Well, I watched some of the Gonzales hearing yesterday and what I saw was an unholy mess. This guy’s a lawyer? Really? He seemed to have no idea what he was doing there. After all, went his defense, he’s just keeping a seat warm:
- He had no idea what Sampson was doing, The “updates” he’s finally admitted to getting were, he now says, along these lines: “How’s it coming, Kyle?” “Fine. Still working on it.” End of discussion.
- He didn’t decide who went onto the list and he doesn’t know who did.
- He doesn’t know what criteria was used by whoever used it to decide who was going to be fired but he knows it wasn’t improper. Feingold: “If you don’t know what it was, how do you know it wasn’t improper?” Gonzo: “I know I didn’t do anything improper.”
- He doesn’t know who was in charge of the “process”. He thought it was Sampson. Told that everybody, including Sampson, said they weren’t, he was at a complete loss.
- He never evaluated the attorneys’ performance and he didn’t know who did or if anyone had.
- He didn’t know if a performance review had ever been done by anyone on any USA. If it had, nobody told him about it.
- He can’t remember making the decision. That is, he can remember making it but he can’t remember when or why or how.
He gave his favorite answer – “I don’t know, Senator” – more than 50 times in the morning session alone. Yet, despite insisting he knew nothing that was going on in the agency he’s supposed to be running, he claimed he was too busy in his supervisory role to supervise the firing process.
Yah gotta love these Bushies.
One came away from his testimony wondering just what the hell he did do? He seems to have delegated virtually every normal duty of the AG to inexperienced underlings and then walked away to play Pong on the computer. Or something. We don’t know what he was doing except whatever it was, it wasn’t his job.
My personal favorite was the nonsensical answer he gave to Sen Specter when he had to admit he’d looked at the complaints about Carol Lam and given Sampson instructions to “find out about it.” Asked if that wasn’t part of the firing process, he explained that he didn’t see it that way. To him, he was just exploring whether or not one of his USA’s was doing a good job and that exploration was “outside the firing process”. The answer fuddled Specter – and everybody else watching it, I suspect (except maybe Orrin Hatch) – who couldn’t see the distinction.
The late afternoon was a disaster. Sen Whitehouse had to explain the fundamentals of the DoJ to the AG, who appeared to be hearing them for the first time; Sen Grassley hammered away at the inconsistencies between his press conference and his testimony, forcing him to admit he hadn’t been “prepared”; Tom Coburn, of all people, said he should resign; Schumer, Specter, and Leahy all decided not to ask any more questions because it was clear to them, they said, that he wasn’t going to answer them; he told Sen Cardin he’d make the same decision again because despite not knowing why he’d made it in the first place, he was sure he’d done the right thing; and when Schumer said he hadn’t explained anything he’d done, he answered testily that it wasn’t his job to explain and that “the burden of proof” was on the Senators to explain why anything he’d done was improper. Schumer actually had to explain to him – very patiently, I thought – why that wasn’t the case.
It was a fucking bloodbath. And the Committee didn’t really intend it to be. It was like watching a bout between the Heavyweight Champion and an arrogant adolescent who got in the ring without training or practice or knowing the first thing about how to box. It wasn’t that the Champ was deliberately trying to cripple the kid, it was just that every blow, even the light ones, knocked him to his knees. At the end of the 2nd Round, the Champ took pity on the kid and stopped the fight before he got killed.
President Bush was pleased with the Attorney General’s testimony today. After hours of testimony in which he answered all of the Senators’ questions and provided thousands of pages of documents, he again showed that nothing improper occurred. He admitted the matter could have been handled much better, and he apologized for the disruption to the lives of the U.S. Attorneys involved, as well as for the lack of clarity in his initial responses.
The Attorney General has the full confidence of the President, and he appreciates the work he is doing at the Department of Justice to help keep our citizens safe from terrorists, our children safe from predators, our government safe from corruption, and our streets free from gang violence.
Interesting that Junior thinks Gonzo does all that when according to Gonzo, he don’t do nuthin’. More interesting is that Junior thinks yesterday went well when that’s the equivalent of thinking Iraq is going well.