Monday, March 03, 2008

Congressional Tomfoolery

According to an Associated Press story, Attorney General Michael Mukasey has refused to refer the House of Representative's contempt citations against two of President Bush's top aides to a federal grand jury because, Mr. Mukasey said, White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former presidential counsel Harriet Miers had committed no crime, which is far and away the best reason not to put something before a grand jury.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was beside herself, sniveling that “the American people demand that we uphold the law," as she announced that she has given the Judiciary Committee authority to file a lawsuit against Mr. Bolten and Ms. Miers in federal court. "As public officials, we take an oath to uphold the Constitution and protect our system of checks and balances and our civil lawsuit seeks to do just that," the Congresswoman said. Now if she would just check the law maybe she’d realize .

So what is it that has Speaker Pelosi so beside herself? Well, Mr. Bolton and Ms. Meirs had had the temerity to ignore subpoenas to provide Congress with White House documents or testify about the firings of federal prosecutors and, Lord knows, the wishes of Congressional Democrats had best not be ignored.

The facts are that, a) since Ms. Pelosi took charge of the House, it has done little more than conduct investigations, none of which have turned up anything of real substance, and b) there is no there there; it is perfectly within a president’s prerogative to relieve federal prosecutors of their duties for any reason, or for no particular reason at all. Remember, Bill Clinton fired all 93 of the DAs without so much as a yawn from the Congress, Democrats or Republicans. Yet, when George Bush lets just eight go, it requires a Congressional investigation? Do you think there may be a political motive behind this foolishness?

You may argue that the firing was handled badly or that it didn’t look too good, but the Democrats can’t make it a crime for an administration to do what it clearly is allowed to do just because they don’t personally like what it did, and they can’t waste taxpayer’s money investigating non-crimes for political purposes. And if there is any doubt that politics is behind this move, consider that Democrats want the filing of the lawsuit to occur swiftly so that a judge might rule before the November elections, when all 435 House seats and a third of the Senate are up for grabs.

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