Patterico's Pontifications

7/23/2007

The Narrative Trumps the Truth Again at the L.A. Times

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 5:52 am



Yesterday the L.A. Times ran a story about the battle between Bush and Congress over the invocation of privilege by Harriet Miers. From start to finish, the piece is written in a way to make Bush’s invocation of privilege seem legally questionable and politically motivated. The story portrays this issue as a reprise of the U.S. Attorney controversy, with a principled U.S. Attorney pitted against a political administration.

Just one problem: the U.S. Attorney may agree with the Administration. And the Administration may be right.

Two! Two problems! (Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!)

The article is titled Another U.S. attorney in a tight spot, with a deck headline reading: “As lawmakers move to hold administration figures in contempt, Jeffrey Taylor would be the prosecutor — pitted against his bosses.”

Even before the reader begins the article, these headlines frame the contempt issue through the lens of the U.S. Attorney controversy: a principled U.S. Attorney battling it out with his politically motivated bosses. It’s interesting to see that Taylor would be “in a tight spot” and “pitted against his bosses” — given that we later learn that the paper has no idea how Taylor actually feels about the contempt proceedings.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, by jumping to the truth. For now, let’s stick with the L.A. Times narrative.

The article opens by continuing the theme of the headline, namely, that the current situation is a battle of wills reminiscent of the U.S. Attorney controversy:

For months, congressional investigators have been pursuing allegations that the Bush administration tried to influence cases handled by U.S. attorneys across the country in ways that would benefit the Republican Party.

Now that investigation is near an impasse because the administration appears to be telling a U.S. attorney what to do.

Oh, the irony!!

The strong implication there is that President Bush is telling a U.S. Attorney to do something wrong — improperly influencing him to make a legally questionable decision that he doesn’t want to make, in order to help the Republican party. The issue is characterized in this way throughout the article:

The position is roiling congressional investigators planning their next step in the probe, which has hit a wall with the White House’s refusal to turn over documents and make officials available for public questioning under oath.

It is also leaving Taylor, 42, facing a test of his own independence from his bosses at the Justice Department.

. . . .

Justice Department legal opinions, unless they are expressly disavowed, are considered official department policy. By holding this one up as good law, the department puts Taylor in a difficult spot.

Interesting. So Mr. Taylor feels differently from the Justice Department about the contempt issue? Uh . . . not necessarily:

Whether Taylor agrees with [the administration’s] view of the law is unclear; he declined a request for an interview.

D’oh!

So it’s a “test of . . . independence” of a guy in a “tight spot” who is “pitted against his bosses” — yet, for all we know, Taylor might completely agree with his bosses.

Gotcha.

It’s very dramatic; I’ll give them that. It’s just not very, you know, reality-based.

Not only does the article falsely suggest a conflict, it also suggests that what the Justice Department is asking Taylor to do — not to prosecute the contempt citation — is legally wrong and politically motivated. After all, if he’s in a “tight spot” and facing a “test of his independence” then he must be receiving orders that are questionable, right?

Consider a hypothetical where a defendant performs a takeover bank robbery and shoots several customers, killing two. His face is caught on several security tapes and his guilt is unquestionable. The Justice Department instructs the local U.S. Attorney to seek the maximum possible sentence.

Does that constitute a “test of the U.S. Attorney’s independence”? Would it put the U.S. Attorney is a “difficult spot”? No, and nobody would ever think to put it that way. It’s clearly the right thing to do, and U.S. Attorneys must obey the Justice Department.

Suggesting that this is a “test of his independence” that “puts Taylor in a difficult spot” is a subtle suggestion that the Justice Department’s view of this issue is legally wrong, and politically motivated. The next suggestion, of course, is that if Taylor follows his orders, he will be doing so only out of loyalty:

Taylor is a loyal Republican who has served as a top lawyer for both Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales and former Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft.

So are the Justice Department orders to Taylor clearly illegal and wrong? Not according to Eugene Volokh. He notes that the Administration has cited a Reagan-era memo in support of its position, and opines that the memo is “generally quite correct.” Volokh concludes:

My tentative view, then, is that when the Justice Department takes the view that a witness is properly claiming executive privilege, it should not prosecute the witness for contempt of Congress, and any attempts by Congress to force it into such a prosecution are unconstitutional. Congress retains tools to vindicate its interests. It’s just that the tool of forcing the Justice Department to prosecute is not a permissible one.

Now, Volokh’s view is not without controversy. The article quotes a professor who says that a special counsel ought to be appointed to take the case to a grand jury. Note that even he isn’t suggesting that this U.S. Attorney should be bringing contempt charges. (I am dialoguing with that professor now and will report back on his opinion tomorrow.)

So, it’s quite possible that the Justice Department’s actions vindicate the Constitution. The U.S. Attorney in question may entirely agree. Therefore, according to the L.A. Times, yet another U.S. Attorney finds himself in a “tight spot” and “pitted against his bosses.”

The narrative always trumps the truth. Every time.

68 Responses to “The Narrative Trumps the Truth Again at the L.A. Times”

  1. This is pontificating and hand-waving at its finest. “He’s in a tight spot, how horrible! He’s so conflicted about this, we can’t even get an interview with him for him to tell us just how conflicted he is! The horror!”

    I sentence Robert Schmitt to The Comfy Chair!

    Rick Wilcox (bb4b76)

  2. Volokh has a challenger, Greenwald.

    “The administration’s theory is an absolute denial of prosecutorial independence. It means that federal prosecutors are nothing more than obedient servants of the President. They are not merely appointed by the President, but their specific decisions about whether to prosecute executive branch officials for criminal acts are controlled and dictated by the President. They are nothing more, as Rifkin said, than “emanations of the president’s will.”

    It is hard to overstate how threatening that posture is to the defining attribute of a government that lives under the rule of law. As the Supreme Court said in 1974 in U.S. v. Nixon, when recognizing the validity of Executive Privilege in some cases but ordering President Nixon to turn over tapes of his private conversations with his aides (emphasis added; brackets in original):

    This presumptive privilege must be considered in light of our historic commitment to the rule of law. This is nowhere more profoundly manifest than in our view that “the twofold aim [of criminal justice] is that guilt shall not escape or innocence suffer.”

    The administration’s position is a direct assault on prosecutorial independence, and an attempt to vest the President with the unchallengeable power to block criminal prosecutions of anyone in the Executive Branch who breaks the law at the President’s direction.”

    Maybe Taylor will agree with Bush. But if he doesn’t, will it matter?

    Semanticleo (4741c2)

  3. Volokh has a challenger, Greenwald.

    Which would tend to bolster Volokh’s position.

    Steverino (577e47)

  4. Miss Cleo – Though I doubt we can expect a rational response from you, were your panties in such a bunch when the exact same position was put forward by the Clinton administration? The idea that Bush’s position is bold, unprecedented, etc … is laughable, as it was originally implemented by Olsen under Reagan, and then confirmed under Clinton.

    We shall patiently await the measured response from you and Senor Sockpuppet.

    JD (a04d17)

  5. Has Miss Cleo ever had an original thought, or is he/she/it simply regurgitating the tortured rhetoric of talkingpointsmemo, Gleen(s), O-Dub, et al ?

    JD (a04d17)

  6. That Ellers McEllerson is of a different view only tends to convince me of my corectness.

    That mook couldn’t find his butt with both hands if he had a map and a mirror.

    mojo (8096f2)

  7. Don’t forget that the Clinton administration was of the exact same opinion as the Reagan and Bush administrations on the subject.

    Semanticleo has obviously failed to notice that no criminal investigation is involved here, just a Congressional circus, with the requisite fishing expedition, dog & pony show, and witch hunt.

    Tully (e4a26d)

  8. Tully – Don’t be silly. Facts are not required, and in fact, are arbitrarily ignored, in order to service the narrative. Miss Cleo is a faithful foot soldier for their efforts, reflexively contrarian.

    JD (a04d17)

  9. a “test of his independence”

    When exactly did the US attorneys become independent of the DOJ? Was it in 2000, when Bush became president, and the constitution no longer applied to the executive branch?

    Scott (ac13f9)

  10. This type of article goes hand-in-and with The New Republic’s fictional account of actions take by members of the US military. This is no longer surprising. The media can just make shit up, and unless a conservative blogger calls them on it, and it arouses enough attention, they simply continue to run with it.

    JD (a04d17)

  11. Greenwald weighs in? Good, for a minute I was worried that I was wrong. But with Greenwold on the opposite side, how could I be? For complete confirmation, I need Chemerinsky to weigh in against as well.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  12. There’s a second page to the L.A. Times article that covers the White House’s side of this issue.

    Did you miss it, Patterico?

    alphie (015011)

  13. alphie, note how the sides that do not conform to the narrative have to be searched for. I am still waiting to hear what the US Attorney actually feels, rather than the LA Times’ specualtion as to what he might feel.

    JD (26b504)

  14. alphie, note how the sides that do not conform to the narrative have to be searched for. I am still waiting to hear what the US Attorney actually feels, rather than the LA Times’ specualtion as to what he might feel.

    Not that it would matter if the LAT asked him. They have a habit of ignoring what is said, and printing whatever they want.

    Scott Jacobs (90eabe)

  15. Wouldn’t the White Hose spokesmen be the proper person to speak on this matter, not the U.S. Attorney ing question?

    Stuff from the article that Patterico didn’t see:

    “The department went a step further Friday, circulating copies of a 1984 opinion issued by the Justice Department. The opinion concluded that the statute under which Congress refers contempt charges to Justice officials ‘does not apply to executive officials who assert claims of executive privilege at the direction of the president.'”

    —-

    “White House spokesman Tony Snow told reporters Friday that the U.S. attorney wasn’t required to prosecute in such circumstances and that President Bush would not allow it.”

    “‘There are serious separation of powers issues here, and … the legislative branch is not in a position to compel action on the part of the executive branch, other than in areas related to its legitimate oversight role,’ Snow said. ‘In circumstances like this, the constitutional prerogatives of the president make it futile and purely political for Congress to refer to a U.S. attorney a contempt citation.'”

    —-

    “White House spokesman Tony Fratto said Friday that all this discussion was premature and that the administration hoped lawmakers would accept its offer to provide access to officials and documents — in private with no oaths or transcripts.”

    alphie (015011)

  16. He better think of himself as being in a tight spot.
    Love your unbiased opinions Pat.

    AF (4a3fa6)

  17. “Searched for,” JD?

    The article is only 1000 words long.

    It just looks like Patterico missed the second page.

    alphie (015011)

  18. As opposed to putting the positions that dispute their narrative on the first page. That is fairly typical. The opposition usually comes after the jump, or in the last couple of paragraphs.

    JD (26b504)

  19. The allegation is that the Executive Branch has ordered its employees to ignore a subpoena from Congress. The same Executive Branch then tells other employees not to prosecute this.

    I guess I’ll just have to repeat what I said in an earlier thread. Patterico, if you can’t grasp why this is a problem you have no business being a prosecutor.

    Bob Smith (469c2b)

  20. If the L.A. Times is biased, why did they put this aadministration howler at the very bottom of the story instead of the top:

    “White House spokesman Tony Fratto said Friday that all this discussion was premature and that the administration hoped lawmakers would accept its offer to provide access to officials and documents — in private with no oaths or transcripts.”

    In private, with no oaths or transcipts.

    alphie (015011)

  21. Lets see, that’s the same Congress that screamed about the execution of a court-issued search warrant of a Congressman’s offices?

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  22. Is the Attorney General responsible only the the President?
    Doesn’t he have a dual [cough] responsibility?

    “Patterico, if you can’t grasp why this is a problem you have no business being a prosecutor.”
    that’s funny.

    AF (4a3fa6)

  23. The whole idea of separation of powers is completely lost on these people. Let Rep. Pelosi march over and make a citizens arrest if she feels so strongly about it. However, the standard for what actions are appropriate when Executive Privilege has been invoked has been in place a long time, and has been practiced under Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and now Bush. Apparently the leftists are outraged, outraged I tell you, when it is a Republican claiming some privilege.

    JD (26b504)

  24. alphie – The legislature should consider themselves fortunate to even lay eyes on the things that they are requesting.

    JD (26b504)

  25. “They are nothing more, as Rifkin said, than “emanations of the president’s will.””

    Really, there are too many beasts of burden with blinders on to address each of you……

    Take a trip by air and survey the landscape, rather than…………….(“no criminal
    investigation is involved here”) keeping your one good eye on the anthill.

    In other words, it’s about the BIG PICTURE.

    Can you grasp that concept with those slippery
    hands?

    Semanticleo (4741c2)

  26. JD,

    If the administration weren’t trying to get Congress to give them the funds to continue a very unpopular war for another year, you may be right.

    Successful wartime presidents compromise on less important issues (and have bipartisan cabinets, btw).

    alphie (015011)

  27. Successful wartime presidents compromise on less important issues (and have bipartisan cabinets, btw).

    Successful wartime presidents also don’t have a pack of blood-thirsty traitorous mongrels looking for any angle to destroy them.

    Paul (0544fc)

  28. In other words, it’s about the BIG PICTURE.

    The BIG PICTURE also involves a pack of blood-thirsty traitorous mongrels chanting two-line philosophies while wearing giant paper-mache heads.

    Paul (0544fc)

  29. “The BIG PICTURE also involves a pack of blood-thirsty traitorous mongrels chanting two-line philosophies while wearing giant paper-mache heads.”

    Now, you’re gettin’ it. So, you favor impeachment?

    Semanticleo (4741c2)

  30. The reason you are hearing all this hoo-hah is because the Democratic leadership in Congress well knows that on the merits, their challenge to the executive privilege claim is a loser. In other words, if the U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia attempted to enforce the Congressional subpoenas via a criminal contempt of Congress proceeding in federal district court, the court would rule decisively against Congress. That being the case, the Democratic leaders would much prefer to paint this as some sort of obstruction of justice by the Bush Administration — because “justice,” in the sense of a court ruling based on the merits, is the very last thing they want.

    Or, here, that they should want: If they were to get the privilege issues before a court, the result would almost certainly be a strengthening of pro-presidential precedent — very like what happened when the NYT and Time Inc. chose L’Affair Plame to go to the mattresses on protection of confidential sources, with the result that the D.C. Circuit issued the most press-unfriendly privilege decision of the last two decades.

    Beldar (195903)

  31. Now, you’re gettin’ it. So, you favor impeachment?

    Miss Cleo: take a look.

    Who do you think I am talking about when I use the description “a pack of blood-thirsty traitorous mongrels chanting two-line philosophies while wearing giant paper-mache heads?”

    Paul (0544fc)

  32. “Who do you think I am talking about when I use the description “a pack of blood-thirsty traitorous mongrels chanting two-line philosophies while wearing giant paper-mache heads?”

    Why, the lying, war criminals who loathe the concept ‘separation of powers’ and seek to consolidate their illegitimate power grab with
    shameless aplomb. Is there a problem?

    Semanticleo (4741c2)

  33. Is there a problem?

    Yes. You’re an idiot.

    Paul (0544fc)

  34. “Why, the lying, war criminals who loathe the concept ’separation of powers’ and seek to consolidate their illegitimate power grab with
    shameless aplomb. Is there a problem?”

    The main problem is that your silly rhetoric describes no one.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  35. The main problem is that your silly rhetoric describes no one.

    Actually, Robin, it does to the Chimpy McBusHitler crowd. Which is why Rep. Keith Ellison made the idiotic comment comparing the Bush Administration to the Reichstag Fire.

    Unlike some trolls, Ellison apologized for it.

    Paul (0544fc)

  36. Paul, we know that Ellison believes it, he just is barely intelligent enough to know he’d hear it again in his next election campaign.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  37. Beldar,

    I’d love to get your analysis of the privilege claim.

    Patterico (e4e504)

  38. Actually, the LAT claim that Taylor is in tight spot is a self fulfilling prophecy, thanks to the piece itself (and similar articles). If he does prosecute the potential contempt citations, he’s at odds in the White House. If he does not prosecute, he’ll be seen (thanks to the LAT) as crumpling in the face of the White House.

    kishnevi (1c533c)

  39. ” (thanks to the LAT)”
    No, not thanks to the LA Times, thanks, in the eyes of many if not most, to the position itself. Just because you can’t imagine- or want to deny- that there’s an issue here doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

    AF (4a3fa6)

  40. Beldar seems to be predicting that the House leadership will not allow a vote to hold Harriet Miers and Joshua Bolten in contempt of Congress.

    Guess well find out soon:

    http://judiciary.house.gov/newscenter.aspx?A=836

    alphie (015011)

  41. Isn’t that the reverse of the logic you folks use regarding AQ and Iraq?

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  42. No, not thanks to the LA Times, thanks, in the eyes of many if not most, to the position itself.

    You should make that “some, if not all” just to pump up the volume. that way, you might get the attention of another person or two who might think they’re missing some bandwagon.

    Most people couldn’t care less about an issue like this, and of those who do, there’s an understanding of executive privilege and of separation of powers.

    This little “scandal” is dead. Deal with it. There is no wrongdoing, and everyone knows it. Only BDS afflicted nutjobs will argue otherwise.

    Pablo (99243e)

  43. Bob Smith,

    I’ll give you two choices.

    #1: Shut your pie-hole about my ability to do my job as a prosecutor.

    #2: Tell us what you do, where you work, address, and phone # of your boss. All this information is readily available on me. I won’t use it, but your knowing that it’s out there might cause you not to say such a goddamn stupid thing again.

    Look, Bob: it’s not easy having my job and commenting on public issues. I walk a line all the time, and for that reason I have one main rule for commenters. Don’t disparage my ability to do my job.

    Do it again and you’re banned. I won’t warn you again.

    Patterico (2a65a5)

  44. “Patterico, if you can’t grasp why this is a problem you have no business being a prosecutor.”
    that’s funny.

    Actually, AF, it’s not.

    You get the same choice Bob got.

    Patterico (2a65a5)

  45. Pablo,

    Are you sying this scandal is in its last throes?

    We’ll see on Wednesday, I guess:

    (Washington, DC) – Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) announced that the Committee will meet Wednesday, July 25, at 10:15 a.m. in 2141 Rayburn House Office Building to vote on contempt citations for former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, following their refusal to comply with subpoenas issued in the U.S. Attorney investigation.

    alphie (015011)

  46. alphie,

    First of all, one of my quotes is from the second page of the article.

    Second of all, did you even understand the point of my post?

    Prove it to me. Summarize the point of my post in a sentence or two, in a way that I would recognize as accurate. I’m not saying you have to agree; just summarize it. Tell me what I’m saying.

    This is an important skill for meaningful and respectful debate.

    Patterico (2a65a5)

  47. Are you sying this scandal is in its last throes?

    No, I’m saying it’s less than that.

    We’ll see on Wednesday, I guess:

    Been there, done that.

    The only difference is that they’ve moved upstairs.

    Pablo (99243e)

  48. Georgetown Law Prof. Marty Lederman and I debated the underlying privilege issue in general terms back in March in a post of his on Balkinization, one of mine on my blog in response, and then a further email from him that he gave me permission to republish, followed by with my response. It was a very civil debate during which we eventually, I think, agreed on some of the main points from the existing SCOTUS case-law on executive privilege, but agreed to disagree on some of their ramifications here.

    As that case-law relates to the present situation, the lack of an on-going criminal investigation makes this case much less like the Nixon Watergate tapes case, United States v. Nixon, 483 U.S. 683 (1974), in which the assertion of executive privilege was held to be outweighed and the qualified privilege overcome, than it is like the Cheney/national energy policy policy group case, Cheney v. United States District Court, 542 U.S. 367 (2004), in which an executive privilege claim was sustained. And the other key factor in the balancing tests — the closeness of the communications to the Executive — is even stronger in this situation than it was in Cheney.

    Here, these communications are literally at the top of the pyramid, among the very most responsible advisors who are part not just of the Executive Branch, but effectively are acting as surrogates for the Executive himself as part of his White House staff.

    The kind of bootstrapping that Prof. Lederman suggests — for example, his suggestion that Congress is entitled to exercise oversight authority as to whether the President is “taking care to exercise” the Constitution and laws, and that that might be enough to overcome an executive privilege claim as part of the necessary balancing of interests — is exactly the kind of rule-swallowing exception that would be the best the Dems could come up with now, and that any trial court can quickly see through. They don’t have an on-going criminal prosecution; they don’t have the details that from which an indictment could be framed; they’re just on a classic “fishing trip.” When they say, “Of course we can’t give you the details we’d need to frame an indictment until we get the docs and testimony from Miers,” they’re setting themselves up to be slam-dunked right out of court, with the resulting precedent substantially strengthening the Executive in future Congress-versus-Executive fights.

    As to whether Congress can compel a U.S. Attorney to prosecute the Executive for defying a Congressional subpoena, this isn’t a Democrat vs. Republican issue. It’s an Executive vs. Congress issue, on which the Reagan, Clinton, and Bush-43 Administrations have all taken absolutely consistent positions. Saturday’s WaPo noted that:

    But administration officials and other legal scholars, including some Democrats, noted that Justice Department lawyers in the Clinton administration made a similar argument during a controversy with Congress over the nomination of a federal judge.

    Walter E. Dellinger III, who headed the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department then, wrote in a 1995 legal opinion that “the criminal contempt of Congress statute does not apply to the President or presidential subordinates who assert executive privilege.”

    That conclusion echoed a broader legal opinion issued 11 years earlier by then-Assistant Attorney General Theodore B. Olson, who headed the OLC during the first term of the Reagan administration.

    This was, of course, printed on a Saturday and buried on page 3, since it would interfere with the Dems’ PR campaign for the WaPo to run a story that ought to have been headlined: “Bush Adminsitration, Just Like Every Other, Refuses to Prosecute Itself Over Its Refusal to Be Congress’ Simpering Bitch.”

    Beldar (195903)

  49. Patterico,

    You purposefully ignored the space the reporter gave to administration officials to present their side of the story to support your assumption that the Times is biased:

    “From start to finish, the piece is written in a way to make Bush’s invocation of privilege seem legally questionable and politically motivated.”

    As a side note…I think it’s a reasonable assumption that Jeffrey Taylor did not care for the way the administration falsely impugned the reptuations of the attorneys it fired.

    alphie (015011)

  50. That’s a right crappy job of summarizing the point of my post.

    I’ll take it as an admission that you don’t understand the post.

    Patterico (2a65a5)

  51. Smarter trolls, please.

    Patterico (2a65a5)

  52. ” the lack of an on-going criminal investigation makes this case much less like the Nixon Watergate tapes case,”
    This from the man who think Harriet Miers belongs on the Supreme Court.
    “Bush Administration, Just Like Every Other, Refuses to Prosecute Itself Over Its Refusal to Be Congress’ Simpering Bitch.” And this concerning an administration making the argument for a “unitary executive.” Now how ancient is that argument again?

    And since your server won’t let me put it on the post I intended it for, I’ll try here:

    “In April, Jerry Miller, an Illinois man who served 24 years for a rape he did not commit, became the 200th American prisoner cleared by DNA evidence. His case, like the 199 others, represented a catastrophic failure of the criminal justice system.
    When an airplane crashes, investigators pore over the wreckage to discover what went wrong and to learn from the experience. The justice system has not done anything similar.
    Why not Pat? I thought prosecutors were more than simple advocates.

    AF (4a3fa6)

  53. How would you summarize your post, Patterico?

    alphie (015011)

  54. Patterico – How do you tolerate such idiocy ?

    JD (26b504)

  55. I may be wrong, but isn’t alphie supposed to be in law school or something? And isn’t summarizing (along with memorizing) really important in law school? And if so, shouldn’t understanding the summarizing this article be a piece of cake compared to some of the cases the same is required in class?

    buzz (9e5c44)

  56. buzz, another example of why it is a good idea not to believe internet resumes.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  57. Smarter trolls, please.

    Patrick, if they were smarter, they wouldn’t be trolls.

    Paul (0544fc)

  58. Haha, “smarter” trolls.

    We are talking the law here.

    In cases like this, people are just arguing their own personal, partisan biases and there is no objective system of logic to back up these arguments.

    If a Supreme Court decision supports your case…then it’s the Word of God.

    If a Supreme Court decision doesn’t support your case…then it’s an obvious case of “judicial activism” that should be overturned at the soonest possible moment.

    If we were to scrap all the phony cites of “precedence” and “case law” and just look at the logic of it: The President shouldn’t get to decide what his administration is investigated for himself.

    He ain’t a King.

    alphie (015011)

  59. Actually, I think this post proves that Patterico is a competant prosecutor who has to deal with similiar inconveniences like attorney-client priviledge and having to provide defense attorneys with all his evidence. He knows the risks of getting tossed out of court and hoping he can quickly manuver his briefcase so as to prevent his rear end from gettng a hard smack on a cold marble floor.

    Competant prosecutors run into these practical realities every day, unlike professors and columnists. And they suffer real, not theoretical embarassment and real, not theoretical, err, discussions with their bosses when they make mistakes. Not like professors with academic freedom and tenure. And certainly not like columnists.

    Yours,
    Wince

    Wince and Nod (931cf0)

  60. In cases like this, people are just arguing their own personal, partisan biases and there is no objective system of logic to back up these arguments.

    Allow me to repeat Tully’s comment in #7:

    “Don’t forget that the Clinton administration was of the exact same opinion as the Reagan and Bush administrations on the subject.”

    You have “obviously failed to notice that no criminal investigation is involved here, just a Congressional circus, with the requisite fishing expedition, dog & pony show, and witch hunt.”

    I’ll repeat the first line again:

    “Don’t forget that the Clinton administration was of the exact same opinion as the Reagan and Bush administrations on the subject.”

    I’ll repeat it again:

    “Don’t forget that the Clinton administration was of the exact same opinion as the Reagan and Bush administrations on the subject.”

    And again:

    “Don’t forget that the Clinton administration was of the exact same opinion as the Reagan and Bush administrations on the subject.”

    And more more time, in hopes that it will soak through that thick skull that cannot summarize the original post:

    “Don’t forget that the Clinton administration was of the exact same opinion as the Reagan and Bush administrations on the subject.”

    Got it, alphie?

    Paul (0544fc)

  61. Sorry for the super long link.

    Wince and Nod (931cf0)

  62. Paul,

    I think that all Americans, save for the most devout True Believers, want to find out who in the administration made the call to smear the reputations of the U.S. Attorneys they fired.

    alphie (015011)

  63. I think that all Americans, save for the most devout True Believers, want to find out who in the administration made the call to smear the reputations of the U.S. Attorneys they fired.

    You mean the the 50+ that were fired and smeared during the Clinton Administration?

    Paul (0544fc)

  64. Now, Paul,

    If Billy jumped off a cliff, would you do it to?

    Next up in Bush’s defense:

    The legal precedent of Smelt It v. Dealt It.

    alphie (015011)

  65. Next up in Bush’s defense:

    The legal precedent of Smelt It v. Dealt It.

    Something that will never happen:

    alphie actually writing an accurate two-line summary of the original post.

    Paul (0544fc)

  66. Paul,

    How about:

    By an amazing coincidence, my partisan political beliefs exactly match my legal opinions?

    alphie (015011)

  67. alphie,

    How about:

    Writing that accurate two-line summary of the original post? You know, like simply describing what the post is about?

    You know, like aren’t you “supposed to be in law school or something? And isn’t summarizing (along with memorizing) really important in law school? And if so, shouldn’t understanding [and] summarizing this article be a piece of cake compared to some of the cases [that are] required in class?”

    Paul (0544fc)


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