Saturday, May 27, 2006
Glenn Reynolds sees lots of smoke, and I have to agree:
The Justice Department signaled to the White House this week that the nation's top three law enforcement officials would resign or face firing rather than return documents seized from a Democratic congressman's office in a bribery investigation, according to administration sources familiar with the discussions.
The possibility of resignations by Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales; his deputy, Paul J. McNulty; and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III was communicated to the White House by several Justice officials in tense negotiations over the fate of the materials taken from Rep. William J. Jefferson's office.
Assuming this report (based on anonymous sources) is true, it seems likely that this means the Jefferson investigation goes well beyond the not-entirely-newsworthy phenomenon of a corrupt Louisiana Congressman. Even if the claims of Congressional immunity are bogus -- which they are -- I can't imagine these guys threatening resignation over a run-of-the-mill corruption case. That makes me think that there are a lot of other members of Congress implicated, which perhaps also explains the rather, um, vigorous reaction from Congress.
I am a simpleton when it comes to political handicapping, but it seems to me that we may see massive turnover in the Congress this fall, at least by the standards of the computerized gerrymandering era. Whether that turnover will result in a Republican or Democratic majority I do not know, but my general feeling with regard to the Congress is that more turnover is better than less.
Smoke indeed. Ever hear the phrase about blowing smoke out one's backside? Gonzales will quit the day Bush tells him to, not before or after. Conservatives seem to have him confused with Luttig.
Besides, if you order (for the first time in the history of the republic) the search of congressional offices, you've already gone all-in. If it turns out you did it illegally, making good on your threat to quit won't be a big issue.
I’m not sure about the massive congressional turnover (in either direction, D or R), but I’m fairly confident that Representative William Jefferson (Democrat, LA) will be making a plea before a Federal Judge soon. He has a close aide convicted on bribery related charges, quite a few bribery allegations wandering around his vicinity, and the FBI supposedly has video tape of him taking a $100k bribe, along with about $90k of recovered cash traced to the bribe(Sting Operation?). It sounds like the Attorney General and his department are making every effort to nail this case down absolutely rock solid before releasing an indictment, which is a good thing. Think I’ll grab the popcorn and watch the fireworks.