As the House Judiciary Committee prepares to seek formal contempt charges against current and past administration officials, they have released a report detailing specific accusations of misconduct and outright illegal activity in relation to the firing of nine U.S. attorneys and the subsequent effort to cover-up the mess.
The Washington Post has the story of the committee's report alleging the administration "may have obstructed justice and violated federal statutes that protect civil service employees, prohibit political retaliation against government officials and cover presidential records."
The report further alleges that people who have testified before congress on the issue so far "appear to have made false or misleading statements to Congress, many of which sought to minimize the role of White House personnel."
To me, the second issue spells perjury. Now, I seem to recall some recent precedent for impeaching someone in the government for perjury. It happened back in the 90's. That was something the Republicans who Controlled congress then were all for. Surely they'd support impeachment of Gonzales now, right?
The memorandum also details specific scheming on the part of Karl Rove to seek the removal of some U.S. attorneys:
In one of more than 300 footnotes, the Democrats point to a Jan. 6, 2005, e-mail from an assistant White House counsel that says that Rove "stopped by to ask . . . how we planned to proceed regarding U.S. attorneys, whether we were going to allow them to stay, request resignations from all and accept only some of them, or selectively replace them, etc."
Do we finally have our Watergate? Bush seems determined to stay in office and do as he pleases no matter what Congress or the American people think. Perhaps Congress can at least use this issue to seize control of the Justice Department before U.S. Attorneys become total political puppets.
If the purpose of the Justice Department firings is political, as nearly everyone believes, then the potential consequences are dire if Congress achieves nothing. Rove style mudslinging can be taken to a whole new level. Imagine democratic candidates being hit with empty charges of voter fraud in just a few tight races. Even if the charges prove false, they will change the outcomes of some elections.
Reprinted with permission from apathy.net