped resolve monetary disputes related to renovation of the Oakland Arena and construction of other high-profile projects from ballparks to Las Vegas casinos. And he has authored, edited or co-edited books on alternative dispute resolution.
His firm's Web site says his daily fee is $9,500 for cases in the Bay Area or Sacramento, $11,000 for cases elsewhere.
Wulff holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon, attended the Netherlands Institute of International Business and holds a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.
A sample of names follows here. A lengthier list of specific references from counsel and parties in cases where Mr. Wulff has acted as mediator is also available upon request....
Diane D. Hastert, Esq.
Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert
1600 Pauahi Tower, 1001 Bishop Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
Bert T. Kobayashi, Esq.
Kobayashi, Sugita & Goda
First Hawaiian Center, Suite 2600
Honolulu, HI 96813
Andrew Winer, Esq.
Winer Heheula & Devens
Pali Palms Plaza
970 North Kalaheo Ave, Suite A-300
Kailua, HI 96734
David Schulmeister, Esq.
Cades Schutte Fleming & Wright
1000 Bishop Street, Suite 1000
Honolulu, HI 96813
John T. Hoshibata, Esq.
Crabtree & Hoshibata
2300 Pauahi Tower
1001 Bishop Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
Elton John Bain
Kessner Duca Umebayashi Bain & Matsunaga
19th Floor, Central Pacific Plaza
229 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
Warren Price III, Esq.
Price Okamoto Himeno & Lum
Ocean View Center
707 Richards Street, Suite 728
Honolulu, HI 96813
Roy F. Hughes
Hughes & Taosaka
900 Pauahi Tower
1001 Bishop Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
Brad S. Petrus
Tom Teetrus & Miller
The Arcade Building
212 Merchant Street, Suite 200
Honolulu, HI 96813
Milton M. Yasunaga
Cades Schutte Law Firm
1000 Bishop Street, Suite 1200
Honolulu, HI 96813
John T. Komeiji
Watanabe Ing & Komeiji
999 Bishop Street, 23rd Floor
Honolulu, HI 96813
Moseley Biehl Tsugawa Lau & Muzzi
1100 Alakea Street, 23rd Floor
Honolulu, HI 96813
James T. Paul, Esq.
Paul Johnson Park & Niles
Pacific Tower, 1001 Bishop St., Suite 1300
Honolulu, HI 96812
Oliver, Lau, Lawhn, Ogawa & Nakamura
707 Richards Street, Suite 600
Honolulu, HI 96813
May 22, 2008
House subpoenas Karl Rove
By LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press
WASHINGTON - The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday subpoenaed former White House top political adviser Karl Rove to testify about whether the White House improperly meddled with the Justice Department.
Accusations of politics influencing decisions at the department led to last year's resignation of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
The subpoena issued Thursday orders Rove to testify before the House panel on July 10. He is expected to face questions about the White House's role in firing nine U.S. attorneys in 2006 and the prosecution of former Gov. Don Siegelman of Alabama, a Democrat.
House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers had negotiated with Rove's attorneys for more than a year over whether the former top aide to President Bush would testify voluntarily.
"It is unfortunate that Mr. Rove has failed to cooperate with our requests," Conyers, D-Mich., said in a statement. "Although he does not seem the least bit hesitant to discuss these very issues weekly on cable television and in the print news media, Mr. Rove and his attorney have apparently concluded that a public hearing room would not be appropriate."
"Unfortunately, I have no choice today but to compel his testimony on these very important matters," Conyers said.
Neither Rove nor his attorney, Robert Luskin, could be immediately reached for comment.
Mar 14, 2008
"SPITZER WAS SILENCED."
THE $200 BILLION BAIL-OUT FOR PREDATOR BANKS
AND SPITZER CHARGES ARE INTIMATELY LINKED
By Greg Palast
Reporting for Air America Radio's Clout*
While New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was paying an 'escort' $4,300 in a hotel room in Washington, just down the road, George Bush's new Federal Reserve Board Chairman, Ben Bernanke, was secretly handing over $200 billion in a tryst with mortgage bank industry speculators.
Both acts were wanton, wicked and lewd. But there's a BIG difference. The Governor was using his own checkbook. Bush's man Bernanke was using ours.
This week, Bernanke's Fed, for the first time in its history, loaned a selected coterie of banks one-fifth of a trillion dollars to guarantee these banks' mortgage-backed junk bonds. The deluge of public loot was an eye-popping windfall to the very banking predators who have brought two million families to the brink of foreclosure.
Up until Wednesday, there was one single, lonely politician who stood in the way of this creepy little assignation at the bankers' bordello: Eliot Spitzer.
Who are they kidding? Spitzer's lynching and the bankers' enriching are intimately tied.
HOW? FOLLOW THE MONEY.
The press has swallowed Wall Street's line that millions of US families are about to lose their homes because they bought homes they couldn't afford or took loans too big for their wallets. Ba-LON-ey. That's blaming the victim.
Here's what happened. Since the Bush regime came to power, a new species of loan became the norm, the 'sub-prime' mortgage and it's variants including loans with teeny 'introductory' interest rates. From out of nowhere, a company called 'Countrywide' became America's top mortgage lender, accounting for one in five home loans, a large chuck of these 'sub-prime's....
Here's how it worked: The Grinning Family, with US average household income, gets a $200,000 mortgage at 4% for two years. Their $955 a month payment is 25% of their income. No problem. Their banker promises them a new mortgage, again at the cheap rate, in two years. But in two years, the promise ain't worth a can of spam and the Grinnings are told to scram - because their house is now worth less than the mortgage. Now, the mortgage hits 9% or $1,609 plus fees to recover the 'discount' they had for two years. Suddenly, payments equal 42% to 50% of pre-tax income. Grinnings move into their Toyota.
Now, what kind of American is 'sub-prime'. Guess. No peeking. Here's a hint: 73% of HIGH INCOME Black and Hispanic borrowers were given sub-prime loans versus 17% of similar-income Whites. Dark-skinned borrowers aren't 'stupid', they had no choice. They were 'steered' as it's called in the mortgage sharking business.
"Steering," sub-prime loans with usurious kickers, fake inducements to over-borrow, called 'fraudulent conveyance' or 'predatory lending' under US law, were almost completely forbidden in the olden days (Clinton Administration and earlier) by federal regulators and state laws as nothing more than fancy loan-sharking.
But when the Bush regime took over, Countrywide and its banking brethren were told to party hardy "it was OK now to steer'm, fake'm, charge'm and take'm."
BUT THERE WAS THIS ANNOYING PARTY-POOPER.
The Attorney General of New York, Eliot Spitzer, who sued these guys to a fare-thee-well. Or tried to.
Instead of regulating the banks that had run amok, Bush's regulators went on the warpath against Spitzer and states attempting to stop predatory practices. Making an unprecedented use of the legal power of 'federal pre-emption', Bush-bots ordered the states to NOT enforce their consumer protection laws.
Indeed, the feds actually filed a lawsuit to block Spitzer's investigation of ugly racial mortgage steering. Bush's banking buddies were especially steamed that Spitzer hammered bank practices across the nation using New York State laws.
Spitzer not only took on Countrywide, he took on their predatory enablers in theinvestment banking community. Behind Countrywide was the Mother Shark, its funder and now owner, Bank of America. Others joined the sharkfest: Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Citigroup's Citibank made mortgage usury their major profit centers. They did this through a bit of financial legerdemain called 'securitization.'
What that means is that they took a bunch of junk mortgages, like the Grinnings, loans about to go down the toilet and re-packaged them into 'tranches' of bonds which were stamped 'AAA' - top grade - by bond rating agencies. These gold-painted turds were sold as sparkling safe investments to US school district pension funds and town governments in Finland (really).
When the housing bubble burst and the paint flaked off, investors were left with the poop and the bankers were left with bonuses. Countrywide's top man, Angelo Mozilo, will 'earn' a $77 million buy-out bonus this year on top of the $656 million - over half a billion dollars - he pulled in from 1998 through 2007.
BUT THERE WERE RUMBLINGS THAT THE PARTY WOULD SOON BE OVER.
Angry regulators, burned investors and the weight of millions of homes about to be boarded up were causing the sharks to sink. Countrywide's stock was down 50%, and Citigroup was off 38%, not pleasing to the Gulf sheiks who now control its biggest share blocks.
Then, on Wednesday of this week, the unthinkable happened. Carlyle Capital went bankrupt. Who? That's Carlyle as in Carlyle Group. James Baker, Senior Counsel. Notable partners, former and past: George Bush, the Bin Laden family and more dictators, potentates, pirates and presidents than you can count.
The Fed had to act. Bernanke opened the vault and dumped $200 billion on the poor little suffering bankers. They got the 'public treasure' and got to keep the Grinning's house. There was no 'quid' of a foreclosure moratorium for the 'pro quo' of public bail-out. Not one family was 'saved,' but not one banker was left behind.
Every mortgage sharking operation shot up in value. Mozilo's Countrywide stock rose 17% in one day. The Citi sheiks saw their company's stock rise $10 billion in an afternoon.
And that very same day the bail-out was decided - what a coinkydink! - the man called "The Sheriff of Wall Street" was cuffed.
SPITZER WAS SILENCED.
Do I believe the banks called Justice and said "Take him down today!" Naw, that's not how the system works. But the big players knew that unless Spitzer was taken out, he would create enough ruckus to spoil the party. Headlines in the financial press, one was 'Wall Street Declares War on Spitzer' - made clear to Bush's enforcers at Justice who their number one target should be. And it wasn't Bin Laden.
It was the night of February 13 when Spitzer made the bone-headed choice to order take-out in his Washington Hotel room. He had just finished signing these words for the Washington Post about predatory loans:
'Not only did the Bush administration do nothing to protect consumers, it embarked on an aggressive and unprecedented campaign to prevent states from protecting their residents from the very problems to which he federal government was turning a blind eye.'
Bush, said Spitzer right in the headline: 'was the 'Predator Lenders' Partner in Crime.' The President, said Spitzer, was a fugitive from justice. And Spitzer was in Washington to launch a campaign to take on the Bush regime and the biggest financial powers on the planet.
Spitzer wrote: When history tells the story of the subprime lending crisis and recounts its devastating effects on the lives of so many innocent homeowners the Bush administration will not be judged favorably."
FALLEN ON HIS OWN GUN
But now, the Administration can rest assured that this love story - of Bush and his bankers - will not be told by history at all ''now that the Sheriff of Wall Street has fallen on his own gun.''
A note on 'Prosecutorial Indiscretion.'
Back in the day when I was an investigator of racketeers for government, the federal prosecutor I was assisting was deciding whether to launch a case based on his negotiations for air-time with 60 Minutes. I'm not allowed to tell you the prosecutor's name, but I want to mention he was recently seen shouting: "Florida is Rudi country! Florida is Rudi country!"
Not all crimes lead to federal bust or even public exposure. It's up to something called 'prosecutorial discretion.'
Funny thing, this "discretion." For example, Senator David Vitter, Republican of Louisiana, paid Washington DC prostitutes to put him in diapers (ewww!), yet the Senator was not exposed by the US prosecutors busting the pimp-ring that pampered him.
Naming and shaming and ruining Spitzer - rarely done in these cases - was made at the 'discretion' of Bush's Justice Department.
Or maybe we should say, 'indiscretion.'
* Listen to Palast on Clout at http://www.GregPalast.com
Greg Palast, former investigator of financial fraud, is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Armed Madhouse and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.
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Editor: Henk Ruyssenaars
For more, GO TO > > > Confessions of a Whistleblower; Nests Along Wall Street; The Silence of The Whistleblowers
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October 31, 2000
VIA Fax @ (202) 514-7021
Mr. Cliff Rones, Esq.
U. S. Department of Justice
Criminal Division, Fraud Section
P. O. Box 28188, McPherson Station
Washington, DC 20038
RE: Report of Fraud and Racketeering:
— P&C Insurance Company, Inc.
— Federal Insurance Company (Chubb Group)
— Marsh & McLennan, Inc.
— PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP
— State of Hawaii, Insurance Division
Dear Mr. Rones:
I realize this is a quick follow-up to my letter of October 27, 2000, but an article in today’s Honolulu Star-Bulletin may help explain why the State of Hawaii, and especially the insurance commissioner, took no action on my complaints of fraud and racketeering regarding the subject insurance companies.
Under the front page headline of “Former trustees funneled donations to lawmakers,” reporter Rick Daysog writes:
Former trustees of the Kamehameha Schools operated an underground political network that funneled money to the campaigns of dozens of key Hawaii lawmakers, according to trust documents obtained by the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
Between 1992 and 1997, the $6-billion estate’s now-defunct government relations department orchestrated contributions to incumbent Democrats friendly to the trust’s interests or to high-ranking politicians with regulatory control over the trust’s massive land and business holdings.
Those on the receiving end of estate contributions included U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris and former Mayor Frank Fasi’s Best Party. . . .
The state Campaign Spending Commission is looking into whether the trust illegally laundered contributions through former trustees, employees, relatives and outside contractors....
The list of recipients for that election year reads like a Who’s Who of island politics. They include:
. . . Former state Sen. Rey Graulty: On March 22, 1994, Wong bought $250 worth of tickets for a Graulty fund-raiser ... The check was delivered by a staffer. Graulty, now a state Circuit judge, could not be reached for response.
What the article does not say is that after Senator Graulty was defeated in his bid for re-election, he was appointed by Governor Ben Cayetano (D) as Hawaii’s Insurance Commissioner to replace Wayne Metcalf who was appointed to complete the term of another senator who passed away. Graulty was later appointed as a state judge, and Metcalf was re-appointed as the state insurance commissioner.
My complaint letters to both of these regulators received little or no response. To my knowledge, no disciplinary action was taken against any of these companies, and they have been allowed to continue the fraud and theft activities under the current interim-trustees and several top executives who served under the ex-trustees.
The Star-Bulletin article goes on to state:
. . . The ex-trustees deny that they took part in an organized effort to finance the campaigns of isle politicians. They say their political contributions and those of staffers and outside vendors were personal in nature and have nothing to do with trust business. . . .
However, in sworn testimony, some staffers say they not only helped organize the campaign contributions but also used trust facilities to direct the money to local politicians. . . .
I am one of the former staffers who testified under oath during the Attorney General’s investigation of the estate, about how staff were encouraged to assist certain politicians, including ex-trustee Henry Peters, Milton Holt and Robert Herkes.
The full Star-Bulletin articles can be retrieved from the internet at the following addresses:
More details regarding my RICO lawsuit, and copies of my letters to the Hawaii and California insurance departments can be found at the following address:
My mailing address and telephone number appear above if I can provide further information, or I can be reached by e-mail at:
In our initial conversation, you indicated that you would probably be contacting the Federal Bureau of Investigation for further action. If this is still the case, then I would appreciate your relaying this information to the proper party.
Again, thank you very much for your assistance.
Very truly yours,
Bobby N. Harmon
December 13, 2007
Lawmakers vote to hold
Bush aides in contempt
By Thomas Ferraro, Rueters
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted on Thursday to hold two men who have been top aides to President George W. Bush in contempt for refusing to comply with subpoenas in its probe of the firing of federal prosecutors.
On a largely party-line vote, the Democratic-led panel sent contempt of Congress citations against White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove to the full Senate for consideration.
"This is not a step I have wanted to take," said Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat. He accused the White House of "stonewalling" and refusing to reach an acceptable compromise on providing documents and testimony.
In a battle dating back to shortly after Democrats took control of Congress in January, Bush has claimed executive privilege to protect aides from complying with subpoenas demanding documents and testimony in a congressional probe into the firing last year of nine federal prosecutors.
Setting the stage for a possible lengthy court fight, the committee rejected the privilege claim as unfounded.
At the White House, press secretary Dana Perino said, "The Democrats should know the futility of trying to press ahead with a criminal case."
In July, the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee also approved along party lines contempt citations against Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers.
It was unclear when the full House or Senate would vote on the citations. If approved, they would be sent to the U.S. Justice Department for prosecution.
Attorney General Michael Mukasey said during his confirmation hearing he did not believe the department could prosecute since it had deemed Bush's privilege claim as valid.
If the case does end up in the courts, it could takes years to conclude, long after Bush's term ends in January 2009.
Bush nominated Mukasey as attorney general after Alberto Gonzales, Bush's former White House counsel, resigned under pressure from lawmakers who questioned his competency and honesty.
Critics charged Gonzales had politicized the Justice Department and fired prosecutors because they were not seen as sufficiently loyal to the administration.
The White House has contended the dismissals were improperly handled, but did not involve any wrongdoing.
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February 19, 2002
Extraordinary Heroes and Scoundrels of Hawaii -
Edward Kubo Total Power Corrupts: Highest Law Enforcement Officer Real, Real Busy
By Malia Zimmerman, The Hawaii Reporter
Edward Kubo, 48, as the state’s newly appointed United States attorney and highest law enforcement officer, has his work cut out for him.
As one of only 92 in this same position throughout the nation, reporting directly to United States Attorney General John Ashcroft, Kubo oversees in Hawaii and surrounding territories prosecution of international drug traffickers, Internet crime and child pornography, and crimes against visitors and the military. But the most complicated cases come by way of more than 40 years of one-party rule in Hawaii and political corruption that inevitably follows.
Kubo has more independence to pursue the political corruption in the state, simply because he is not tied to the party in power. He was appointed by President George W. Bush, a Republican, and that is a considerably different situation from his predecessor Steve Alm, who had every reason to go after "safe" political corruption, or corruption that did not go too close to the top.
Alm was noted more for his work on weed and seed, or cleaning up communities from drug dealers, than for busting high-profile political powers that be. That focus was rewarded well by incumbent Democrat Gov. Benjamin Cayetano who recently appointed Alm a state judge over many other qualified candidates.
But if there was ever a time for a U.S. attorney to come to the rescue, it is now. Especially with every political office up for re-election in 2002 as mandated in the state constitution. The shake-up is breeding panic amongst long-time incumbents who want to find a place to continue their career in politics, and that panic is creating a money and power grab with more momentum than ever before.
The fanatical activity building everyday in Hawaii’s political arena is keeping Kubo busy, at work 7-days-a-week. Since he took office Jan. 4, 2002, the U.S. attorney’s office has taken on several major cases involving political corruption including some of the largest cases ever taken on by federal investigators.
Take the state Legislative Auditor’s report exposing abuse of federal and state funds set aside for special needs children. The state so far has spent $1.4 billion since 1994 to meet the Felix consent decree, or educational needs of special-needs children, much that is untraceable.
Questions are arising in state’s other than Hawaii including North Carolina, where federal investigators indicted Lenore Behar, who was appointed by U.S. District Court Judge David Ezra to set up and monitor Hawaii’s Felix program. Behar was under indictment for 46 counts of stealing federal and state monies from a similar program for children in her home state. She plead guilty in December 2001 to one count.
Besides the missing money and misappropriations relating to Felix and special education, there is the investigation into Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris, who is accused of using state and federal funds to pay off contributors through city contracts and for demanding those who receive contracts pay up or lose out. The investigation, involving several city, state and federal agencies, goes right to the heart of the corruption in the Democratic Party and the way the Democratic machine is funded.
Then there is voter fraud and voting irregularities, including an absentee ballot system abused in 1998 and 2000, naturally ignored by Kubo’s predecessor. There is the 40,000-page document in the state Campaign Spending office and the state attorney general’s office documenting wide-spread campaign funding raising abuse and bribery by former Bishop Estate trustees involving many of the people still in office today.
After being under investigation himself for more than a year, including federal screenings, interviews with congress members and background checks, Kubo is ecstatic by the chance he has been given to make a difference in the place he was born, spent much of his childhood and raised his children.
He agreed to apply for the position of U.S. attorney after meeting and hearing President George W. Bush speak at the presidential inauguration in January 2001.
"I was approached by the Hawaii Bush Presidential Committee and asked if I would consider the position. Just after the inauguration, one of the best experiences in my lifetime, I agreed to seek the position. Just looking back on the inauguration and the speech the president gave, gives me goosebumps."
Kubo, the first public school graduate appointed to this position, for the last 30 years has put in considerable energy, enthusiasm and effort into his law enforcement career. After graduating from Waipahu High School and the University of Hawaii at Manoa, he attended the University of San Diego School of Law, graduating in 1979. During law school, Kubo volunteered with the San Diego Legal Aid Society and interned with the University of San Diego Legal Clinic. Returning to Hawaii in 1979, he clerked for a year with Kobayashi, Watanabe, Sugita & Kawashima Attorneys at Law.
Deciding to take a stab at prosecution, he went to work for the City & County of Honolulu Prosecutor Toga Nakagawa for three years as a deputy city prosecuting attorney. For two years, from 1983 to 1985, he took a break from the prosecutor’s office and went to work in private practice as a senior associate trial attorney with Carlsmith & Dwyer Attorneys at Law. There he specialized in contract, personal injury and insurance litigation.
Charles Marsland, the first elected city prosecutor for the City & County of Honolulu, whom Kubo had worked for before, convinced Kubo to return to the city prosecutor’s office. In addition to his caseload, Kubo worked in two other aspects of law enforcement for several hours each day. He headed for 5 years the Jury Training Unit and was an instructor for police recruit classes and police refresher courses for the Honolulu Police Academy, teaching officers about the legalities of search and seizure laws, laws of arrest, and police testimony in court....
Then, 11 years ago, in December of 1990, Kubo made a decision that would change his life forever. He agreed to take on the job of assistant U.S. attorney offered to him by the then U.S. Attorney Dan Bent.
"My father was in the military and my mother was a substitute teacher. Because of what they taught me, I always believed in the importance of serving your country."
Many of the hundreds of cases Kubo has overseen, tried or assisted with, whether for the city or federal government, have left a lasting impression on him, especially those involving domestic violence or crimes involving minors. Many of the cases he’s overseen have made lasting changes on Hawaii’s case law.
One case in 1989 involved Boy Carvalho and his wife, whom Carvalho beat to death before the couple’s two children. The mother bled to death in Castle Medical Center, running the blood bank dry of 12 gallons of fluid before she died with 44 broken bones and knee caps shot off by a shot gun. But the defense used an unusual strategy to get Carvalho off the hook, by picking men only for the jury.
"The defense attorney began knocking off all women jurors. I objected based on a prior case that said jurors cannot be excluded because of race. I took the case to the Hawaii Supreme Court on a writ (legal demand for a specific action) and the Hawaii Supreme Court was the first in the nation to rule that women could not be excluded as a class."
Other cases Kubo took on as a deputy U.S. attorney include a case in 1999, United States vs. Kaisa Tai, et. al., where Kubo was the sole prosecutor assigned to the case involving an organized group of individuals who were transporting large quantities of both crystal methamphetamine and cocaine to Hawaii from Los Angeles, with some of the drugs destined to distributors in American Samoa. After a hard fought jury trial, two were convicted and sentenced, and one was acquitted, and the case is now on appeal....
The kinds of cases Kubo will now direct his assistant U.S. attorneys to take on are in line with that of the U.S. Attorney General Ashcroft, with the first priority being identifying and preventing terrorist attacks.
"9-11 has changed the priorities of the Bush administration and the federal government – with the number one priority being terrorism. The underlying priority for us is to make people safe, but to do so in a way that is balanced and fair and keeps in mind their liberties and rights."
Kubo also will focus on preventing gun violence by tracking down people who possess or sell firearms illegally and keeping guns out of the hands of violent criminals. He’ll continue to address drug trafficking and addiction, help to prevent violence against military families and their property, and assist local authorities in their efforts to prevent attacks on visitors.
"I know there has been a great deal of crimes focused on the military people here and we are stepping up the effort to protect them and their families. This is important to me, probably because of my background growing up with a father in the military."
Kubo’s upbringing, partially in Germany because his father was transferred there twice in his youth to that snowy country, was different from most of his peers. His family moved every three years, and so he transferred to various new schools, including schools in Germany, where he spent third through fifth grade and his first three years of high school.
He took care of his own family, settling down in 1979 to raise three children: Diana, 22, Dawn, 20; and Ed, 19. He became a grandfather three years ago to Alayna.
"Today I carry my background with me. Because I suffered racial slurs in Germany, I learned to be more independent. My mother taught to be compassionate, to be fair and look at both sides. And my father, a U.S. Army veteran of both the Korean and Vietnam wars, who retired as a Rank E-9 command sergeant major, taught me the importance of service to our country and getting the job done no matter what it took. These experiences and lessons are all going to help me with the tasks I’ll face in this job."
November 1, 2007
Kennedy opposes Mukasey
as attorney general
Dem. leader Reid won't promise floor vote
if nomination fails in committee
WASHINGTON - President Bush, seeking Thursday to salvage the embattled nomination of Michael Mukasey as attorney general, defended the former judge's refusal to say whether he considers waterboarding as illegal torture. But the nomination suffered another setback in the Senate.
Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., said that Muksaey's unwillingness to answer definitively on the legality of the interrogation method that simulates drowning increases the chances that it could be used against U.S. troops.
"I therefore intend to oppose this nomination," Kennedy said in remarks prepared for the Senate floor....
On the upside for the administration, Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, announced they would support Bush's nominee.
Bush said it was unfair to ask Mukasey about interrogation techniques on which he has not been briefed. "He doesn't know whether we use that technique or not," the president told a group of reporters invited into the Oval Office.
Further, Bush said, "It doesn't make any sense to tell an enemy what we're doing."
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., whose vote may decide whether Mukasey's nomination survives the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, said he has not decided but defended his fellow Democrats who have.
"I do not think Democrats are mistreating him at all," Schumer told reporters.
Prospects for Mukasey's confirmation have dimmed because of his refusal to equate waterboarding with torture. Three of the 10 Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have said they will vote against him in the first test of his nomination next Tuesday.
In a potentially ominous sign for the administration, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters he could not guarantee a floor vote if Mukasey's nomination fails in committee....
Bush called on the Senate to promptly approve Mukasey, saying the nation needs to have an attorney general in place to help wage the war on terror.
"Judge Mukasey is not being treated fairly," the president said. Without saying whether interrogators use waterboarding, a technique that simulates drowning, Bush said that "the American people must know that whatever techniques we use are within the law."
Asked whether he considers waterboarding legal, Bush replied, "I'm not going to talk about techniques. There's an enemy out there."
Mukasey's confirmation seemed assured two weeks ago but now increasingly is in doubt.
‘I cannot stand for that’
Freshman Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., said Wednesday he would oppose the nomination. Mukasey's refusal to say that waterboarding is "unconditionally wrong" would leave open the possibility that U.S. agencies could cross a moral and legal line and use it on detainees, Whitehouse said.
"If we allow the president of the United States to prevent or to forbid a would-be attorney general of the United States ... from recognizing that bright line, we will have turned down that dark stairway," Whitehouse said. "I cannot stand for that. I will oppose this nomination."...
Bush spoke about Mukasey's nomination before delivering a speech Thursday afternoon about the war against terrorism. He said he was concerned that some people "have lost sight of the fact that we are at war with extremists and radicals who want to attack us again." He said it was important that Congress approve the laws, financing and personnel necessary to combat U.S. enemies.
September 17, 2007
Bush names new attorney general
US President George W Bush has named retired federal
judge Michael Mukasey as the replacement for outgoing
US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
Mr Mukasey has presided over a number of high-profile terror trials and is seen as a conservative, analysts say.
Mr Gonzales announced his resignation last month amid accusations that he sacked eight lawyers for political reasons - charges he denies.
The president's nomination for attorney general must be approved by the Senate.
Mr Bush urged the Senate to act quickly. If confirmed, Mr Mukasey will be his third attorney general.
Mr Bush said Mr Mukasey, 66, had the right qualifications for the job and was "clear-eyed about the threat our nation faces".
"The attorney general has an especially vital role to play in a time of war, when we face the challenge of protecting our people on a daily basis from deadly enemies, while at the same time protecting our freedom.
"Judge Mukasey brings impressive credentials to this task," he said.
Before shaking hands with the president, Mr Mukasey said he was honoured to have been nominated to head the justice department.
"My finest hope and prayer at this time is that if confirmed I can give them the support and the leadership they deserve."
He also said he looked forward to working with Congress to "meet the nation's challenges"....
Mr Gonzales officially steps down from his post on Monday.
Although Mr Bush accepted his resignation, he has continued to support Mr Gonzales, saying: "His good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons."
August 27, 2007
Top Law Enforcement Official
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales stepped down from his post, amid a political firestorm after Congressional Democrats accused him of perjury.
The embattled attorney general had withstood months of criticism from both sides of the aisle in Congress. Lawmakers blasted Gonzales after his department's bungled firing of at least eight U.S. attorneys last year, accused him of misusing terrorist surveillance programs and most recently, Democrats charged that Gonzales had repeatedly lied to Congress under oath.
Fired U.S. Attorneys
Tension between Gonzales and Congress ratcheted up this spring, after details began emerging about last year's federal prosecutor firings. Gonzales' chief of staff and the department's White House liaison, who later admitted to having little prosecutorial experience themselves, were heavily involved in constructing the list of prosecutors to dismiss. Members of Congress questioned the motives behind the firings, alleging that they were politically motivated. Both of the officials later stepped down.
The attorney firings, which seemed to kick off a campaign seeking the attorney general's resignation, took a backseat to criticism over the Terrorist Surveillance Program and challenges to his sworn statements before Congress.
Terrorist Surveillance Program
In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 24, the attorney general dismissed then-Acting Attorney General James Comey's statement that a March 10, 2004 White House briefing with congressional leaders specifically addressed the Terrorist Surveillance Program, which allowed the government to use wiretaps without court authorization. A still-classified program, possibly related to TSP, was set to expire the following day.
It was shortly after that briefing that Gonzales, at the time White House counsel, along with then-White House chief of staff Andy Card, went to the hospital, apparently to ask then-Attorney General John Ashcroft to re-authorize the program, despite having ceded his powers to Comey while he recovered from surgery in the hospital's intensive care unit.
In May of this year, Comey recounted the run-in during dramatic testimony to Congress, saying he raced to the hospital to head off Gonzales and Card. "I was angry," Comey said. "I thought I had just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very sick man who did not have the powers of the attorney general."
FBI Director Backs Comey
In a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee July 26, FBI Director Robert Mueller backed Comey's account.
In his first public comments about the now-infamous visit, Mueller confirmed to the panel that he and Comey scrambled to post agents outside Ashcroft's hospital room.
Mueller in his usual crisp, blunt style said, "I don't dispute what Mr. Comey said."
But the attorney general downplayed interpretations of the visit to Ashcroft.
Describing why he and Card urgently needed to talk to Ashcroft, Gonzales testified July 24 that the attorney general could have reclaimed his powers, "and he could always reclaim that. There are no rules" against it.
Gonzales indicated that Ashcroft had previously authorized the program, noting, "From the inception, we believed that we had the approval of the attorney general of the United States for these activities."
He also noted that the White House briefing involved "other intelligence activities."
Possible Perjury Probe
Two Senators on the Senate Judiciary panel, Russ Feingold, D-Wisc., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., both also members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, jumped on that assertion, which has also been contradicted by two participants in the March 10, 2004 briefing -- Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V., and Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif.
A letter from then-Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte to then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill. also confirms that the March 10 meeting addressed the TSP.
On July 26, four Senate Democrats called for the Justice Department to assign a special prosecutor to investigate the apparent discrepancies.
"I believe it's perjury," Feingold said of Gonzales' July 24 testimony. "Not just misleading - perjury."
Specter Weighs In
The Senate Judiciary Committee's senior Republican, Pennsylvania's Arlen Specter, has publicly called for the attorney general's resignation. He also alluded to the possibility that the panel would examine whether Gonzales has lied to Congress, telling him at the July 24 hearing, "My suggestion to you is that you review your testimony very carefully."
"The chairman's already said that the committee's going to review your testimony very carefully to see if your credibility has been breached to the point of being actionable," Specter continued.
But Specter did not join in on his colleagues' latest move.
'A Little Bit of Don Quixote'
"Do I support Senator Schumer's request for a special prosecutor? No," Specter said. "I think Senator Schumer has made a practice of politicizing this matter."
August 27, 2007
Gonzales, Attorney General Who Promoted Illegal Torture and Domestic Spying for President Bush, Resigns in Disgrace
Associated Press, MSNBC
WASHINGTON - Embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, under fire from congressional Democrats, has resigned, senior Bush administration officials said Monday....
The 51-year-old Bush loyalist was at the center of a political firestorm for President Bush over the sacking of eight federal prosecutors, which critics in Congress complained were politically motivated.
A senior Justice Department official said that a likely temporary replacement for Gonzales is Solicitor General Paul Clement, who would take over until a permanent replacement is found.
Gonzales worked for Bush when he was governor of Texas in the 1990s. He served as White House lawyer in Bush's first term as president before becoming the first Hispanic attorney general in February 2005.
Gonzales drew fire from civil liberties groups for writing in January 2002 that parts of the half-century-old Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war were "obsolete" and some provisions were "quaint."
He also was criticized for Bush's warrantless domestic spying program adopted after the Sept. 11 attacks. Only in January, in an abrupt reversal, Gonzales said the program finally would be subject to court approval.
July 28, 2007
Mining of Data Prompted Fight
Over U.S. Spying
The New York Times
WASHINGTON — A 2004 dispute over the National Security Agency’s secret surveillance program that led top Justice Department officials to threaten resignation involved computer searches through massive electronic databases, according to current and former officials briefed on the program.
It is not known precisely why searching the databases, or data mining, raised such a furious legal debate. But such databases contain records of the phone calls and e-mail messages of millions of Americans, and their examination by the government would raise privacy issues.
The N.S.A.’s data mining has previously been reported. But the disclosure that concerns about it figured in the March 2004 debate helps to clarify the clash this week between Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and senators who accused him of misleading Congress and called for a perjury investigation.
The confrontation in 2004 led to a showdown in the hospital room of then Attorney General John Ashcroft, where Mr. Gonzales, the White House counsel at the time, and Andrew H. Card Jr., then the White House chief of staff, tried to get the ailing Mr. Ashcroft to reauthorize the N.S.A. program.
Mr. Gonzales insisted before the Senate this week that the 2004 dispute did not involve the Terrorist Surveillance Program “confirmed” by President Bush, who has acknowledged eavesdropping without warrants but has never acknowledged the data mining.
If the dispute chiefly involved data mining, rather than eavesdropping, Mr. Gonzales’ defenders may maintain that his narrowly crafted answers, while legalistic, were technically correct.
But members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who have been briefed on the program, called the testimony deceptive.
“I’ve had the opportunity to review the classified matters at issue here, and I believe that his testimony was misleading at best,” said Senator Russ Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, joining three other Democrats in calling Thursday for a perjury investigation of Mr. Gonzales.
“This has gone on long enough,” Mr. Feingold said. “It is time for a special counsel to investigate whether criminal charges should be brought.”
The senators’ comments, along with those of other members of Congress briefed on the program, suggested that they considered the eavesdropping and data mining so closely tied that they were part of a single program. Both activities, which ordinarily require warrants, were started without court approval as the Bush administration intensified counterterrorism efforts soon after the Sept. 11 attacks.
A half-dozen officials and former officials interviewed for this article would speak only on the condition of anonymity, in part because unauthorized disclosures about the classified program are already the subject of a criminal investigation. Some of the officials said the 2004 dispute involved other issues in addition to the data mining, but would not provide details. They would not say whether the differences were over how the databases were searched or how the resulting information was used.
Nor would they explain what modifications to the surveillance program President Bush authorized to head off the threatened resignations by Justice Department officials.
An agency spokesman declined to comment on the data mining issue but referred a reporter to a statement issued earlier that Mr. Gonzales had testified truthfully.
The Justice Department announced in January that eavesdropping without warrants under the Terrorist Surveillance Program had been halted, and that a special intelligence court was again overseeing the wiretapping. The N.S.A., the nation’s largest intelligence agency, generally eavesdrops on communications in foreign countries. Since the 1978 passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA, any eavesdropping to gather intelligence on American soil has required a warrant from the special court.
In addition, court approval is required for the N.S.A. to search the databases of telephone calls or e-mail records, usually compiled by American phone and Internet companies and including phone numbers or e-mail addresses, as well as dates, times and duration of calls and messages. Sometimes called metadata, such databases do not include the content of the calls and e-mail messages — the actual words spoken or written.
Government examination of the records, which allows intelligence analysts to trace relationships between callers and identify possible terrorist cells, is considered less intrusive than actual eavesdropping. But the N.S.A.’s eavesdropping targeted international calls and e-mail messages of people inside the United States, while the databases contain primarily domestic records. The conflict in 2004 appears to have turned on differing interpretations of the president’s power to bypass the FISA law and obtain access to the records.
President Bush has asserted that both his constitutional powers as commander in chief and the authorization for the use of military force passed by Congress after the Sept. 11 attacks gave him legal justification for skirting the warrant requirement. Critics have called the surveillance illegal because it does not comply with the FISA law.
The first known assertion by administration officials that there had been no serious disagreement within the government about the legality of the N.S.A. program came in talks with New York Times editors in 2004. In an effort to persuade the editors not to disclose the eavesdropping program, senior officials repeatedly cited the lack of dissent as evidence of the program’s lawfulness.
In December 2005, The Times published articles describing the program, the data mining and the internal legal debate. The newspaper reported that the N.S.A. had combed large volumes of telephone and Internet traffic in search of patterns that might point to terrorism suspects.
Civil liberties groups, Congressional Democrats and some Republicans reacted to the disclosures with outrage, accusing the administration of operating an illegal surveillance program inside the United States. The uproar grew when USA Today reported in May 2006 more details of the N.S.A.’s acquisition from telephone companies of the phone call databases. In response to the articles, Mr. Bush confirmed the eavesdropping, saying it was limited to communications in and out of the United States involving people suspected of ties to Al Qaeda. He did not, however, confirm the data mining, nor has any other official done so publicly.
Mr. Gonzales defended the surveillance in an appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee in February 2006, saying there had been no internal dispute about its legality. He told the senators: “There has not been any serious disagreement about the program that the president has confirmed. There have been disagreements about other matters regarding operations, which I cannot get into.”
By limiting his remarks to “the program the president has confirmed,” Mr. Gonzales skirted any acknowledgment of the heated arguments over the data mining. He said the Justice Department had issued a legal analysis justifying the eavesdropping program.
Mr. Bush and other officials also have repeatedly cited Justice Department reviews as evidence of their care in overseeing the program, never mentioning the bitter conflict that unfolded behind the scenes.
Mr. Gonzales’s 2006 testimony went unchallenged publicly until May of this year, when James B. Comey, the former deputy attorney general, described the March 2004 confrontation to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Mr. Comey had refused to sign a reauthorization for the N.S.A. program when he was standing in for Mr. Ashcroft, who was hospitalized for gall bladder surgery.
Mr. Comey described an intense fight that prompted the top leaders of the Justice Department to consider resigning in protest. Mr. Gonzales and Mr. Card visited the bedside of Mr. Ashcroft, who was in pain and under sedation, to seek his signature on the reauthorization.
Mr. Ashcroft refused to do so. Mr. Comey testified that he thought the White House officials were trying to take advantage of a sick man.
On Tuesday, to respond to Mr. Comey’s account, Mr. Gonzales testified in a Senate appearance that he went to the hospital only after meeting with Congressional leaders about the impending deadline for the reauthorization. He said the consensus was that the program should go on, so he felt he had no choice but to seek Mr. Ashcroft’s approval.
At the hearing, Mr. Gonzales faced harsh questioning about why he had not previously acknowledged the 2004 standoff. In response, he asserted once again that there had not been disagreements about the surveillance program, insisting that the dispute involved “other intelligence activities.”
After the hearing, Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, sent Mr. Gonzales a transcript of his testimony with pointed instructions — to “correct, clarify or supplement your answers so that, consistent with your oath, they are the whole truth.”
July 26, 2007
FBI Head Contradicts
Lawmakers Want Probe of
Attorney General; Rove Subpoenaed
By LAURIE KELLMAN and LARA JAKES JORDAN, AP
WASHINGTON (July 26) - The head of the FBI contradicted Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' sworn testimony and Senate Democrats requested a perjury investigation Thursday in a fresh barrage against President Bush's embattled longtime friend and aide.
In a third blow to the Bush administration, the Senate Judiciary Committee issued subpoenas to compel the testimony of Karl Rove, Bush's chief political adviser, in connection with its investigation.
"It has become apparent that the attorney general has provided at a minimum half-truths and misleading statements," four Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee wrote in a letter to Solicitor General Paul Clement calling for a special counsel to investigate.
"I'm convinced that he's not telling the truth," added Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
The developments marked a troubling turn for Gonzales as well as the administration, which has been on the political defensive since congressional Democrats launched an investigation seven months ago into the firings of U.S. attorneys.
That probe revealed information that Democrats have sought to weave into a pattern of improper political influence over prosecutions, of stonewalling and of deceit in sworn testimony before Congress.
The White House defiantly stuck by Gonzales and denied that FBI Director Robert S. Mueller had contradicted him.
Democrats insisted that Gonzales had been untruthful and that the White House had encouraged top aides to flout congressional subpoenas in the U.S. attorney probe.
But Gonzales took the toughest hits Thursday, when four Senate Democrats issued a list of examples of what they said was the attorney general lying to Congress under oath - the basis for their request to Clement to appoint a special counsel to investigate.
Among the Democrats' examples of Gonzales' untruthfulness was his emphatic and repeated statement to the Judiciary Committee Tuesday that his dramatic nighttime visit to the bedside of Attorney General John Ashcroft in 2004 was not related to an internal administration dispute about the president's secret warrantless eavesdropping program.
In his own sworn testimony Thursday, Mueller contradicted his boss, saying under questioning that the terrorist surveillance program (TSP) was the topic of the hospital room dispute between top Bush administration officials.
Mueller was not in the hospital room at the time of the dramatic March 10, 2004, confrontation between Ashcroft and presidential advisers Andy Card and Gonzales, who was then serving as White House counsel. Mueller told the House Judiciary Committee he arrived shortly after they left, and then spoke with the ailing Ashcroft.
"Did you have an understanding that the conversation was on TSP?" asked Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas in a round of questioning that may have sounded to listeners like bureaucratic alphabet soup.
"I had an understanding the discussion was on a NSA program, yes," Mueller answered.
Jackson sought to clarify: "We use 'TSP,' we use 'warrantless wiretapping,' so would I be comfortable in saying that those were the items that were part of the discussion?"
"The discussion was on a national NSA program that has been much discussed, yes," Mueller responded.
The NSA, or National Security Agency, runs the program that eavesdropped on terror suspects in the United States, without court approval, until last January, when the program was put under the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
~ ~ ~
June 27, 2007
White House, Cheney's
By LAURIE KELLMAN Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenaed the White House and Vice President Dick Cheney's office Wednesday for documents relating to President Bush's controversial eavesdropping program that operated warrant-free for five years.
Also named in subpoenas signed by committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., were the Justice Department and the National Security Council. The four parties have until July 18 to comply, according to a statement by Leahy's office.
The committee wants documents that might shed light on internal disputes within the administration over the legality of the program, which Bush put under court review earlier this year.
"Our attempts to obtain information through testimony of administration witnesses have been met with a consistent pattern of evasion and misdirection," Leahy said in his cover letters for the subpoenas. "There is no legitimate argument for withholding the requested materials from this committee."
Echoing its response to previous congressional subpoenas to former administration officials Harriet Miers and Sara Taylor, the White House gave no indication that it would comply.
"We're aware of the committee's action and will respond appropriately," White House spokesman Tony Fratto said. "It's unfortunate that congressional Democrats continue to choose the route of confrontation."
In fact, the Judiciary Committee's three most senior Republicans — Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, former chairman Orrin Hatch of Utah and Chuck Grassley of Iowa — sided with Democrats on the 13-3 vote last week to give Leahy the power to issue the subpoenas.
The showdown between the White House and Congress could land in federal court.
Leahy's committee and its counterpart in the House have issued the subpoenas as part of a sweeping look at how much influence the White House exerts over the Justice Department and its chief, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
The probe, in its sixth month, began with an investigation into whether administration officials ordered the firings of eight federal prosecutors, for political reasons. The House and Senate Judiciary committees previously had subpoenaed Miers, one-time legal counsel, and Taylor, a former political director, in that probe.
But with senators of both parties already concerned about the constitutionality of the administration's efforts to root out terrorism suspects in the United States, the committee shifted to the broader question of Gonzales' stewardship of Justice and his willingness to go along with the wiretapping program.
The Bush administration secretly launched the spy program, run by the National Security Agency, in 2001 to monitor international phone calls and e-mails to or from the United States involving people the government suspected of having terrorist links. The program, which did not require investigators to seek warrants before conducting surveillance, was revealed in December 2005.
After the program was challenged in court, Bush put it under the supervision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, established in 1978. The president still claims the power to order warantless spying.
Debate continues over whether the program violates people's civil liberties, and the administration has gone to great lengths to keep it running with extensive presidential discretion.
Piquing the committee's interest was vivid testimony last month by former Deputy Attorney General James Comey about the extent of the White House's effort to override the Justice Department's objections to the program in 2004.
Comey told the Judiciary Committee that Gonzales, then-White House counsel, tried to get Attorney General John Ashcroft to reverse course and recertify the program. At the time, Ashcroft lay in intensive care, recovering form gall bladder surgery.
Ashcroft refused, as did Comey, to whom Ashcroft had temporarily shifted the power of his office during his illness.
The White House recertified the program unilaterally. Ashcroft, Comey, FBI Director Robert Mueller and their staffs prepared to resign. Bush ultimately relented and made changes to the classified program that the Justice officials had demanded, and the agency eventually recertified it.
The fight was one of the most bitter disputes of the Bush presidency and questions remain over whether the program tramples people's civil liberties. The administration says the program is crucial to preventing more terrorist attacks.
Fratto defended the surveillance program as "lawful" and "limited."
"It's specifically designed to be effective without infringing Americans' civil liberties," Fratto said. "The program is classified for a reason — its purpose is to track down and stop terrorist planning. We remain steadfast in our commitment to keeping Americans safe from an enemy determined to use any means possible — including the latest in technology — to attack us."
Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said the subpoena to Gonzales is under review and that the department recognizes Congress' oversight role.
"We must also give appropriate weight to the confidentiality of internal executive branch deliberations," he said.
Majority Democrats and some Republicans are skeptical and have sought to find out more details about the program and how it has been administered.
Leahy's panel is required to serve the subpoenas to specific people within the offices named. One is addressed to Gonzales, while the others are addressed to: David S. Addington, Cheney's chief of staff; White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, V. Phillip Lago, executive secretary of the National Security Council — or "other custodian of records" in their offices.
The subpoenas themselves seek a wide array of documents on the program from the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks to the present. Among them are any documents that include analysis or opinions from Justice, the National Security Agency — which administers the program — the Defense Department, the White House, or "any entity within the Executive Branch" on the legality of the electronic surveillance program.
* * *
From: "V.K. Durham" <email@example.com>
To: The Catbird
Subject: WHITE HOUSE, CHENEY'S OFFICE SUBPOENAED
Date: Wed, 27 Jun 2007
Investigating U.S. Atty's murdered or fired..to cover up what? Could it be WHITE HOUSE FINANCIAL INVOLVEMENT IN 911 http://www.theantechamber.net/V_K_Durham/More911FinancialTerror.htm and what this PUBLIC NOTICE is all about http://www.theantechamber.netV_K_Durham/VkPublicNotice.html and another PUBLIC NOTICE http://www.theantechamber.net/VkDocuments/DocGroupG/Gpage4.html and lets not forget another PUBLIC NOTICE http://www.theantechamber.net/Contact/Contact11205/ContactIndex.htm ..and the current investigation http://www.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/forum.cgi?read=106106 going on in CHICAGO regarding the MAFIA..(Las Vegas, La Salle, Benjamin Netanyahu and many, many more) .
That should also resolve THE "SIR" LEO WANTA saga.. which will probably be further involved in THE CIA FAMILY JEWELS expose'...
June 18, 2007
Key dates in the
U. S. Attorneys scandal
McClatchy Washington Bureau
Key dates in the relationship between the White House and the Department of Justice:
Beginning Jan. 20, 2001 - In keeping with tradition, the new Bush administration appoints John Ashcroft as attorney general and begins nominating U.S attorneys to replace the Clinton administration's top prosecutors.
Sept. 11 - Terrorists use airplanes to attack the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, killing almost 3,000 people.
Oct. 26 - President Bush signs into law the USA Patriot Act, passed by Congress to give law enforcement agencies new surveillance and investigative power to go after terrorists.
April - An administration memo expands the number of White House and Justice Department staff who can discuss pending criminal or civil cases with one another.
November - The administration announces a nominee to replace Fred Black, longtime acting U.S. attorney for Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. Weeks earlier, Black proposed investigating GOP donor and lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who represented anti-labor interests in the Pacific territories. Abramoff was later convicted on unrelated bribery charges on the mainland. An inspector general's report later concluded that the administration was planning to replace Black regardless of Abramoff.
November - High Native American voter turnout gives Democrats the win in a close Senate race in South Dakota. Republicans look for evidence of voter fraud.
July - The Justice Department's congressional liaison, William Moschella, corresponds with a department lawyer about the prospect of taking away federal district court judges' power to appoint interim U.S. attorneys.
August - The Justice Department orders U.S. attorneys to contact members of Congress to urge them to continue funding "sneak and peek" terrorism search warrants as authorized under the Patriot Act. Administration officials maintain the effort does not violate the Anti-Lobbying Act, which prevents most government employees from lobbying Congress.
December - Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S. attorney in Chicago, is named special prosecutor to investigate allegations that administration officials leaked the name of a CIA officer to retaliate against her husband, a former ambassador who questioned pre-Iraq war intelligence.
October - Rove testifies before the grand jury investigating the leak case.
March - Vice President Dick Cheney's then-chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby testifies before a grand jury.
March 9 - With then-Attorney General John Ashcroft in the hospital, acting Attorney General James Comey and other Justice lawyers are called to the White House to explain why they won't recertify a classified surveillance program. Cheney, his counsel David Addington , then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and chief of staff Andrew Card attend. Cheney and his staff later quashed the promotion of one Justice lawyer in retaliation for his stance, Comey said.
March 10 - Gonzales and Card go around Comey, making a late-night hospital visit to get Ashcroft to certify the program. When Ashcroft declines, the White House continues the program without Justice's approval, agreeing to changes weeks later to stave off mass resignations.
September - In New Mexico, Republicans pressure U.S. Attorney David Iglesias to seek indictments against several individuals who they allege submitted fraudulent voter registrations. Iglesias forms an election fraud task force but seeks no indictments prior to the November election.
October - The BBC reports on a controversy in Florida involving the GOP and direct mail. Critics allege that Republicans are planning to try to purge minority voters without up-to-date addresses from the rolls. The GOP says it is looking for fraudulent registrations. The allegations involve GOP operative Tim Griffin. In 2006, Griffin is named interim U.S. attorney in Little Rock, Ark.
November - Bush taps Gonzales as attorney general to replace Ashcroft, who's resigning. To fill Gonzales' job as White House counsel, Bush chooses another longtime confidante from Texas, Harriet Miers.
November/December - In Washington state, Democrat Christine Gregoire is declared governor by 129 votes, after three recounts. Then-U.S. Attorney John McKay in Seattle comes under pressure by a congressman's chief of staff and local Republicans to bring a voter-fraud case against Democrats. He declines.
Jan. 6 - Rove asks the White House Counsel's Office "how we planned to proceed regarding U.S. attorneys" according to e-mail between administration staffers. The options include replacing none of them, replacing all 93 U.S. attorneys or replacing some of them.
Jan. 9 - Justice Department aide Kyle Sampson tells the White House Counsel's Office that he's discussed the matter with Gonzales and that they would aim to replace up to 20 percent of the U.S. attorneys. Not included are "loyal Bushies."
February - A divided Senate confirms Gonzales as attorney general.
March - Sampson draws and sends a list to the White House that ranks all of the U.S. attorneys on their loyalty to the administration.
September - Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., calls Gonzales to complain about New Mexico prosecutor Iglesias, in the first of three conversations in which he asks the Justice Department to remove the prosecutor.
Oct. 3 - Bush nominates White House counsel Miers to be a Supreme Court justice; her nomination was later withdrawn after critics said she lacked qualifications and was too close to Bush.
Oct. 28 - Cheney chief of staff Libby is indicted for obstruction of justice and perjury related to CIA leak case. Gonzales chief of staff Sampson later tells senators that he had proposed putting special prosecutor Fitzgerald on the firing list in 2006 but the idea went nowhere.
November - Justice's congressional liaison Moschella crafts language to insert into the Patriot Act reauthorization that, unbeknownst to lawmakers, allows the administration to name interim U.S. attorneys to serve indefinitely. The revision effectively strips the Senate's confirmation power over interim U.S. attorneys.
January - Sampson e-mails the White House revised recommendations for the removal of several U.S. attorneys, including then-U.S. Attorney Todd Graves in Missouri. Graves later steps down after being asked to step aside to give another lawyer a chance to serve.
February - Thomas Heffelfinger, the U.S. attorney in Minnesota, resigns. He apparently wasn't aware he was on the proposed firing list. Heffelfinger is replaced with 33-year-old Rachel Paulose, who worked as an aide to Gonzales.
March - Graves' interim replacement is named: Bradley Schlozman, a former high-ranking lawyer with a controversial tenure at the Justice Department's civil rights division.
March - Patriot Act reauthorization wins final passage in Congress.
April - Rove delivers a speech to Republican National Lawyers Association in which he identifies 11 key states for the 2008 election: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
June - U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins in Little Rock, Ark., is told to resign later in the year to make way for Tim Griffin, a former aide to Karl Rove and Republican Party opposition researcher.
October - In New Mexico, Republicans want Iglesias to bring charges against Democrats prior to the general election in a corruption investigation involving courthouse construction. He does not.
November - In Missouri, less than a week before the election, Schlozman gets a grand jury to indict four people affiliated with a left-leaning voter registration group on charges of filing false voter information. The move is controversial because Justice Department policy discourages charges being brought right before an election.
Dec. 7 - Seven U.S. attorneys are told to resign: Dan Bogden of Nevada, Paul Charlton of Arizona, Margaret Chiara in Michigan, David Iglesias of New Mexico, Carol Lam of San Diego, John McKay of Seattle and Kevin Ryan of San Francisco.
Late 2006 - Allen Weh, the New Mexico Republican Party chairman, who had complained about U.S. Attorney Iglesias, follows up with Rove personally during a visit to the White House and is told Iglesias is "gone."
Jan. 4 - Miers resigns as White House counsel. Bush replaces her with Fred Fielding, former counsel to President Reagan. Fielding was deputy counsel under President Nixon during Watergate but not part of the scandal.
January - Senators learn of the mass nature of the U.S. attorney firings, and Democrats on the Judiciary Committee begin asking questions. Controversy over Cummins' dismissal leads senators to realize the implication of the Patriot Act changes.
Feb. 6 - Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty testifies before that Senate Judiciary Committee that the firings of all of the U.S. attorneys were "performance-related" except one, Cummins of Arkansas. Cummins, he said, was asked to resign to make way for former Rove aide Griffin.
Feb. 28 - New Mexico's Iglesias alleges he may have been fired for refusing to speed up investigations of Democrats. This triggers a call from New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici's chief of staff to Rove deputy Scott Jennings, who sends an e-mail to Fielding and Sampson on their government accounts and Rove on a Republican Party e-mail address rather than a White House address.
Feb. 12 - McClatchy Newspapers reports that most of the fired U.S. attorneys received positive job reviews despite McNulty's testimony that their dismissals were "performance-related."
March 6 - Cheney's former chief of staff Libby is convicted for obstruction of justice and perjury related to CIA leak case.
March 12 - Gonzales chief of staff Sampson resigns.
March 13 - Gonzales gives a news conference to acknowledge that "mistakes were made" in the handling of the firings, but that he was "not involved in seeing any memos, was not involved in any discussions about what was going on." He later concedes to Congress that he downplayed his knowledge of the matter.
March 14 - Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility launches an internal investigation.
Mid-March - Gonzales tries to compare stories with his counselor and then-White House liaison Monica Goodling about how the firings occurred, according to Goodling. Goodling declines and later tells Congress she felt uncomfortable about the conversation. Days later, Goodling takes a leave of absence.
April 7 - Goodling resigns.
April 17 - President Bush's lawyers instruct the Republican National Committee not to turn over to Congress any e-mails related to the firings last year of eight U.S. attorneys before showing them to the White House. That would include e-mails to and from Rove.
April 19 - Gonzales tells the Senate Judiciary Committee "while the process that led to the resignations was flawed, I firmly believe that nothing improper occurred." He is vague about the White House's involvement and says repeatedly that he cannot remember conversations with the president, meetings and other details about U.S. attorneys and voter fraud complaints referenced in e-mails and interviews. Several Republican senators chastise him. President Bush says through a spokeswoman that Gonzales continues to have his "full confidence."
May 14 - Deputy Attorney General McNulty announces he will resign.
May - Congress passes legislation restoring time limits on administration picks for interim U.S. attorneys. After 120 days, district judges can appoint new interim attorneys pending Senate confirmation of the nominees.
June 5 - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., says of the White House's refusal to make Rove and other aides available under oath or turn over documents: "I will soon have no choice but to issue subpoenas."
June 13 - The Senate and House issue subpoenas for Miers and a White House aide, as well as for certain documents.
Sources: Justice Department documents, congressional testimony, interviews by McClatchy Newspapers.
May 30, 2007
Chairman Conyers on Expansion
of US Attorney Probe
By Jesse Lee
The Inspector General at the Department of Justice, Glenn Fine, informed the Judiciary Committee today that he was expanding his investigation of the U.S. Attorneys issue to consider additional concerns about improper politicization taking place within the Department.
Chairman John Conyers issued the following statement:
The Inspector General’s decision to further expand its investigation into the politicization of the Justice Department demonstrates the clear need for oversight. Ms. Goodling’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee indicated that political litmus tests were administered to applicants for some career, nonpolitical positions within the Department. This gives me great concern and reinforces the need to continue with our investigation into the U.S. Attorney firings and related matters.
May 24, 2007
Ex-Justice Aide Admits
Politics Affected Hiring
By DAVID JOHNSTON and ERIC LIPTON, The New York Times
WASHINGTON, May 23 — A former top Justice Department aide testified on Wednesday that she had “crossed the line” in considering the political beliefs of applicants for nonpartisan legal jobs and suggested that earlier testimony by Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and another top official about the dismissals of federal prosecutors may have been flawed.
Monica M. Goodling, the former Justice official, told a House panel that she regretted favoring applicants with Republican credentials for lower level prosecutor jobs or prestigious postings at Justice headquarters, actions that could violate federal employment laws.
“I may have gone too far in asking political questions of applicants for career positions and I may have taken inappropriate political considerations into account,” Ms. Goodling said. “And I regret those mistakes.”
But she said that even though she was the Justice Department’s liaison to the White House, she did not play a significant role in the dismissals and never discussed them with Karl Rove, the president’s chief political adviser or Harriet E. Miers, the former White House counsel.
“I did not hold the keys to the kingdom as some have suggested,” Ms. Goodling said to the House Judiciary Committee.
Ms. Goodling testified under a grant of immunity from prosecution, which the Judiciary panel issued after two months of wrangling, because her lawyers said she would refuse to answer questions on grounds that to do so would violate her constitutional right against self-incrimination.
With a crush of cameras whirring in the hearing room, and one lawmaker snapping pictures with his cellphone, the 33-year-old Ms. Goodling took her seat in the witness chair for five hours of testimony that brought Congress little closer to understanding the administration’s motives for the dismissals.
“There remains basic unanswered questions about how and why the termination list was created, how it was compiled, how it was revised and how it was finalized,” Representative John Conyers Jr., the Michigan Democrat who serves as the committee chairman, said at the close of the hearing.
Sitting alone at the witness table wearing a navy blue suit, with her hands folded neatly in her lap, Ms. Goodling’s soft-spoken, careful and often deferential answers seemed to clash with descriptions of her as an abrasive conservative at the Justice Department.
Ms. Goodling, a lawyer, arrived there in 2002 after working for the Republican National Committee as an opposition researcher, but with no experience as a prosecutor. She moved up rapidly from a job as a junior aide in the press office to the attorney general’s staff with authority over hiring and promotions throughout the department.
Her dedication was valued by some political appointees allied with the Bush White House. But some lawyers in the civil service ranks reviled her as an ideologically driven aide who circumvented experienced prosecutors to carry out the administration’s political agenda.
Ms. Goodling appeared to contradict Mr. Gonzales’s testimony to the committee this month in which he said he had not spoken to his senior aides since the firings “to protect the integrity of this investigation.”
During a meeting in March before she resigned, Ms. Goodling said, Mr. Gonzales asked her questions that left her uncomfortable. She thought he might be trying to compare recollections, so their stories would be consistent if they were questioned about their actions, she said. “I just thought maybe we shouldn’t have that conversation,” she said.
Brian J. Roehrkasse, a Justice Department spokesman, said in a statement that Mr. Gonzales “has never attempted to influence or shape the testimony or public statements of any witness in this matter, including Ms. Goodling. The statements made by the attorney general during this meeting were intended only to comfort her in a very difficult period.”
Ms. Goodling also accused Paul J. McNulty, the outgoing deputy attorney general, of misleading Congress when he testified on Feb. 6 to a Senate panel. Specifically, she said Mr. McNulty knew more details about the White House involvement in the firings than he acknowledged in his testimony.
“I believe he was not fully candid,” she said.
Later, Mr. McNulty sharply denied her assertions. “I testified truthfully at the Feb. 6, 2007, hearing based on what I knew at that time,” he said in a statement. “Ms. Goodling’s characterization of my testimony is wrong and not supported by the extensive record of documents and testimony already provided to Congress.”
To show support for the beleaguered Mr. Gonzales, Republican lawmakers embraced Ms. Goodling on Wednesday as a sympathetic witness. Several praised her testimony and said it proved that the investigation into the dismissals led by Democrats was not justified.
“It seems to me that with this fishing expedition there ain’t no fish in the water, and we’ve spent an awful lot of time and an awful lot of money finding that out,” said Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Republican of Wisconsin.
Ms. Goodling acknowledged repeatedly that she had improperly sought to gauge the political leanings of applicants when she reviewed résumés for nonpartisan jobs or promotions, including posts as assistant United States attorneys and immigration judges or for temporary assignments at Justice headquarters.
She said she had done Google or Nexis searches on job candidates or searched their names on campaign-finance databases to see if they might have given money to Republican or Democratic candidates. She also pressed applicants’ references, at times, to ferret out the political background of the job candidates they were endorsing.
“There were times I crossed the line probably in my reference calls” by asking political questions, Ms. Goodling told the committee.
Political factors are routinely considered for some jobs at the Justice Department, like United States attorneys or senior posts, like the heads of the litigating divisions.
But civil service rules prohibit such questions when federal agencies are hiring or promoting staff members for career positions. Violations could be unlawful, although probably not a crime, Justice Department officials have said. Two internal investigative units have begun an inquiry into Ms. Goodling’s screening practices.
She told lawmakers that she could not be precise about how many hiring decisions were influenced by inappropriate political considerations, though at one point she said it probably involved fewer than 50 jobs.
She provided details on only one case, an applicant for a position as assistant United States attorney in the District of Columbia. She blocked the hiring of Seth Adam Meinero after determining the candidate was a Democrat. “I think that when I did look at that résumé, I made a snap judgment, and I regret it,” she said.
She was ultimately bypassed and Mr. Meinero was hired, Justice officials have said.
Ms Goodling tried to play down her role in the decision making process related to the dismissals of the nine United States attorneys last year, saying her primary contribution was to compile complaints or praise about prosecutors that had been raised by others — not to recommend anyone for firing on her own.
Democrats, clearly frustrated that her appearance did not provide a window into the White House and whether it had political motivations for the firings of the prosecutors, said they would push on in their effort to answer those questions.
Congress has asked for Mr. Rove and Ms. Miers to testify, but the White House has demanded conditions that Democrats are unwilling to accept.
“The only way we can get to the full truth is if Mr. Karl Rove is sitting in the very same seat that you’re sitting in and he needs to be here, and he needs to be here posthaste,” said Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee, Democrat of Texas.
April 19, 2007
GONZALES REJECTS CALL FOR HIS OUSTER
By LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press Writer
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales confronted a fresh call for his resignation from a fellow Republican Thursday as he struggled to survive a bipartisan Senate challenge to his credibility in the case of eight fired prosecutors.
"The best way to put this behind us is your resignation," Sen. Tom Coburn (news, bio, voting record) bluntly told Gonzales, one GOP conservative to another.
Gonzales disagreed and told the Oklahoma senator he didn't know that his departure would put the controversy to rest.
The exchange punctuated a long day in the witness chair at a Senate hearing for the attorney general, who doggedly advanced a careful, lawyerly defense of the dismissals of the prosecutors. He readily admitted mistakes, yet told lawmakers he had "never sought to deceive them," and added he would make the same firings decision again.
"At the end of the day I know I did not do anything improper," he said.
Gonzales sat alone at the witness table in a crowded room for the widely anticipated hearing. There was no doubt about the stakes involved for a member of President Bush's inner circle, and support from fellow Republicans was critical to his attempt to hold his job.
"The moment I believe I can no longer be effective I will resign as attorney general," Gonzales said after first making it clear he did not believe it had come to that.
The White House offered support. Spokeswoman Dana Perino told reporters, "I think the president has full confidence" in his attorney general.
Struggling to save his credibility and perhaps his job, Gonzales testified at least 45 times — before lunch — that he could not recall events he was asked about.
After a long morning in the witness chair, he returned to face fresh Republican challenges to his credibility. "Why is your story changing?" asked Sen. Charles Grassley (news, bio, voting record) of Iowa, noting that the attorney general was now accepting responsibility for the firings after initially saying he had played only a minor role.
In response, Gonzales replied that his earlier answers had been "overbroad" and the result of inadequate preparation.
The process that led to the firings "should have been more rigorous," he added, although he repeatedly defended the decisions themselves.
Moments later, Coburn delivered his verdict. He said the firing issue was "handled incompetently. The communication was atrocious. It's generous to say there were misstatements."
Democrats, too, bored in.
"Since you apparently knew very little about the performance about the replaced United States attorneys, how can you testify that the judgment ought to stand?" asked Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., asked Gonzales whether he had reviewed the evaluation records of the dismissed prosecutors, who Justice Department officials initially said had been fired for inadequate performance. He said he had not.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., questioned Gonzales sharply over his insistence that one former prosecutor, Carol Lam of California, had been told of Justice Department concerns with her record on immigration violations. The senator said Lam had testified to the contrary.
But given Gonzales' political need for Republican support, the line of questioning from several GOP lawmakers was ominous.
"We have to evaluate whether you are really being forthright," Sen. Arlen Specter bluntly informed the nation's chief law enforcement officer.
The Pennsylvania Republican said Gonzales' description of his role in the firings was "significantly if not totally at variance with the facts."
"Most of this is a stretch," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said after listening to Gonzales' explanation of the dismissals. "It's clear to me that some of these people just had personality conflicts with people in your office or the White House and (they) just made up reasons to fire them."
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said he was concerned about Gonzales' inability to recall a meeting he attended last November when the firings were discussed.
The attorney general began his turn as a witness after a tongue-lashing from Sen. Patrick Leahy, the committee's chairman.
"Today the Department of Justice is experiencing a crisis of leadership perhaps unrivaled during its 137-year history," said the Vermont Democrat. "There's a growing scandal swirling around the dismissal" of prosecutors, he added.
The hearing room was filled as Gonzales slid into the witness chair at midmorning. Protesters wearing orange garb and pink police costumes were among the spectators. The words "Arrest Gonzales" were duct-taped to their backs.
Gonzales has provided differing versions of the events surrounding the firings, first saying he had almost no involvement and later acknowledging that his role was larger — but only after e-mails about meetings he attended were released by the Justice Department to House and Senate committees.
Urged in advance by Republicans to clear up any inconsistencies, Gonzales spoke at times in careful, lawyerly terms.
"I now understand there was a conversation with myself and the president," he said at one point.
Democrats have stoked the controversy over the dismissals, suggesting there were political considerations. But the first several hours of the hearing produced few if any fresh details.
Gonzales acknowledged speaking with Bush and White House adviser Karl Rove about complaints over election fraud cases in New Mexico, where David Iglesias was the U.S. attorney.
The conversation with Bush occurred on Oct. 11, Gonzales said. Iglesias' name was added to the list of those to be fired between Oct. 17 and Nov. 15 — a week after the November elections.
On the Net: Senate Judiciary Committee: http://judiciary.senate.gov
April 17, 2007
Ex-Aide Says Gonzales
By DAVID JOHNSTON, New York Times
WASHINGTON, April 16 — The former top aide to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales has told Congressional investigators that Mr. Gonzales was “inaccurate,” or “at least not complete” in asserting that he had no role in the deliberations about individual United States attorneys who were later dismissed, a Democratic senator said Monday.
The statements by D. Kyle Sampson, the former chief of staff to Mr. Gonzales, during an interview with investigators on Sunday, were made public as the Senate Judiciary Committee postponed a hearing that had been scheduled for Tuesday in which Mr. Gonzales was to appear to defend his actions in the dismissals.
Senator Patrick J. Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who is the committee’s chairman, and Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, its senior Republican, delayed the hearing until Thursday because of the shooting rampage at Virginia Tech.
In his interview, Mr. Sampson said under oath that Mr. Gonzales took part in discussions last fall about David C. Iglesias, who was removed as the United States attorney in New Mexico, as well as in a June 2006 meeting that addressed concerns about Carol C. Lam, the United States attorney ousted from her job in San Diego, said Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York. Mr. Sampson made similar statements in public testimony to the Judiciary Committee on March 29, but appeared to offer more specifics in the interview.
Mr. Schumer, who has led the Senate inquiry into the Justice Department’s ouster of eight federal prosecutors, said that Mr. Sampson’s testimony raised new questions about the accuracy of Mr. Gonzales’s previous statements, most recently in testimony released Sunday in advance of the Senate hearing, that he had not taken part in deliberations about individual prosecutors designated for removal.
Mr. Gonzales said in an interview with NBC News on March 26 that he did not recall a White House meeting held in the fall. White House officials confirmed the meeting and that President Bush raised concerns at it about a lack of aggressive voter-fraud investigations in three states, including New Mexico.
“I don’t remember that conversation,” Mr. Gonzales said in the NBC interview. “During the process there may have been other conversations about specifically about the performance of U.S. attorneys. But I wasn’t involved in the deliberations as to whether or not a particular United States attorney should or should not be asked to resign.”
Mr. Schumer said Monday that Mr. Sampson recalled that in early March, Mr. Gonzales had told him about the White House conversation — the first time, Mr. Sampson said, that he learned of the president’s concern. Mr. Sampson’s lawyer, Bradford A. Berenson, declined to comment on the interview.
According to Mr. Schumer, Mr. Sampson said he believed Mr. Gonzales had attended a June 2006 meeting in which Ms. Lam’s removal was discussed. Another official, William W. Mercer, the acting associate attorney general, recalled with greater certainty that Mr. Gonzales was at the meeting, Mr. Schumer said.
A Justice Department spokesman, Brian Roehrkasse, said there was nothing new in the information Mr. Schumer attributed to Mr. Sampson. He said that Mr. Gonzales’s role in discussions about Mr. Iglesias and Ms. Lam had been previously disclosed; that Mr. Gonzales’ statements about his lack of recollection about the White House meeting were accurate; and that his accounts of it to Mr. Sampson and others were based on what others had told him, not on his own memory.
The House Judiciary Committee also moved Monday to expand its investigation, notifying the Justice Department that it was seeking to interview the current United States attorneys from Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
One House official said the committee wanted to learn about the February 2006 appointment of Rachel K. Paulose as the United States attorney in Minnesota, particularly the reasons for her move from a post at the department’s headquarters.
April 13, 2007
E-Mail Listed Possible G.O.P. Replacements for Attorneys
By DAVID JOHNSTON and ERIC LIPTON, New York Times
WASHINGTON — A Justice Department e-mail message released on Friday shows that the former chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales proposed replacement candidates for United States attorneys nearly a year before they were dismissed in December 2006. The department has repeatedly stated that no successors were selected before the dismissals.
The Jan. 9, 2006, e-mail message, written by D. Kyle Sampson, who resigned last month as the top aide to Mr. Gonzales, identified five Bush administration officials, most of them Justice Department employees, whose names were sent to the White House for consideration as possible replacements for prosecutors slated for dismissal.
The e-mail message and several related documents provide the first evidence that Mr. Sampson, the Justice Department official in charge of the dismissals, had focused on who would succeed the ousted prosecutors. Justice officials have repeatedly said that seven of the eight prosecutors were removed without regard to who might succeed them.
Some of the new documents show the department’s acute awareness of individual United States attorneys’ political and ideological views. An undated spreadsheet attached to a Feb. 12, 2007, e-mail message listed the federal prosecutors who had served under President Bush along with their past work experience.
The chart included a category for Republican Party and campaign work, showing who had been a delegate to a Republican convention or had managed a Republican political campaign. The chart had a separate category indicating who among the prosecutors was a member of the Federalist Society, a Washington-based association that serves as a talent pool for young conservatives seeking appointments in Republican administrations.
Taken together, Democrats asserted, the e-mail supported their contention that the ousted prosecutors were dismissed to make room for favored candidates who were chosen on the basis of their political qualifications as much as prosecutorial experience.
The latest collection of documents, the sixth batch produced by the Justice Department in recent weeks, also cast further light on the frantic scramble by the Bush administration since January to contain the public relations damage caused by the ouster of the eight.
The electronic messages, some written as recently as last month, offer a rare and almost contemporaneous account of the tactics used by a sitting administration trying to manage a political firestorm.
One e-mail message shows the White House urging the Justice Department to call Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, to give him information about the placement of J. Timothy Griffin, a former aide to Karl Rove, as the interim United States attorney in Arkansas.
“WH political reached out to Sen. Sessions and requested that he ask helpful questions to make clear that Tim Griffin is qualified to serve,” said a January 2007 e-mail message from Monica Goodling, a former senior aide to Mr. Gonzales, to other department officials. “Here are the talkers on Griffin, as well as a narrative that can be used by staff, and his résumé. I think it would actually be helpful for all of the Rs to have it.”
It was not clear whether the “talkers," shorthand for talking points, were sent to Mr. Sessions and other “Rs,” or Republicans. But Mr. Sessions, in a later hearing on the matter, ran through all of the highlights, praising Mr. Griffin’s résumé, just as the White House and Justice had apparently requested.
Other documents show that Ms. Goodling, the Justice Department’s liaison to the White House, prepared a list of reasons in February to explain publicly why the prosecutors had been ousted.
Notes in handwriting identified by a Justice official as Ms. Goodling’s run quickly through a list of alleged transgressions by the fired prosecutors, like “incredibly fractured office, morale low, lost confidence of her subordinates and superiors,” in describing Margaret Chiara, the former United States attorney from Western Michigan who disputes the claims.
In the case of David Iglesias, who was dismissed as the top federal prosecutor in New Mexico, Ms. Goodling writes of a complaint from Senator Pete V. Domenici of New Mexico, a Republican: “Domenici says he doesn’t move cases.”
The e-mail was among more than 2,000 pages of documents released by the Justice Department as part of a continuing outpouring of more than 6,000 pages of e-mail and other internal records produced in the last month in response to requests by House and Senate committees as the furor over the dismissals has grown. Mr. Gonzales is scheduled to appear on Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The Justice Department said that Mr. Sampson’s e-mail message did not contradict either his sworn testimony or the department’s past statements. Brian Roehrkasse, a spokesman for the department, said: “We have consistently stated that, with the exception of Griffin, individuals were not pre-selected for any of the eight U.S. attorney positions prior to asking the U. S. attorneys to resign. The list made public today had previously been shared privately with Congress, and it in no way contradicts the department’s prior statement. The list, drafted 10 months before the December resignations, reflects Kyle Sampson’s initial thoughts, not pre-selected candidates by the administration.”
Mr. Sampson’s lawyer, Bradford Berenson, also denied that the message contradicted Mr. Sampson’s testimony. “Kyle’s testimony regarding the consideration of replacements was entirely accurate,” Mr. Berenson said. “In December 2006, when the seven U.S. attorneys were asked to step down, no specific candidate had been selected to replace any of them, and Kyle had none in mind. Some names had been tentatively suggested for discussion much earlier in the process, but by the time the decision to ask for the resignations was made none had been chosen to serve as a replacement.”
The possible replacements selected by Mr. Sampson — with the exception of Mr. Griffin — never materialized, at least in part because the controversy regarding the ousters has pushed aside consideration of who will fill the vacancies. But it is clear from actions taken over the last two years that Justice officials had placed lawyers from department headquarters, who were known to be loyal to Mr. Gonzales and President Bush, into open posts.
The Jan. 9, 2006, e-mail message was sent by Mr. Sampson to Harriet E. Miers, the former White House counsel, and William Kelley, another White House lawyer. In the e-mail, Mr. Sampson proposed the dismissal of a total of seven United States attorneys and named at least one replacement candidate for each prospective vacancy.
Because of deletions in the e-mail copies turned over to Congress, the document discloses only the names of four United States attorneys slated for removal and five of their possible successors. The names of the replacement candidates, in most cases, are followed by a question mark, suggesting that Mr. Sampson might have been uncertain about them.
The United States attorneys identified for removal are four who were ultimately dismissed: Ms. Chiara in Michigan, Kevin Ryan in San Francisco, Carol C. Lam in San Diego and Mr. Cummins in Arkansas. Justice Department officials have acknowledged that Mr. Cummins was an able prosecutor who was removed solely to make room for Mr. Griffin, a former aide to Mr. Rove, the White House senior political adviser who was appointed to the job on a temporary basis.
“Please treat this as confidential,” Mr. Sampson wrote in the message. He concluded, “If a decision is made to remove and replace a limited number of U.S. attorneys, then the following might be considered for removal and possible replacement.”
Mr. Sampson testified under oath on March 29 at a hearing of Senate Judiciary Committee that he had no candidates in mind to replace any of the fired prosecutors. In his prepared statement, he said that “none of the U.S. attorneys was asked to resign in favor of a particular individual who had already been identified to take the vacant spot.”
At one point in the hearing, Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, asked Mr. Sampson, “Did you or did you not have in mind specific replacements for the dismissed U.S. attorneys before they were asked to resign on Dec. 7, 2006.”
Mr. Sampson, testifying under oath, replied: “I personally did not.”
Neil A. Lewis and Scott Shane contributed reporting.
April 5, 2007
Gonzales Prepares to Fight for
His Job in Testimony
By Dan Eggen and Paul Kane, Washington Post
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales has retreated from public view this week in an intensive effort to save his job, spending hours practicing testimony and phoning lawmakers for support in preparation for pivotal appearances in the Senate this month, according to administration officials.
After struggling for weeks to explain the extent of his involvement in the firings of eight U.S. attorneys, Gonzales and his aides are viewing the Senate testimony on April 12 and April 17 as seriously as if it were a confirmation proceeding for a Supreme Court or a Cabinet appointment, officials said.
Ed Gillespie, a former Republican National Committee chairman, and Timothy E. Flanigan, who worked for Gonzales at the White House, have met with the attorney general to plot strategy. The department has scheduled three days of rigorous mock testimony sessions next week and Gonzales has placed phone calls to more than a dozen GOP lawmakers seeking support, officials said.
Gonzales is seeking to convince skeptical lawmakers that he can be trusted to command the Justice Department after the prosecutor firings, which he initially described as an "overblown personnel matter." Subsequent documents and testimony from his former chief of staff have shown that Gonzales was regularly briefed on the process, revelations that have led to calls for his resignation.
Justice officials and outside experts said the effort is further hampered by legal conflicts among Gonzales and his senior aides. Top Democrats have also accused department officials of misleading Congress in previous testimony, leading Justice lawyers to insist on limiting contact between key players to avoid allegations of obstructing a congressional investigation, officials said.
As a result, Gonzales and senior Justice lawyers have so far received little assistance from the White House and cannot consult with some of his closest aides, including Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty, officials said.
"We are hampered because some senior officials are not able to discuss the facts as they know them in the same room, for fears of additional accusations of misleading Congress," said one Justice official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) sent a letter to Gonzales on Tuesday, asking for "appropriate firewalls" between potential witnesses involved in the firings.
"Our question to you is: Who do we talk to at the Department of Justice?" Leahy and Whitehouse wrote. "The office of the Attorney General appears to be hopelessly conflicted."
Several central players in the prosecutor saga are out of the Justice Department building altogether. They include Gonzales's former chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson, who resigned last month, and senior counselor Monica M. Goodling, who is on indefinite leave and who yesterday reiterated her refusal to answer questions from Congress. Michael J. Elston, McNulty's chief of staff, also began a scheduled personal leave this week after submitting to six hours of congressional interviews last Friday, officials said.
"In a sense, this is even more difficult than a confirmation hearing, because you are defending a record that has been assailed publicly and it involves other members of Justice who are also going to be called," said former senator Daniel R. Coats (R-Ind.), who led confirmation preparations for Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. and former White House counsel Harriet E. Miers.
"It just compounds the difficulty facing any witness in this situation," Coats said. "You don't have the ability to coordinate with other organizations or individuals that are going to be testifying, and there will be a lot of people looking for inconsistencies. It is no small challenge for the attorney general."
Gonzales is getting little support from Republicans in Congress, according to several GOP aides. Gonzales is scheduled to testify next Thursday before the Senate Appropriations Committee on budget matters, and then on April 17 at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing focused on the prosecutor firings.
Aides said the tenor has been set on the GOP side by Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), the ranking Republican on the judiciary panel. Specter has told Gonzales in private that he should consider beginning his testimony with an apology.
In previous confirmation hearings -- including those for Gonzales in January 2005 and Alito and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. since then -- the White House, the Justice Department and Judiciary Committee Republicans closely coordinated their efforts.
In the case of Roberts, Specter's chief counsel, Michael O'Neill, attended one of the mock testimony sessions known as "murder boards," according to a former GOP committee staffer, who requested anonymity to speak freely about internal panel activities. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) was in attendance to watch a similar session with Alito.
Gillespie, now head of the Virginia GOP, and Flanigan, who pulled out of contention in 2005 as Gonzales's pick for deputy attorney general, did not return telephone calls seeking comment on their recent discussions with him.
After traveling around the country much of last week in an attempt to shore up fractured relations with U.S. attorneys, Gonzales has spent this week sequestered in his fifth-floor office suite, poring over thousands of pages of documents related to his upcoming testimony. He canceled tentative plans for a family vacation this week to focus on the hearings, officials said.
"The attorney general is very focused and is spending extensive time preparing this week to testify before Congress," spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said.
Top Democrats have focused in recent days on escalating their demands for testimony from Goodling, Gonzales's senior counselor and White House liaison. She has told Congress that she will assert her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in refusing to answer questions about the firings.
Leahy and Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, have questioned whether Goodling is attempting to hide criminal activity by refusing to answer questions.
Goodling's attorneys, John M. Dowd and Jeffrey King, responded in a letter yesterday that such allegations "are unfortunately reminiscent of Senator Joseph McCarthy, who infamously labeled those who asserted their constitutional right to remain silent before his committee 'Fifth Amendment Communists.' "
* * * * *
View continuing Washington Post coverage of the 2006 firings of eight U.S. attorneys.
Documents Released by DOJ and Congress
* * * * *
March 20, 2007
Subject: AGENTS: BUSH OBSTRUCTED JUSTICE OVER FIRINGS
FIRINGS: Foggo sex ring probe linked to
forged Iraq dossier, Israeli espionage,
convicted lobbyist Abramoff
According to U.S. intelligence sources, President Bush obstructed justice last December when he had senior advisor Karl Rove and White House Counsel Harriet Miers instruct Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez to fire eight U.S. attorneys who were among several others conducting ongoing public corruption and secret national security grand jury investigations connected to an espionage–linked prostitution / pedophile sex ring operating at the Washington Ritz-Carlton and other DC hotels, whose clients included U.S. senators and congressmen, elite Washington news reporters and high government officials—some of whom were named by an intelligence insider.
Central to the scandal is fired U.S. attorney Carole Lam of California who was reportedly conducting testimony before grand juries linking indicted former Bush CIA Executive Director Kyle “Dusty” Foggo and convicted Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff to the sex ring, Israeli espionage, GOP Under Secretary of Defense for policy Douglas J. Feith, a forged British intelligence dossier used by Mr. Bush to deceive Americans into supporting war against Iraq and an attempt to plant weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq before the war via an intelligence pipeline through Dubai and Turkey.
During her House testimony before Democrat Chairman Henry Waxman’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last Friday, “national security” concerns were given as the reason for prohibiting covert CIA operative Valerie Plame-Wilson from revealing that her CIA energy front company Brewster-Jennings had prevented the planting of WMD in Iraq by the White House-linked intelligence pipeline, resulting in the forged British dossier being used for building an artificial case for war against Iraq.
Some more recent sightings of interest...
March 19, 2007
Bush Hit-Woman Behind Prosecutor Firings Has Long History of Purges to Protect Bush
Harriet Miers fired investigator in 1997
to cover Bush draft-dodge
by Greg Palast,
from the original reports for BBC Television and the Guardian (UK)
The Mister Big behind the scandal of George Bush’s firing of US Attorneys is not a ‘mister’ at all. The House Judiciary Committee has released White House emails indicating that the political operative who ordered the hit on prosecutors too honest for their own good was Harriet Miers, one-time legal counsel to the President.
But this is not the first time that Miers has fired investigators to protect Mr. Bush.
In 1999, while investigating Governor George Bush of Texas for the Guardian papers of Britain, I obtained an extraordinary, and extraordinarily confidential, memo to the US Attorney’s office in Austin. It disclosed that, in 1997, Governor Bush secretly suggested to the chairwoman of the Texas Lottery Commission that she grant a contract to the client of a Bush ally.
The Governor’s back-door demand to the Lottery chairwoman was not so easy. Bush wanted the Lottery to grant a multi-billion dollar contract to GTech Corporation. But GTech hadn’t even bid on the contract - and a winner was already announced.
There was only way for the Chairwoman to carry out the fix: fire the director of the Lottery who had discouraged GTech from bidding because of its history of corruption.
The Chairwoman, Harriet Miers, did the deed: fired the Lottery director; Miers then ignored the winning bid — and gave Bush’s favored company the contract, no bidding, in perpetuity.
Miers and the Draft
Neither Miers nor President Bush have ever denied the contents of the memo [I’ve posted it here] despite repeated requests from the Guardian and BBC Television.
Bush’s attempt to appoint Hit-woman Harriet to the US Supreme Court in 2005 surprised many. Not me. Miers, personal and governmental lawyer for George Bush, had quite a file on her boss, and he must have been grateful for her discretion.
Most crucially, she knew why Bush so desperately needed to give GTech the lottery contract. The heart of the matter was the then-successful cover-up of the Bush family’s using its influence to get young George Bush into the Texas Air National Guard and out of the Vietnam war draft.
The memo to the US Attorney reads:
“Governor Bush thru [name withheld] made a deal with Ben Barnes not to rebid because Barnes could confirm that Bush had lied during the ‘94 campaign [for governor of Texas]. Bush was asked if his father … had helped him get in the National Guard Bush said no he had not, but the fact is his dad call then-Lt. Gov. [Ben] Barnes ….”
Lt. Governor Barnes, through a cut-out, called the Texas Air Guard commander and got Bush into the ‘top gun’ seat and out of the war.
You may recall that in 2004, years after we reported this story in Britain, Barnes confessed to the draft-dodge fix on 60 Minutes. [That was the report that brought down Dan Rather; but the Barnes confession was never challenged.]
What 60 Minutes missed is the creepy Miers involvement. Barnes, after he left the post of Lt. Governor, became a lobbyist — for GTech, the lottery company. By using his influence to get and keep the lottery contract for GTech, Barnes picked up quite a nice fee: over $23 million. With those millions in his pocket, Barnes kept a happy and lucrative silence about his saving little George Bush from the draft.
According to the memo from the US Attorney’s office, Barnes met with Bush about GTech and the lottery. Then,“The Governor talked to the chair of the lottery [Miers] two days later and she then agreed to support letting GTech keep the contract without a bid.”
Note something else here: this information was sitting in the hands of the US Attorney. Yet, no action was taken in 1997 though we now know that, from Barnes’ confession in 2004, the accusation about his putting in the fix for young George Bush is true.
An insider told BBC TV that the US Attorney’s office and Justice Department, though under Democratic control, never acted because they discovered that Barnes, a Democrat, had not only manipulated the system to get George Bush into the Texas Air Guard, Barnes did the same for the sons of Democratic big wigs including Congressman (later Senator) Lloyd Bentsen and Governor John Connolly.
In other words, control over a US Attorney and what is called their “prosecutorial discretion” is worth its weight in gold to politicians. They can provide protection for cronies and exact punishment on enemies. And no one knows that better than “Justice” Harriet Miers and her boss, fighter pilot George W. Bush.
This report is adapted from Greg Palast’s New York Times bestselling book, ARMED MADHOUSE: From Baghdad to New Orleans — Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild.
New edition to be released April 24...
For more information on Miers and clips of the BBC Television reports, go to:
March 16, 2007
Rove Joins Gonzales as a Target
By Massimo Calabresi/Washington
The new e-mails showing Karl Rove's early involvement in the decision-making over the firing of U.S. attorneys are inconclusive on the central question underlying the dismissals: did President Bush or his top advisers put their own political interests ahead of the public interest?
But on Capitol Hill, where ill-will toward the White House is growing by the day, lawmakers are more interested in learning who, if anyone, lied to Congress — and these e-mails will only further raise suspicions and keep investigators digging.
The e-mails show Rove was involved early on in figuring out which and how many U.S. attorneys would be fired. A Jan. 6, 2005, e-mail from one White House lawyer to another states that Rove wanted to know "how [they] planned to proceed regarding U.S. Attorneys, whether we were going to allow all to stay, request resignations from all and accept only some of them, or selectively replace them, etc."
It's impossible to tell from this e-mail what position Rove took on the issue, only that he was interested in finding out what the plan was. But it does appear to fly in the face of White House attempts to distance top Administration officials from the firings. On Tuesday press secretary Tony Snow played down Rove's involvement in the early handling of the U.S. attorney firings and told reporters traveling with Bush that Rove had "expressed disagreement" with a proposal by then White House counsel Harriet Miers around the same time to fire all 93 of them. Deputy spokesman Tony Fratto insisted the White House has not been trying to distance Rove from the matter. "Karl recalls that Harriet raised it with him and he thought it was a bad idea and said so," Fratto said. "Nothing in this e-mail that was released contradicts that in any way."
The e-mails have come as Senators are grilling the White House for other details of its involvement in the firings. In a letter sent to President Bush Wednesday, Senator Charles Schumer cited a Feb. 23, 2007, letter from the Justice Department saying that "it was not aware of anyone lobbying" for the appointment of Tim Griffin as U.S. Attorney in Arkansas.
Schumer then referred to a Dec. 19, 2006 e-mail by former Justice Department chief of staff Kyle Sampson saying that getting Griffin "appointed was important to Harriet, Karl, etc." Schumer asked Bush to "explain any involvement of Karl Rove or members of his staff in the decision to request the resignation" of the U.S. attorney Griffin was to replace.
Sampson, who resigned as chief of staff Monday, is the focus of much attention on the Hill. But the person most squarely in Congress's cross hairs is Sampson's former boss, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. On Tuesday, Bush said Gonzales "has got work to do up there," pacifying lawmakers, and though some read that as a possible prelude to Gonzales' forced resignation, most Administration watchers doubt the President would ever pull the plug himself on a Texas loyalist such as the Attorney General, who has been with Bush for years.
Whether or not he would accept Gonzales' resignation is another matter, and Gonzales is in enough trouble on the Hill that he may have to proffer it. Two Republican Senators are already on record calling for him to step down. And his disfavor is far more widespread. One senior G.O.P. aide calls Gonzales, "by objective measures a crony," and says, "We want it over." Minority Whip Trent Lott thinks Gonzales should stay, but says, "It's not good and the Democrats will poke at it for all it's worth."...
Gonzales may also be suffering from what the aide calls "Rummy rub-off." Senators who stood up loud and clear to defend Rumsfeld before the '06 election, only to have Bush fire him immediately afterwards, have learned their lesson. Few want to take the political hit defending someone they don't like, only to see him step down in a few days or weeks.
Rove will find himself receiving further scrutiny from the Hill in coming weeks. On Tuesday, Senators Patrick Leahy and Arlen Specter, the top Democrat and Republican on the Senate judiciary committee, sent him a letter asking him to make himself available for interviews and testimony before the committee. Yesterday the committee notched up the pressure on him, making clear it intended to authorize subpoena power against him next week.
IMPORTANT NEWS UPDATE ABOUT THIS WEBSITE!
On March 13, 2007, United States District Judge David Alan Ezra
signed an Order Directing Yahoo! Small Business Hosting
to Terminate and Close Down this Website!
You can read the Order, and the Notice to Yahoo! at:
You can read more about the WHO’s and the WHY’s of this case at:
(More to Come...maybe.)
March 17, 2007
Controversial judge gets OK
Lobbying helps confirmation of Glenn Kim
By Richard Borreca, Star-Bulletin
The state has two new judges now that the Senate confirmed Mark Recktenwald as chief judge of the Intermediate Court of Appeals and Glenn Kim to the Oahu Circuit Court.
Kim survived a 16-9 vote with both Sen. Clayton Hee, Judiciary Committee chairman, and Senate President Colleen Hanabusa voting against the 14-year veteran deputy city prosecutor.
Kim's nomination became controversial after two former deputy prosecutors said Kim was abusive and disrespectful.
Although Kim had the support of Honolulu Prosecutor Peter Carlisle and Gov. Linda Lingle, Hee said he had doubts about Kim's judicial temperament.
In 2004 the Senate rejected Ted Hong as a Big Island Circuit Court judge on a 13-12 vote, after saying that he also lacked proper judicial temperament.
In the Hong case, however, the Hawaii Bar Association had given him a negative recommendation. Kim was rated qualified by the legal group.
Recktenwald, a former deputy federal attorney and the current state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs director, was confirmed without opposition.
Recktenwald takes over from James Burns as chief judge of the Intermediate Court of Appeals, the state's second-highest court.
Lobbying helps confirmation
Sen. Clayton Hee says it was his toughest decision, recommending the rejection of deputy city prosecutor Glenn Kim as a Circuit Court judge.
But for Republican Gov. Linda Lingle, it was one of her toughest fights as she maneuvered the nomination through the Senate's partisan minefield.
Hee (D, Kahuku-Kaneohe) lost his fight as the Senate voted 16-9 to confirm Kim.
"Being local, it is tough for us to be in opposition to local people," Hee said in an interview after the vote. "We have that aloha in each of us. It is hard to be different. And I have aloha for Mr. Kim."
Hee insisted that while Kim, 57, had a spectacular resume -- serving in Vietnam, winning the Bronze Star, earning two degrees from Harvard, graduating at the top of his law school class and working 14 years as a deputy Honolulu prosecutor -- his relationships with people were flawed.
Two former deputy prosecutors told Hee's Judiciary Committee that Kim was demeaning, disrespectful and abusive.
Kim told Hee that he denied those charges, which led Hee to say during a 25-minute floor speech that Kim was saying that the women were lying to the committee.
"It is for the nominee to prove his worthiness," Hee said.
But Lingle and city Prosecutor Peter Carlisle had been working their own lobbying campaigns.
Thursday evening, Lingle, Carlisle and Bob Awana, Lingle's chief of staff, went separately door to door to ask senators for their support.
At the same time, senators were getting e-mail in support of Kim. Former state Sen. Russell Blair, who was a former deputy prosecutor and had worked with Kim, e-mailed his support, even though Blair is now living in California.
"Glenn's resume is backed up by his personal qualities. He is bright, hard-working, honorable, generous and is called to public service," Blair said.
Also supporting Kim were Democrats who had not sided with Hee and Senate President Colleen Hanabusa during the Senate reorganization last year.
Former Senate President Robert Bunda, for instance, helped line up votes for Kim.
Sen. Ron Menor, who had supported Bunda in past Senate organizations, said the vote also showed that Democratic politics was changing and that senators felt free to vote against the recommendations of a committee chairman.
"This would have never happened in the past," Menor said.
Hanabusa, who voted against Kim, discounted that assertion. "The Senate has been all over the place," she said. "The votes are just the votes."
From: "GlobalCirclenet" firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2007 11:13 AM
Subject: Bush's Lawyer, Not the People's - AG Gonzales Must Go
Dear PFAW Activist,
On Tuesday, People For the American Way launched a national petition calling for the resignation or removal of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales from office. 20,000 responded immediately by signing the petition, building the core of a national movement that has been snowballing ever since!
Join the movement and help us reach 50,000 signatures by week's end - 50,000 American voices telling Congress to demand Attorney General Gonzales' resignation or removal from office!
Getting Gonzales out of office is a crucial first step in reining in the Bush administration's record of contempt for the law and the Constitution, and its resistance to oversight. This return to checks and balances is what we hoped for when Congress changed hands in November. Our leaders are finally ready to listen to the people.
Since we launched our petition, additional leaders have joined us in calling for Gonzales' resignation or removal, including Senator Harry Reid, presidential candidates John Edwards and Hillary Clinton, and Republican Senator John Sununu. We need to keep the momentum going and YOU can help.
Since we launched our petition, news reports in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and other major papers have been painting an increasingly vivid picture of how White House and Justice Department officials worked hand-in-hand to target certain U.S. Attorneys for replacement, and how there were definite political motives involved.
And since we launched our petition, Attorney General Gonzales has engaged in a P.R. campaign of excuses, admitting "mistakes" were made, but sidestepping the real issues of corruption and abuse of power. We know this is about more than "mistakes." The media knows it. Every day more and more Americans know it. And now it's up to us to get Congress to do something about it.
The time is ripe for people-powered change. Fortunately, the new majority in Congress is taking its oversight role seriously and congressional leaders are ready to listen to the people. Now's the time to speak out and DEMAND accountability.
Join PFAW's national petition to congressional leaders calling on them to pressure the resignation or removal of Attorney General Gonzales.
Laws were broken. Power was abused. And Gonzales has failed the American people as Attorney General.
Gonzales Must Go.
-- Your Allies at People For the American Way
March 12, 2007
Top Democrat Says
Gonzales Should Resign
Fallout Over Dismissal of U.S. Attorneys, FBI Snooping
By HOPE YEN , AP
WASHINGTON (March 12) - The Senate 's No. 3 Democrat said Sunday that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should resign because he is putting politics above the law. Sen. Charles Schumer cited the FBI's illegal snooping into people's private lives and the Justice Department's firing of federal prosecutors.
Schumer, D-N.Y., said Gonzales repeatedly has shown more allegiance to President Bush than to citizens' legal rights since taking his job in early 2005.
He branded Gonzales, a former White House counsel, as one of the most political attorneys general in recent history.
"Attorney General Gonzales is a nice man, but he either doesn't accept or doesn't understand that he is no longer just the president's lawyer, but has a higher obligation to the rule of law and the Constitution even when the president should not want it to be so," Schumer said.
"And so this department has been so political that I think for the sake of the nation, Attorney General Gonzales should step down," he said.
As vice chairman of the Democratic caucus, Schumer is No. 3 in the Senate leadership.
Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., a member of the Democrat-controlled Judiciary Committee, said Gonzales would be "better off" if he resigned.
"There is very little credibility in the Justice Department right now," Biden said. He cited what he said were abuses of power dating to Gonzales' tenure as White House counsel in which he advocated aggressive interrogations of suspected terrorists that pushed the boundaries of the law.
"I think Gonzales has lost the confidence of the vast majority of the American people," he said. "I think he's lost the confidence of the Congress ."
Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, the top Republican on the committee, said Gonzales' resignation was a "question for the president and the attorney general."
"I do think there have been lots of problems," said Specter, who last week suggested that a Gonzales tenure may have run its course. "Before we come to conclusions, I think we need to know more facts."
Justice spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said the attorney general had made significant strides to protect national security, increase prosecutions of sex offenders and immigration offenses and fight gang violence.
"The attorney general demonstrated decisive leadership by demanding a new level of accountability to address systematic problems in oversight over some of the FBI's national security tools," Roehrkasse said.
The lawmakers' comments come after a week in which the Justice Department found itself on the defensive over the U.S. attorneys and the FBI's misuse of a type of subpoena known as national security letters.
On Friday, Gonzales and FBI director Robert Mueller acknowledged the FBI had broken the law to secretly pry out personal information about people in the U.S. as part of its pursuit of suspected terrorists and spies.
The admission came after a blistering 126-page report by the Justice Department's inspector general that found agents improperly obtained telephone records and demanded sensitive data. The information was obtained via security letters, which are special warrants issued without judicial approval.
Under criticism by lawmakers, Gonzales also agreed to tighten the law for replacing U.S. attorneys and to let Congress hear from senior department officials with roles in the ousters.
Several U.S. attorneys allege they were unfairly dismissed without explanation after they pursued corruption probes into Republicans or declined to rush specific investigations into Democrats before last November's congressional election. Gonzales and other officials have denied the charges.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said it is the Bush administration's right to fire U.S. attorneys because they serve at the will of the president. Still, he said, the Justice Department was wrong to attack their reputations.
"I don't believe the attorney general will resign, but this whole episode was unnecessarily poorly handled," Graham said.
Over the weekend, Bush pledged an end to the FBI lapses that caused the illegal snooping but expressed confidence in the response by Mueller and Gonzales. Mueller has accepted responsibility, and both have pledged to fix problems.
Bush said that while the inspector general's report "justly made issue of FBI shortfalls, (it) also made clear that these letters were important to the security of the United States."
Lawmakers from both parties called the FBI abuses unacceptable. They noted it was Congress that demanded the inspector general review the program even as Justice Department officials were providing assurances the government's surveillance programs were being run responsibly.
In coming hearings by the Judiciary Committee, senators plan to consider whether to scale back some of the government's law enforcement powers in light of the abuses....
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< < < FLASHBACK < < <
The Potential Nomination of
Alberto Gonzales for Supreme Court
Human Rights First
Human Rights First is deeply concerned about the potential nomination of Alberto Gonzales to the Supreme Court. Based on a review of Gonzales’ record as White House Counsel and his oral and written testimony during his Attorney General confirmation hearing, Human Rights First believes Mr. Gonzales’ views on Presidential power and his role in setting improper detention and interrogation policy make him a troubling choice for the Supreme Court.
“Mr. Gonzales offered a view of executive power so expansive that it would allow the President to ignore laws passed by Congress. His recommendations as White House Counsel also opened the door to the abuse of detainees in U.S. custody,” said Michael Posner, Executive Director of Human Rights First. “This is a troubling record for a possible Supreme Court Justice.”
Human Rights First opposed the nomination of Alberto Gonzales to be Attorney General in January, the first time in its 27-year history that it has opposed a presidential cabinet nominee.
As part of the Attorney General confirmation process, Human Rights First prepared a series of materials, below, including a report, Background Papers on Alberto Gonzales, that outlined and analyzed Gonzales’ views on torture, the Geneva Conventions, military commissions, and executive power and role of the courts. The report outlines that as White House Counsel to President Bush, Gonzales:
> Approved a legal memo defining torture so narrowly so as to authorize practices such as “waterboarding,” denial of pain killer medication, simulated drowning, and threatening to transfer detainees to other countries’ interrogators.
> Advocated the position that the President has power as Commander-in-Chief to ignore laws passed by Congress, specifically arguing that applying a congressional prohibition against an act of torture ordered by the President would be unconstitutional.
> Advised the President that the “war on terror” rendered provisions of the Geneva Conventions “obsolete” and recommended that the Geneva Conventions not be applied to the conflict in Afghanistan, contradicting the recommendations of senior military advisors.
January 17, 2006
Attorney General John Ashcroft's
Ties To Jack Abramoff, Guam,
And The CNMI
Submitted by Roy Temple on Tue, 01/17/2006 - 9:57pm.
Rep. George Miller (D-California) recently wrote a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, asking him to appoint an outside counsel to investigate two instances of potential political manipulation by Justice Department officials in criminal and immigration matters concerning Guam and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and the indicted Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
For such an action to be necessary, there would have to be reason to believe that political manipulation could have taken place, and that internal Justice Department officials might have a conflict of interest.
Could either of those things possibly be true? Let's take a look and see.
Senator John Ashcroft And His Ties To Jack Abramoff
First, let's examine the ties between super-GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff and John Ashcroft.
Ashcroft's Former Legislative Director Went To Work As
A Lobbyist For Abramoff
In August of 1997, John Mashburn left his position as Legislative Director for Senator John Ashcroft and signed on to lobby for Preston Gates, where Jack Abramoff was the Government Affairs Counselor.
As soon as he was legally permitted to do so, Mashburn appeared on the lobbyist registrations for some of Abramoff's biggest clients; Future of Puerto Rico, Inc., Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.
Ashcroft, Abramoff, and Toward Tradition
In September of 1997, a then-little known group called Toward Tradition was having a conference in Washington, DC and needed a speaker. Senator John Ashcroft was only to glad to help out.
Here's how a story from the September 19. 1997 Ethnic NewsWatch explains how this happened:
How did the group, whose president is Rabbi Daniel Lapin of Mercer Island, Wash., attract such heavy (illegible). The organization relied on its chairman of the board, Jack Abramoff, a former Hollywood movie producer, who, when he's not pushing traditional Jewish values, is lobbying for liquor and gambling interests, not to mention the governments of Pakistan and Zaire.
The executive director of Toward Tradition said at the time that a letter inviting speakers to the conference went out over the names of both Mr. Abramoff and the group's president, Rabbi Daniel Lapin.
Ashcroft was one of three high profile speakers at the event.
Of course we now know, that in addition to Abramoff's role as Chairman of the Board, he also had plenty of other ties to Toward Tradition.
According to the Seattle Times:
Lobbyist Jack Abramoff funneled money through a Mercer Island religious foundation
as he tried to influence a top aide to Republican congressional leader Tom DeLay,
according to his guilty plea last week to corruption charges.
Rabbi Daniel Lapin confirmed Sunday it was his foundation, Toward Tradition, that took $50,000 from two Abramoff clients and, at Abramoff's suggestion, used it to hire the aide's wife to organize a conference for the group.
Abramoff's plea agreement characterizes the $50,000 payment to former DeLay aide Tony Rudy's wife as a bribe.
The Seattle Times story also relates how Abramoff used Toward Tradition to help in raise money in order to achieve his Pioneer status for the Bush campaign.
Lapin confirmed he urged supporters of President George W. Bush's re-election to give campaign donations through Abramoff, which helped the lobbyist gain Bush "Pioneer" status among top presidential fundraisers.
Key Ashcroft Staffer Takes Trip Paid For By Abramoff Client
In December 1997, Abramoff's client, the government of the CNMI paid for a trip for several GOP aides to visit the Mariana Islands. Among those staffers was Lori Sharpe, a Legislative Assistant in Senator John Ashcroft's office.
Also making the same trip was Leo Giacometto, then-Chief of Staff to Senator Conrad Burns. In 2003, Giacometto would return to the Islands as part of a lobbying team headed by former Ashcroft Justice Department official Juan Carlos Benitez.
The team headed by Benitez was awarded a $125,000 per month contract to lobby for the Guam Economic Development and Commerce Authority.
August 8, 2005
Bush removal ended
US attorney's demotion halted probe of lobbyist
By Walter F. Roche Jr., Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON -- A US grand jury in Guam opened an investigation of controversial lobbyist Jack Abramoff more than two years ago, but President Bush removed the supervising federal prosecutor, and the probe ended soon after.
The previously undisclosed Guam inquiry is separate from a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia that is investigating allegations that Abramoff bilked Indian tribes out of millions of dollars.
In Guam, a US territory in the Pacific, investigators were looking into Abramoff's secret arrangement with Superior Court officials to lobby against a court reform bill then pending in Congress. The legislation, since approved, gave the Guam Supreme Court authority over the Superior Court.
In 2002, Abramoff was retained by the Superior Court in what was an unusual arrangement for a public agency. The Los Angeles Times reported in May that Abramoff was paid with a series of $9,000 checks funneled through a Laguna Beach, Calif., lawyer to disguise the lobbyist's role working for the Guam court. No separate contract was authorized for Abramoff's work.
Guam court officials have never explained the contractual arrangement. At the time, Abramoff was a well-known lobbying figure in the Pacific islands because of his work for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Saipan garment manufacturers, accused of employing workers in what critics called sweatshop conditions.
Abramoff spokesman Andrew Blum said the lobbyist ''has no recollection of his being investigated in Guam in 2002. If he had been aware of an investigation, he would have cooperated fully." Blum declined to respond to detailed questions.
The transactions were the target of a grand jury subpoena issued Nov. 18, 2002, according to the subpoena. It demanded that Anthony Sanchez, administrative director of the Guam Superior Court, turn over all records involving the lobbying contract, including bills and payments.
A day later, the chief prosecutor, US Attorney Frederick A. Black, who had launched the investigation, was demoted. A White House news release announced that Bush was replacing Black.
The timing caught some by surprise. Despite his officially temporary status as the acting US attorney, Black had held the assignment for more than a decade.
The acting US attorney was a controversial official in Guam. At the time he was replaced, Black was directing a long-term investigation into allegations of public corruption in the administration of then-Governor Carl Gutierrez. The probe produced numerous indictments, including some of the governor's political associates and top aides.
Black, 56, had served as acting US attorney for Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands since 1991, when he was named to the post by the president's father, President George H. W. Bush.
The career prosecutor, who held a senior position as first assistant before accepting the acting US attorney job, was demoted to a staff post. Black's demotion came after an intensive lobbying effort by supporters of Gutierrez, who had been publicly critical of Black and his investigative efforts.
Black declined to comment for this article.
His replacement, Leonardo Rapadas, was confirmed in May 2003 without any debate. Rapadas had been recommended for the job by the Guam Republican Party. Fred Radewagen, a lobbyist who had been under contract to the Gutierrez administration, said he carried that recommendation to top Bush aide Karl Rove in early 2003.
After taking office, Rapadas recused himself from the public corruption case involving Gutierrez. The new US attorney was a cousin of ''one of the main targets," according to a confidential memo to Justice Department officials.
Rapadas declined to comment and referred questions about his recusal to Justice Department officials who did not respond to requests for comment.
December 8, 2006
"No American is above the law"
by Cynthia McKinney
Rep. McKinney's floor statement on
the impeachment of George W. Bush
~ ~ ~
I come before this body today as a proud American and as a servant of the American people, sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States.
Throughout my tenure, I’ve always tried to speak the truth. It’s that commitment that brings me here today.
We have a President who has misgoverned and a Congress that has refused to hold him accountable. It is a grave situation and I believe the stakes for our country are high.
No American is above the law, and if we allow a President to violate, at the most basic and fundamental level, the trust of the people and then continue to govern, without a process for holding him accountable — what does that say about our commitment to the truth? To the Constitution? To our democracy?
The trust of the American people has been broken. And a process must be undertaken to repair this trust. This process must begin with honesty and accountability.
Leading up to our invasion of Iraq, the American people supported this Administration’ s actions because they believed in our President. They believed he was acting in good faith.
They believed that American laws and American values would be respected. That in the weightiness of everything being considered, two values were rock solid—trust and truth.
From mushroom clouds to African yellow cake to aluminum tubes, the American people and this Congress were not presented the facts, but rather were presented a string of untruths, to justify the invasion of Iraq.
President Bush, along with Vice President Cheney and then-National Security Advisor Rice, portrayed to the Congress and to the American people that Iraq represented an imminent threat, culminating with President Bush’s claim that Iraq was six months away from developing a nuclear weapon. Having used false fear to buy consent — the President then took our country to war.
This has grave consequences for the health of our democracy, for our standing with our allies, and most of all, for the lives of our men and women in the military and their families — who have been asked to make sacrifices — including the ultimate sacrifice — to keep us safe.
Just as we expect our leaders to be truthful, we expect them to abide by the law and respect our courts and judges. Here again, the President failed the American people.
When President Bush signed an executive order authorizing unlawful spying on American citizens, he circumvented the courts, the law, and he violated the separation of powers provided by the Constitution. Once the program was revealed, he then tried to hide the scope of his offense from the American people by making contradictory, untrue statements.
President George W. Bush has failed to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States; he has failed to ensure that senior members of his administration do the same; and he has betrayed the trust of the American people.
With a heavy heart and in the deepest spirit of patriotism, I exercise my duty and responsibility to speak truthfully about what is before us. To shy away from this responsibility would be easier. But I have not been one to travel the easy road. I believe in this country, and in the power of our democracy. I feel the steely conviction of one who will not let the country I love descend into shame; for the fabric of our democracy is at stake.
Some will call this a partisan vendetta, others will say this is an unimportant distraction to the plans of the incoming Congress. But this is not about political gamesmanship.
I am not willing to put any political party before my principles.
This, instead, is about beginning the long road back to regaining the high standards of truth and democracy upon which our great country was founded.
Under the standards set by the United States Constitution, President Bush — along with Vice President Cheney, and Secretary of State Rice — should be subject to the process of impeachment, and I have filed H. Res. 1106 in the House of Representatives.
To my fellow Americans, as I leave this Congress, it is in your hands — to hold your representatives accountable, and to show those with the courage to stand for what is right, that they do not stand alone.
"Our safety, our liberty, depends upon preserving the Constitution of the United States as our Fathers made it inviolate. The people of the United States are the rightful masters of both Congress and the Courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution."
-- Abraham Lincoln
IRAQ BODY COUNT
t t t t t
National Priorities Project - Cost of War
$ $ $ $ $
A Timeline of Oil and Violence in Iraq
t t t t t
WASHINGTON D.C. PEACE MARCH
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Originally posted: December 10, 2006, by The Catbird
December 10, 2006: Originally posted on www.the-catbird-seat.net.
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