Thursday, March 22, 2007

Family discussions

I have to go pick up my son from just dawned on me how much I am going to have to explain to him today, about why we will see so much of the Edwards family on television this evening.

You see, in 2004, after waiting in line and in the hot summer sun, I held my son up piggyback in a crowd less than 30 feet from where John Edwards spoke as a presidential candidate, so that my son could see him and hear him. He made an enormous impact on my son, who still talks about that speech every time he sees John Edwards on television, including this morning, before he left for school.

Bless the Edwards, both John and Elizabeth, who've had to have important discussions of their own with their children. I thank them for the grace they've shown as an American family and wish them well.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Pearl Harbor Massacre: the White House link to the dismissal of U.S. Attorneys

Late last evening two stories were released covering the Gonzales Eight and the White House's role in the dismissals. The New York Times and the Washington Post both covered the document dump by the U.S. Department of Justice in advance of further testimony by DOJ staff.

From the WaPo article:

The Gonzales aide in charge of the dismissals — his chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson — resigned yesterday, officials said, after acknowledging that he did not tell Justice officials about the extent of his communications with the White House, leading them to provide incomplete information to Congress.

Doesn’t that smell of firewalling and plausible deniability to you?

Kyle Sampson was named U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' chief of staff in September of 2005, three months before the dismissals of the U.S. Attorneys (USA's)

Sampson had been named Deputy Chief of Staff and Counselor to the Attorney General in February 2005; is this part of normal transition post-election?

D. Kyle Sampson has served at the Department of Justice as a Counselor to the Attorney General since 2003, and he currently serves as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia. Prior to joining the Department, Sampson served in the White House as Associate Counsel to the President and as Special Assistant to the President and Associate Director for Presidential Personnel. From 1999 to 2001, Sampson served as Counsel to Senator Orrin G. Hatch on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and he taught as an Adjunct Professor at George Mason University Law School during the 2000-2001 school year. Before entering public service, Sampson practiced law at the Salt Lake City law firm of Parr Waddoups Brown Gee & Loveless and clerked for Judge Karen J. Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Sampson earned his law degree, with honors, from the University of Chicago Law School, where he served as Articles Editor of the University of Chicago Law Review. He earned his undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University.

Bold mine — sure looks to me like cross-pollination from the White House pool to the DOJ. Was Sampson the DOJ’s “political officer”?

Good God, there is so much smoke here, must be a fire.

WaPo's John Solomon is one of the two bylines on this WaPo (Dan Eggen being the other) — can you say “partisan hack”? If it looks this bad posted by a shill, imagine how REALLY BAD it is in actuality. Can only guess at what will come at the end of the week in the Friday news dump…

Another article from early 2005 reads like a cast of our future overlords, I know I got gooseflesh seeing Tasia Scolinos’ name in there. Gack!! Everything about Gonzales’ team was political; the DOJ under his leadership has NEVER been about crime, only the appearance of fighting it, a Potemkin village of polizei.

Dan Eggen was the sole byline on that previous piece from 2005; it leads me to wonder if Solomon was assigned to him on this latest piece as his “minder”?

Here’s another WaPo piece from 2005 that frightens the hell out of me. Scroll down, when you see Rove, you’ll find the article. Holy crap; Sampson truly is Karl Rove's "Mini-me," not just the heir apparent to Rove's role as political hit man.

Both stories in the NYT and WaPo hich 2004 Congressional races were still in question by the end of January/early February?

That might give us a few clues as to which ones were targeted…haven’t yet looked at that.

The whole right-wing talking point about Clinton getting rid of ALL 93 prosecutors is a load of bullsh*t too; Black in the Marianas was a BushI appointee. I suspect now after reading this latest WaPo article that the “Clinton Did It” spin was innoculation.

Fellow FDL commenter TeddySanFran said in response, "That inoculation came from Rove at the Clinton Center last weekend; he reeled off numbers of USAs in that tone of his that brooks no questions."

That’s a wrap on that, you can mark me as having ID’d this. I didn’t know it was Rover who launched that talking point in the flesh.

He handled the innoculation himself, in public; that can only be a sign of utter desperation that he can't trust this to be handed off to someone else, or that he had to drop the innoculant immediately before the tidal wave of bad news hit. Rove has lost his prescience, lost his ability to get a serious lead on the news at this point; it's moving must faster than can his whisper campaigns and faxed talking points.

The continuing document dump is going to contain some nasty bits, but THEY knew what was in there, planned for it. I suspect that’s why we see virtually the same coverage from NYT and WaPO on the USA’s right now.

Note this bit from the NYT:

“We would like to execute this on Thursday, Dec. 7,” Mr. Sampson wrote. Because some United States attorneys were still in Washington attending a conference, he planned to postpone telling them they were being fired. He wrote, “We want to wait until they are back home and dispersed to reduce chatter.”

Mr. Sampson predicted that dismissals might stir debate. “Prepare to Withstand Political Upheaval,” he wrote in describing what to expect as a result of the firings. “U.S Attorneys desiring to save their jobs aided by their allies in the political arena as well as the Justice Department community, likely will make efforts to preserve themselves in office. You should expect these efforts to be strenuous.”

Bold mine. Sampson was prepared in December to go down with the ship for these people. He just bought their undying appreciation and a tenure position in their welfare pool. Welcome to the private sector and the consultantocracy, Mr. Sampson.

This is not the first time that Kyle Sampson has directly impacted USA’s appointments; he did it in the White House in 2002. I refuse to link to the source article, won’t drive traffic to that RICO outfit, especially since the Dark Lord Novakula wrote this piece — but note this excerpt from first week of January 2002, regarding a USA in San Diego:

Kyle Sampson, a former Hatch aide who now works in the White House, along with Berenson has kept the LaBella nomination from getting to the president’s desk.

After reading Josh Marshall’s “it’s the end of the world as we know it” post, I’d have put $5 on Miers as the author of the inserted clause that modified the PatAct to allow this debacle.

Somebody got the name of that staffer in Specter’s office? Is there a link to Miers, I asked last night. TeddySanFran says Orrin Hatch is the connection; how did that work?

Bottom line: Sampson was a willing partner here, not a blind cut-out. He knew exactly what he was doing, and he knew it might come to this, went ahead and did it anyhow. Demonstrated intent, one might say. As a lawyer, I'm sure Mr. Sampson would understand the implication.

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