Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bush and the Congress head towards a Constitutional showdown

Nasty stuff in Washington today for President Bush.

Aside from the crashing and burning of the amnesty legislation he wasp ushing so hard for, it looks he's headed for a real fistfight with Congress over executive privilege.

As you know, the Democrats in control of Congress have been feverishly searching for something, anything to hang on the president that might spell i-m-p-e-a-c-h-m-e-n-t.

The president today asserted executive privilege today and flat out rejected congressional demands for documents related to the firing of those eight federal prosecutors.

Bush's attorney told Congress the White House would not turn over subpoenaed documents for former presidential counsel Harriet Miers and former political director Sara Taylor. Congressional panels want the documents to continue their investigations of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

"With respect, it is with much regret that we are forced down this unfortunate path which we sought to avoid by finding grounds for mutual accommodation," White House counsel Fred Fielding said in a letter to the chairmen of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees. "We had hoped this matter could conclude with your committees receiving information in lieu of having to invoke executive privilege. Instead, we are at this conclusion."

The deadline for surrendering the subpoened documents was today. The White House also said that Miers and Taylor would not be allowed to testify next month, as directed by the subpoenas, which were issued June 13. This could end up with contempt citations and a much wider battle in federal court over separation of powers.

"Increasingly, the president and vice president feel they are above the law," said Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. He called the president's actions "Nixonian stonewalling."

His House counterpart, Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., said Bush's assertion of executive privilege was "unprecedented in its breadth and scope" and displayed "an appalling disregard for the right of the people to know what is going on in their government."

Well, at least unprecendented since Mr. Bill left office. Conyers and Leahy both have a livid,pulsing personal hatred of Bush, and they will not be dislodged without a fight.

In his letter, Fred Fielding tried to make the case that Bush had "attempted to chart a course of cooperation" by releasing more than 8,500 pages of documents and sending Gonzales and other senior officials to testify before Congress. The White House also offered a compromise in which Miers, Taylor, White House political strategist Karl Rove and their assistents would be interviewed by Judiciary Committee aides in closed- door sessions, without transcripts.

Leahy and Conyers rejected that offer out of hand. I mean, why accept soemthing like that when you can give the impression of official `corruption'?

In his letter, Fielding explained Bush's position on executive privilege this way: "For the President to perform his constitutional duties, it is imperative that he receive candid and unfettered advice and that free and open discussions and deliberations occur among his advisors and between those advisors and others within and outside the Executive Branch."

The Democrats are looking to pick off Gonzales and say that firing the prosecutors last winter was improper. The White House says U.S. attorneys are political appointees who can be hired and fired for almost any reason.

And this isn't all, folks.

Just yesterday, Leahy and the Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenaed the White House and Vice President Dick Cheney's office, demanding documents pertaining to the warrantless surveillance program the New York Times outed, to the delight of our enemies.

The Judiciary Committeess also subpoenaed the National Security Council. Leahy added that, like Conyers, he would consider pursuing contempt citations in the event of a refusal.

As I predicted right after the 2006 elections,Washington is becoming a town to settle personal scores rather than a town to actually do anything constructive since the Democrats took control of the committees.

The Democrats want Bush's head, especially as the 2008 elections draw closer. And remember that Nancy Pelosi is number three on the list to take the presidentcy after Bush and Cheney.

I give President Bush no more than a 60% chance of finishing out his term. He may live to regret being so cavalier towards the people that put him in office.

1 comment:

Rosey said...

There, you said it again. Are saying Bush is going to be impeached? No way.