Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Crisis I - the Attorney General

The Attorney General, responsible for enforcing the laws of the United States, answering Senators, who have the Constitutional duty of oversight:

Leahy asked if Gonzales would block prosecutors from prosecuting contempt-of-Congress cases. "I'm not going to answer that question," the witness answered.

"Do you think constitutional government in the United States can survive if the president has the unilateral authority to reject congressional inquiries?" Specter pressed.

"I'm not going to answer this question."

The President has made a claim of executive privilege that his officials can ignore a Congressional subpoena. Not that they will attend the session but refuse to answer or claim they don't remember. Rather, they will simply ignore the summons.

The Congress would normally have the US Attorney for the District of Columbia pursue someone who behaved thusly.

But the President has said that his Department of Justice (headed by Gonzales) will not prosecute such a case. The President also has full confidence in his Attorney General and will not fire him.

The Congress is left seemingly toothless - or it has to revive some customs of yore, when it had its own jail and its own trials. But one can imagine a showdown between sheriffs deputized by the Congress on the one side and the FBI and Secret Service on the other.

It has been said that President endorses the view that the Constitution is just a scrap of paper. His actions amply prove that whether he actually ever said anything like that or not.


PS: here is what Glenn Greenwald says

That is what Alberto Gonzales does. He lies to protect the President. And the President will never fire him. Gonzales isn't keeping his job despite his willingness to lie to Congress, but because of it. Congress has no choice but to act meaningfully -- impeachment of Gonzeles and a Special Prosecutor -- and if they do not, then, I suppose, one could say that Congress deserves to be lied to.