Bush ordered the bedside strong-arming of Ashcroft over surveillance program
It’s worthwhile to take a look back at one of the many dark days of the Bush Administration to remind yourself why control of the executive branch must be removed from Republican hands. You might recall the 2004 infamous bedside visit by Alberto Gonzales and Andrew Card to strong-arm John Ashcroft, who was in an intensive-care unit at the time. They wanted him to reauthorize Bush’s illegal domestic surveillance program. Ashcroft refused to sign it.
When brought before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Gonzales’s deputy James B. Comey testified:
“I was angry,” Comey testified. “I thought I just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very sick man, who did not have the powers of the attorney general because they had been transferred to me.”
He also testified that Bush called Mrs. Ashcroft and notified her that Gonzales and Card were racing to her husband’s sickbed to coerce a signature out of him. Bush later evaded the question of his involvement.
[T]here’s a lot of speculation about what happened and what didn’t happen. I’m not going to talk about it…I’m not going to move the issue forward by talking about it.”
When Gonzales was hauled before the committee, all he could muster was: “We were there on behalf of the president of the United States.”
We now know that Bush was indeed the one who “ordered the hit” — Gonzales is now signing like a canary about Dear Leader according to a piece by Murray Waas in The Atlantic.
According to people familiar with statements recently made by Gonzales to federal investigators, Gonzales is now saying that George Bush personally directed him to make that hospital visit.
… Gonzales has also told Justice Department investigators that President Bush played a more central and active role than was previously known in devising a strategy to have Congress enable the continuation of the surveillance program when questions about its legality were raised by the Justice Department, as well as devising other ways to circumvent the Justice Department’s legal concerns about the program, according to people who have read Gonzales’s interviews with investigators. The White House declined to comment for this story. An attorney for Gonzales, George J. Terwilliger III, himself a former deputy attorney general, declined to comment as well.
Although this president is famously known for rarely becoming immersed in the details—even on the issues he cares the most about—Gonzales has painted a picture of Bush as being very much involved when it came to his administration’s surveillance program.
…In portraying President Bush as directly involved in making some of the more controversial decisions about his administration’s surveillance program, Gonzales may, intentionally or unintentionally, be drawing greater legal scrutiny to the actions of President Bush and other White House officials. And what began as investigations narrowly focused on Gonzales’s conduct could easily morph into broader investigations leading into the White House, and possibly leading to the appointment of a special prosecutor.
Throw the book at all of these crooks. If the country elects John McCain it will be more of the same, perhaps even worse, since McSame’s judgment (and it’s hard to even contemplate this, given we’re talking about GWB) is not only unsound, but apparently deteriorating; he’s anger-prone and lies repeatedly. The McCainpedia lie counter for the campaign is now up to 78. Do we need more of the same?