Patterico's Pontifications

4/15/2007

Iglesias Timing: More Suspicious Than Ever

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 8:37 pm

I have said that I believe there is scant evidence that the Bush Administration fired any U.S. Attorney because of their failure to prosecute Democrats, or their successful prosecution of Republicans.

I’m not so sure I still think that.

I have said before — in a post studiously ignored by those determined to unfairly portray me as one-sidedly defending the Administration — that the timing of the David Iglesias firing is among the most troubling aspects of the firings of the eight U.S. Attorneys:

It looks horrible for Pete Domenici to have called up David Iglesias about a pending case. . . . Add to the list of suspicious items the timing of Iglesias’s inclusion on the firing list.

It looks even more suspicious today:

Former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias was fired after Sen. Pete Domenici, who had been unhappy with Iglesias for some time, made a personal appeal to the White House, the [Albuquerque] Journal has learned.

Domenici had complained about Iglesias before, at one point going to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales before taking his request to the president as a last resort.

The senior senator from New Mexico had listened to criticism of Iglesias going back to 2003 from sources ranging from law enforcement officials to Republican Party activists.

Domenici, who submitted Iglesias’ name for the job and guided him through the confirmation process in 2001, had tried at various times to get more white-collar crime help for the U.S. Attorney’s Office— even if Iglesias didn’t want it.

At one point, the six-term Republican senator tried to get Iglesias moved to a Justice Department post in Washington, D.C., but Iglesias told Justice officials he wasn’t interested.

In the spring of 2006, Domenici told Gonzales he wanted Iglesias out.

Gonzales refused. He told Domenici he would fire Iglesias only on orders from the president.

At some point after the election last Nov. 6, Domenici called Bush’s senior political adviser, Karl Rove, and told him he wanted Iglesias out and asked Rove to take his request directly to the president.

Domenici and Bush subsequently had a telephone conversation about the issue.

Ouch. Not good. Here’s the timeline, which I extrapolated from the reporting in the linked article:

  • October 2006: A list is prepared. Iglesias’s name is not on it.
  • October 27, 2006: Domenici makes an improper phone call to Iglesias about prosecutions of Democrats. Iglesias says no indictments will happen before the election.
  • November 6, 2006: the election.
  • Between November 6 and December 7, 2006: Domenici complains to Bush about Iglesias.
  • November 15, 2006: Iglesias’s name appears on a list of people to be fired.
  • December 7, 2006: Iglesias is fired.

I don’t see any evidence of anything else that would suddenly result in Iglesias’s name being put on the list.

Combine this with a couple of other pieces of circumstantial evidence. First, recall Kyle Sampson’s admission that he proposed putting Patrick Fitzgerald on the list. That was a virtual admission that Sampson considered naked politics in putting together the list. I considered that the news of the day when it came out. Second, we have Alberto Gonzales’s recent re-confirmations that he delegated the bulk of the decisionmaking on this critical task to the weaselly Sampson — who not only considered firing Fitzgerald, but whom I also excoriated for scheming to lie to Congress about the temporary nature of Tim Griffin’s appointment.

Plus: another day, another complaint that Alberto Gonzales politicized the Justice Department. (H/t semanticleo.)

I said last month that Gonzales should quit. Unfortunately, President Bush didn’t accept my sage advice, and I predict Gonzales is going to embarrass himself badly in Tuesday’s hearings. He is a weak man: not terribly bright, and a terrible manager. (I’m glad I strongly opposed the idea of his becoming a Supreme Court Justice!) Watching these hearings is going to be excruciatingly painful for Gonzales defenders and die-hard Republicans.

This is not to say that every punch Democrats have tried to land is a valid one. Based on what I’ve seen, the flap over Carol Lam is demonstrably silly and doesn’t fit the Democrats’ timeline. The same goes for the Biskupic affair, based upon available evidence.

But you know what? I have absolutely no faith that Gonzales is going to make the case — even on slam-dunk issues such as Lam and Biskupic. Because he just ain’t that bright — and because he has no fire in his belly. I can even see him sitting still for Senator Chuckie S. lecturing him about how improper it was for Pete Domenici to contact a prosecutor about an ongoing investigation — and not bothering to throw it in Senator Schumer’s face that Schumer did the exact same thing to Deputy Attorney General James Comey with respect to the Plame investigation.

(One wrong doesn’t excuse another — but it’s unconscionable for Schumer to be the guy pontificating about this . . . and it will be inexcusable for Gonzales to let him. But mark my words: he will. And no other Big Media outlet will talk about it. I wrote the L.A. Times about this on April 2, and nobody has had even the courtesy to send me an e-mail in response.)

Basically, it’s going to be pathetic to watch Gonzales try to defend these decisions — and in the case of Iglesias, it’s looking more and more like the decision was indefensible.

Democrats Enter Another Time Warp — Before, It Was Carol Lam; This Time, It’s Steven Biskupic

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:20 pm

Democrats are bending the time-space continuum again. They did it with Carol Lam, and now they are doing it with Steven Biskupic.

Democrats claimed that Carol Lam was targeted for something that she did months after she was initially targeted. Specifically, they claimed that the Administration targeted Carol Lam in January 2005 for an investigation she began months later, relating to a scandal that broke in April 2005.

The claim as to Biskupic is equally illogical, but in reverse — like the Carol Lam argument viewed in the mirror. Democrats claim that Steven Biskupic was given a reprieve from firing for something that he did months before he was ever targeted for firing. Specifically, they claim that the Administration added him to a list of U.S. Attorneys to be fired in October 2006, but later removed him in gratitude for his baseless prosecution of a Democrat. But that prosecution was concluded months before Democrats claim his name was added to the list of people to be fired. (The prosecution commenced in January 2006 and concluded in June 2006; Joshua Micah Marshall has argued that his name was added to the list in October 2006.)

It would be like someone claiming that the boss didn’t fire you because you got him Lakers tickets — except that he first thought about firing you only after he went to the game. It makes no sense.

If your head is spinning from the illogical nature of all this, you must not be a Democrat.

But if you are rational, you can see that this incident proves the opposite of what Democrats are claiming. According to Joshua Micah Marshall, Biskupic was probably added to the list after he got a conviction in a thin case against a Democrat. If that is true, then Biskupic’s success in prosecuting tough cases against Democrats didn’t save him from being considered for firing.

As I detail below, the argument that Biskupic prosecuted a Democrat for political reasons is belied, not just by the timeline, but also by statements from numerous local Democrats, who support Biskupic and say that he is a career prosecutor who prosecutes both Republicans and Democrats alike.

Democrats, it’s time to give up this angle. This dog won’t hunt.

The details are in the extended entry.

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Sleep Apnea: Diagnosed, But Not Cured

Filed under: General,Real Life — Patterico @ 8:18 am

Back in December I made a crack about my undiagnosed sleep apnea.

It has been diagnosed. But the cure isn’t working too well so far.

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A Serious Editorial from a Serious Newspaper

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 8:00 am

The L.A. Times editors have an opinion on everything, it seems — even Sanjaya.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, good for you.


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