Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has announced that he plans to hold House Judiciary Committee hearings on the Bush administration lawyers whose legal memos justified the use of torture on terrorism detainees.
Conyers’ announcement Friday follows the release of a report by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility which criticizes lawyers John Yoo and Jay Bybee for “poor judgment” but concludes that their actions did not rise to the level of professional misconduct.
As reported by the Associated Press, “The decision closes the book on one of the major lingering investigations into the counterterrorism policies of George W. Bush’s administration.”
The AP goes on to explain, “An initial review by the Justice
Department’s internal affairs unit found that former government lawyers Jay Bybee and John Yoo had committed professional misconduct, a conclusion that could have cost them their law licenses. But the Justice Department’s top career lawyer reviewed the matter and disagreed.”
Conyers, however, is not satisfied with allowing the matter to drop. He has posted a full set of documents at the Judiciary Committee website, including both preliminary drafts and the final Justice Department report, Yoo’s and Bybee’s responses, and Associate Deputy Attorney General David Margolis’s memorandum explaining why he did not feel that Yoo’s and Bybee’s actions amounted to “professional misconduct.”
“For years, those who approved torture and abuse of detainees have hidden behind legal memos issued by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel,” Conyers stated. “The materials released today make plain that those memos were legally flawed and fundamentally unsound, and may have been improperly influenced by a desire to tell the Bush White House and the CIA what it wanted to hear.”
“The Office of Legal Counsel has a proud tradition of providing independent, high quality legal advice to the executive branch,” Conyers’ statement continues. “The materials released today make clear that the lawyers who wrote the torture memos did not live up to that tradition. … Given the serious nature of the issues raised in this report, the Committee intends to hold hearings on these matters in the very near future.”
Jay Bybee is now a federal judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Last April, following the release of several memos on approved interrogation techniques, the New York Times described him in an editorial as “unfit” for the job and called for him to be impeached. The Times pointed in particular to one memo in which Bybee “wrote admiringly about a contraption for waterboarding that would lurch a prisoner upright if he stopped breathing.”
John Yoo currently teaches law at the University of California. Unlike Bybee, he has given no hint of having any regrets at the role he played, and he was recently the target of student protesters who held up a banner reading “Try Yoo for Torture” during a guest lecture he gave at Johns Hopkins University.
Stunning shift as Amy Klobuchar ‘tones things down’ after Ted Cruz rants about ‘Beavis and Butt-Head’ at IG hearing
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) loudly and angrily bashed the Federal Bureau of Investigation during his time to speak during Wednesday's hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Cruz ended his speech with two cultural references from the last century, citing fictional spy Jason Bourne who was first introduced by novelist Robert Ludlum in 1980 and Mike Judge's character's Beavis and Butt-head from the TV show of the same name that debuted in 1993.
"This wasn't Jason Bourne, this was Beavis and Butt-head," Cruz argued.
Cruz was followed by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who quickly shifted away from such a style of interrogation.
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Vice reports that the two men pitched Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev on a deal to export natural gas from the United States to Ukraine at the Trump International Hotel in Washington shortly after former American ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was recalled after being targeted with a smear campaign.
Jimmy Kimmel’s Christmas skit causes self-appointed Catholic spokesperson to have unhinged meltdown
This Tuesday, late night talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel ran a skit featuring a “charming nativity scene in Attleboro, Massachusetts,” where he got a surprise visit from his “foul-mouthed little friend 2-year-old Tommy Brady Fitzpatrick and his beautiful mother Darlene.”
But the skit didn't go over so well with Catholic League president Bill Donohue, who railed against the segment in a post to his website.
"On last night’s Jimmy Kimmel show on ABC, they did a skit about the nativity scene where they crossed the line," Donohue wrote. "Referring to the Shroud of Turin, believed to be the burial cloth of Jesus, as 'the shroud of urine,' is needlessly offensive."