Patterico's Pontifications

5/24/2007

Biskupic Timing Does Make Sense After All

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:57 am

Some time back, I wrote that the Democrats’ timeline on the Steven Biskupic/Georgia Thompson affair made no sense, because the prosecution of Thompson began in January 2006, and Biskupic was thought to have been added to the list in November or December of 2006.

Given those facts, the addition of Biskupic to the list appeared to contradict, rather than support, the argument that the Bushies were targeting U.S. Attorneys for political reasons.

But the Biskupic affair is potentially back on the table, because evidence has emerged that Biskupic was actually added to the list in 2005 — and removed in January 2006, just around the time of the Thompson indictment.

The evidence comes in the form of a graphic published by the Washington Post, which you can see here. It conveniently lists when all of the U.S. Attorneys appeared on the firing list, and at what times. Bookmark that one and save it. It’s a great resource.

From everything I’ve read about Biskupic, he’s a stand-up guy who wouldn’t bring a prosecution he didn’t believe in for political reasons. But the Bushies may well have added and removed him for political reasons. The evidence is becoming clearer that the Bushies used politics as a factor in some inappropriate areas — witness Monica Goodling’s testimony yesterday, for example, in which she admitted using politics as a consideration in hiring decisions. The timing on Biskupic now appears suspicious — just as the timing of Iglesias being added to the list has always seemed suspicious.

29 Responses to “Biskupic Timing Does Make Sense After All”

  1. It’s way back on the table. (a) Frivolous corruption prosecution (b) aimed at an incumbent Dem governor (c) on the ropes (d) in a swing state (e) in an election year.

    The timing seemed to derail the otherwise obvious appearance of a political operation, but it seems that the timing was in fact (f) perfect.

    biwah (2dcf66)

  2. Like you said, The Commissar, good post. And of course it vindicates your earlier unsarcastic comment.

    Crust (399898)

  3. Also, even stand-up guys feel the heat when on the verge of getting the axe. This phenomenon is the underpinning for administrative firewalls between the executive branch and the attorneys who represent the United States government (in its entirety, and by extension the nation as a whole).

    There is a lot more evidence that those firewalls were intentionally breached with nefarious political motives than Biskupic brought to trial in the prosecution of Georgia Thompson.

    biwah (2dcf66)

  4. Re [Goodling] admitted using politics as a consideration in hiring decisions:

    Indeed, she admitted using politics as a consideration in staff hires where doing so is illegal. Although she did say “I don’t believe that I intended to commit a crime”. So presumably her defense (outside of immunity with regards to her own testimony) is that she didn’t have a guilty mind (mens rea). But that’s got to be a pretty tough defense to argue for an attorney and ex-employee of the DoJ.

    Crust (399898)

  5. The Commissar, in fairness this other comment in the old thread really was vindicated.

    Crust (399898)

  6. Well, I guess we now know who the blowhard cheap dishonest hack is.

    Davebo (036e09)

  7. Your integrity in revisiting this topic does you credit, Patterico. I’m genuinely impressed. You’re also the first conservative blog of any note to have even mentioned the Monica Gooding testimony. Congradulations.

    Karl Rove likes to push the legal envelope of dirty tricks to get the environmental conditions for elections in his favor. It’s pretty clear that the White House and the DOJ went hand in hand well beyond the line and deep into the swamp.

    We need an independent, full-time, Congresionally appointed investigator.

    glasnost (ea1d7a)

  8. Rather than another politicized investigation that leaves both sides complaining, I think Alberto Gonzalez should resign. But I guess that’s not going to happen.

    DRJ (2d5e62)

  9. We need an independent, full-time, Congresionally appointed investigator.

    At this juncture, it would be good fun to hear any attempts to argue otherwise.

    biwah (2dcf66)

  10. “We need an independent, full-time, Congresionally appointed investigator.”

    I nominate Ken Starr.

    nk (835ea1)

  11. I nominate Ken Starr.

    maybe as an expert witness on the anatopmy of a politically motivated prosecution.

    biwah (2dcf66)

  12. I will be happy to testify about politically motivated hiring and firing of career employees at DOJ. It’s rampant, in some sections. When I worked there – back in the bad old Clinton/Reno days – I was asked repeatedly in employment interviews if a conservative (I was an “outed” student chapter Fed Soc officer) could enforce the law against corporations, follow directions given by somebody whose politics didn’t match mine in prosecuting cases, etc. Evidently my hearty laughter and insistence that I would be more than happy to hang anybody who broke the law – so long as hanging was in the sentencing tables for that particular crime – seemed plausible to the interviewers and I was hired. I was charitable, and smart enough (or maybe stupid acting enough), not to make an issue of the fact that merely asking political viewpoint questions in the hiring process is forbidden when it comes to career employees. (Career employees in confidential advisory positions (such as special counsel and certain legal advisor positions, section chiefs) are in a different boat, IMHO, due to the intensely political nature of their legal work).

    Al Maviva (89d0b6)

  13. To whatever lefties may visit:
    This is how a correction is made.
    Sincerely,

    Dan Collins (1e2e08)

  14. Once again, Patterico jumps to conclusions before all of the facts are out, thus making a complete ass of himself.

    You know, just like he criticizes others for doing over and over and over again. HYPOCRITE.

    King Christian X (7787b4)

  15. Glasnost:

    You’re also the first conservative blog of any note to have even mentioned the Monica Gooding testimony. Congradulations.

    You mean, apart from Power Line, and again here, and also here? (The last two were after Patterico’s post, but the first was many hours before.)

    In fact, Patterico would do well to read those three posts, for he might change his mind about whether Goodling’s tesimony really was evidence that “the Bushies used politics as a factor in some inappropriate areas.”

    (“Bushies?” Oh, please. Why not Smirky the Wonder Chimp or Chimpy McBusHitler?)

    Patterico:

    You again engage in what has become, alas, a pattern: Once you decide you don’t like someone or something — President Bush and Alberto Gonzales, in this instance — then you eagerly embrace every accusation or calumny against that entity while waving away every defense as irrelevant.

    The simple fact is that U.S. Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president, and neither he nor anyone he delegates has any obligation to renew an expired contract. Nor is there anything necessarily wrong with politics forming a part of the decision to hire or retain a USA.

    For example, the prosecutorial agenda is set by the president, and that is certainly political. A Democrat may want to see a real emphasis on prosecution of racial bias, gender bias, and sexual-preference bias in the workplace; a Republican may prefer his USAs focus on voter fraud and immigration violations.

    And it’s perfectly legitimate to install as a USA some young but highly qualified “rising star” that the president may want, at some future time, to nominate to a federal judgeship or even to be Attorney General… Rachel Paulose, for example. That too is political — yet quite acceptable.

    True, presidents and their staff mustn’t use that power to improperly influence or obstruct an investigation or trial; but the evidentiary bar for that is quite high… and it’s not satisfied merely by showing that one or two USAs were either hired or fired at around the time a prosecution began, more or less.

    I am very skeptical that if this had all happened under “Attorney General J. Michael Luttig,” you would be so quick to render a negative judgment. You have made it very clear that you despise Alberto Gonzales; and I honestly don’t believe you’re judging him impartially or fairly. I think you’ve gone into “by any means necessary” mode.

    And I don’t think it does you good. When you’re not dealing with an “enemy,” your analysis is excellent, better than Volokh’s because yours is more readable; for example, in the John McKay article below.

    I personally dislike Gonzales and think he was a very weak choice for Attorney General. But that does not mean that anything goes. There was nothing improper about letting those USAs leave… if there were, honestly, don’t you think it would have come out by now, with the intense energy (rather, obsession) that the Democrats are bringing to the investigation?

    At this point, if the Democrats finally drop it, I half-expect you to rail at Pat Leahy to redouble his efforts and hit Gonzales and Bush even harder!

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (445647)

  16. Saying something appears suspicious is hardly jumping to a conclusion. That’s all you got? It ain’t much.

    UPDATE: This comment is directed at King Christian X.

    Patterico (eb22f9)

  17. ‘Ken Star’ — maybe as an expert witness on the anatopmy of a politically motivated prosecution.

    That is exactly what you get when you have a “an independent, full-time, Congresionally appointed investigator”

    I just wish we had had a full-time Congressionally appointed investigator when Clinton fired 93 prosecutors all at one swipe.

    And with this kabuki theater — prolonged over 6 months ‘controversy’, what newly elected President won’t fire all the prosecutors on Day 1. That appears to be the safest course

    As for Biskupic’s case against Thompson being frivolous, that poster is probably from New Jersey where big league corruption rivals baseball in popularity. Wisconsin used to be a clean state, but no longer.

    gm (f7470d)

  18. Patterico:

    Saying something appears suspicious is hardly jumping to a conclusion. That’s all you got? It ain’t much.

    It’s more than you have on Gonzales!

    Words are my business; I know how to use them, and I understand how others are using them. Your subtext is so loud, it’s practically the foreground.

    You have repeatedly called for Alberto Gonzales to resign or be fired. You said the Iglesias firing looks “suspicious.” Now you say the Biskupic non-firing is “suspicious.”

    That’s Demspeak; Democrats are constantly saying something is “suspicious,” by which they mean that it’s sure to be criminal — even though they haven’t any evidence… yet: It’s “suspicous” that Bush allowed “bin Laden’s family” to fly out of the U.S. after 9/11; it’s “suspicious” that Diebold’s CEO, Wally O’Dell, was a Bush fundraiser, etc.

    By the way, how do you know Biskupic was “removed in January 2006, just around the time of the Thompson indictment?” The WaPo doesn’t say that; they show his name on a list in February, 2005; then they show a pair of lists that don’t include his name in January, 2006. He could have been removed at any time during the eleven months between those lists. Would it change the “suspicion” factor if he were removed from the list in April, 2005, or August, or October?

    You cite Goodling’s testimony… but only to say that “the evidence is becoming clearer that the Bushies used politics as a factor in some inappropriate areas.” (And the code word “Bushies” speaks volumes, considering its provenance.)

    Yet Goodling did not say she was told to do what she did; nor is what she did particularly bad. And she certainly is not one of the “Bushies,” in the sense that the Left (and, oddly, you) use the term: She is a fairly low-level functionary, a political appointee but far down the food chain. She has a record of being overly excitable and prone to zealousness.

    I doubt Bush knew much about her other than her name and that she worked at Justice and was a protege, of sorts, of Tim Griffin. Alberto Gonzales is a “Bushie;” so is Karen Hughes. Goodling doesn’t rise to that level.

    So in fact, her testimony doesn’t give any evidence at all that “the Bushies” did anything… and even Paul Mirengoff — who dislikes Gonzales just as intensely as you do — concludes that there’s no “there” there. He did nothing wrong by firing those attorneys, and the Democrats’ fishing trip is ending up with everyone eating the Oscar Mayer weenies they packed, instead of the juicy rainbow trout or sockeye salmon of which they dreamt.

    Why don’t you just admit that, as incompetent as Gonzales may be, there is not a shred of evidence that he is corrupt, or that he obstructed justice, or indeed committed any other crime?

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (445647)

  19. Saying an incompetent should keep their job is also Demspeak, Comrade Dafydd.

    alphie (015011)

  20. Dafydd,

    Sorry, I was talking to King Christian X, not you. Your comment just happened to intervene. I would not have been so rude to you, as you did not deserve it.

    Patterico (eeb415)

  21. Nor is there anything necessarily wrong with politics forming a part of the decision to hire or retain a USA.

    I quite agree! But in many cases the Administration did not give this as a reason, originally or even now. Instead they talked about “performance-related”. Why not, I can only conjecture, but a very reasonable conjecture is that the White House did not wish to reveal that the particular political agenda they wished to advance were (1) fruitless “voter fraud” investigations against Democrats and, very likely, (2) soft-pedaling corruption investigations with GOP targets.

    So far testimony has not discovered who assembled the list of USAs to dismiss, so, a fortiori, we lack the Administration’s version for the reasons that person or persons unknown made the selections.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (51ea5d)

  22. Dafydd:

    Nor is there anything necessarily wrong with politics forming a part of the decision to hire or retain a USA.

    Note that the business about Goodling “crossing the line” and taking into account politics refers to staff positions (where it is illegal) not USA’s. At least according to her own testimony, she was not involved in making the list of USA’s to be fired.

    Crust (399898)

  23. There are really just three possibilities with Gonzales at this point: he’s incompetent, he’s a crook or both. (A lot of people would rule out the middle possibility, but I’m feeling generous.) Even folks like Dafydd are willing to recognize this at this point.

    So why is he still around? Is there anyone other than the President who doesn’t see that Gonzales is at best incompetent? Not that Bush really has that much credibility left to squander, but why doesn’t he just cut his losses and let Gonzales go?

    Crust (399898)

  24. I think what they should have done from the beginning is just say, “Yes. Yes. No shit we fired them for political reasons. Do you know where we are folks? We’re in DC, and that’s how things work, and always have worked, here. So shut the hell up and go pass some laws or something if you don’t like the way things work in this town.”

    To me, just on the face of the guy, Gonzales looks like a slick bastard. He is too smiley, in a Clinton kind of way. As I have heard him described, he’s a Yes Man. That may not be all that strange in historical context, just like using politics to fire USAs, but in the least Bush could save himself the trouble by having an AG that didn’t look like he’s a lying suck-up.

    Ah, back in the good old days when the president’s brother was the AG. Now we’re fighting about an AG being too loyal to the president and using politics to carry out his job. Oh me, oh my, time sure does fly.

    Seixon (baa852)

  25. Dafydd:

    Yet Goodling did not say she was told to do what she did; nor is what she did particularly bad.

    It’s illegal. She’s an admitted criminal. Everything else is your opinion. Blackballing Democrats from hiring sounds to a Democrat like political purging on a Zimbabwean scale and a neccesary precedent to widespread selective, politically motivated prosecution. In other words, it sounds pretty bad to me, and I find your assumption to the contrary offensive.

    As for Gooding’s involvement with DOJ, well, Alberto’s deputy AG named her along with Sampson as being the two creators of the list. If it was, in fact her, and every major player at DOJ has denied it so someone is lying, that instantly qualifies her as, contrary to your painting, both a major player and exactly the kind of person to try to fire US AG’s in order to influence investigations.

    There’s no smoking gun, but there’s plenty of smoke. Patterico gets it. You’re determined not to.

    glasnost (6cf6be)

  26. Glasnost:

    In other words, it sounds pretty bad to me, and I find your assumption to the contrary offensive.

    I find your taking offense boorish, manipulative, and using your own weakness as a weapon. So there.

    It’s illegal. She’s an admitted criminal.

    As am I; I often find myself driving faster than the posted speed limit.

    But there are crimes, and there are “crimes.” Forgetting your applicant is looking for a civil service job, not a political appointee job, and rejecting him for somewhat political reasons is a “crime,” not a crime. Not quite on the scale of Robert Mugabe’s attempted genocide of the whites in Zimbabwe.

    Oh, wait, I’m getting ahead of myself here. Get a grip, Glasnost.

    Blackballing Democrats from hiring sounds to a Democrat like political purging on a Zimbabwean scale…

    Now we get Zimbabwe.

    Great leaping horny toads. Have you lost your marbles, Glasnost? It sounds like the Rwanda massacre, the Krakatoa eruption, and the Triassic-Jurassic extinction event, all rolled into one!

    It’s cataclysmic; it compares unfavorably to the heat death of the universe. Whom gods destroy, they first fire from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

    Life for a US Attorney whose contract is not renewed, because he doesn’t share the president’s priorities, is close enough to Hell on earth to sear the human soul. No one gets out of here with Birkenstocks!

    I think I’ll renew my faith in humanity by having a chat with John Edwards. Adios…

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (445647)

  27. Patterico:

    Sorry, I was talking to King Christian X, not you.

    What’s all this I hear about the upcoming presidential erection? What a rude thing to say about the chief executive of the land! Are these things actually scheduled? How do we know the next one won’t be until next year? That’s a perfectly awful thing to…

    What’s that? Presidential election?

    Oh. That’s very different.

    Nevermind!

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (445647)

  28. It’s illegal. She’s an admitted criminal.

    And what law is it that she’s broken, glasnost?

    Pablo (08e1e8)


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