Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Patrick Leahy:
Building a Case?

Recent revelations about the firings of the U.S. Attorneys by the Justice Department, at the instigation of high level White House players, for political reasons, have generated much outrage.

Senator Charles Schumer has called for the ouster of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Vermont’s own Patrick Leahy also “blew [his] stack” when he learned that the White House was linked to the firings. He had been previously told, under oath, that this was not the case.

The President CAN fire these people for anything, or for nothing, they are political appointees who serve at the pleasure of the executive branch.

However, the Administration has obscured the reasons for the firings, and deliberately misled Congress about the partisan nature of the action; instead, they claimed to be acting out of high minded concerns about "job performace". The problem lies, not in the firings, but in the lie.

In an NPR Interview with Senator Leahy, he says: “What I quarrel with is the fact that they did not tell us the truth about what happened. What I quarrel with is the fact that even though they were under oath, they withheld information. That is unacceptable. I realize that they were used to having six years of a complacent rubber-stamp Congress controlled by their party. That changed in last year's election. We're going to ask questions. I would ask these same questions if it was a Democratic administration. I'm not going to accept half-answers and I'm not going to accept misleading answers. I want full answers; I want them under oath.”

It’s unsavory, to say the least; but unlike Schumer, Patrick Leahy is going one slow step at a time: “What I want to do is the same thing I used to do when I was a prosecutor: build a case; go to whoever I feel, and the committee feels, is essential to uncover the truth; we will have them come and testify.”

There have been a lot of debates about the speed at which the Bush Administration is being called to answer for its misdeeds by Democrats in Congress. Vermonters, in particular, are hoping to see representitives from our small state take a leading role in bringing an end to the disaster that is called the Bush Administration.

My hope is that by going slowly and carefully, but also firmly and steadily, we will draw the net around these crooks, liars, and thugs, and put our government back on the right track.

Personally, I don’t give a damn about making a statement. I’d like to see a significant number of these heels go to jail. I think, given a little patience and a little time, we can do it.

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