Patterico's Pontifications


DRJ Pores Through the Border Patrol Trial Transcripts – Cross-Examination of Jose Compean (Volumes XIII-XIV):

Filed under: Crime,General,Immigration — DRJ @ 9:52 pm

The testimony of the last witness, Jose Alonso Compean, concluded late Friday evening and the parties rested.

Compean was a weak witness because he was unable to explain many of his actions, but his story was more consistent than I expected. It seems clear that this case came down to whether the jury believed Aldrete-Davila or Agents Ramos and Compean. The agents’ failure to report the shooting could have been a big factor in who the jury believed.

One of the factors the prosecutor focused on was that Compean should have realized Aldrete-Davila did not pose a threat that day. Hindsight suggests it’s true Aldrete-Davila was just trying to get to Mexico but I wouldn’t be as certain as the prosecutor in a real-life situation.

Finally, the sealed testimony was recorded and redacted at the beginning of Transcript Volume XIV. Based on various references in the transcript, I think it’s likely the subjects of the sealed testimony were Aldrete-Davila’s alleged second offense in October 2005 and Rene Sanchez.


Did That Guy Resign?

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Humor — Patterico @ 3:52 pm

The L.A. Times web site . . . always current and up-to-date:


I took that screenshot today. Martinez quit on March 22.

I mean, we already knew these Old Media types were slow on the uptake — but this is ridiculous.

P.S. If there is a serious point to be made here, it probably has to do with the importance the paper assigns to its web site.

Or, uh, lack thereof.

The Benefits of Having Lower Standards Than the L.A. Times

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 2:38 pm

I spoke to L.A. Times Op-Ed and Current Editor Nick Goldberg today on the phone about his nixing Jack Dunphy’s proposed piece about LAPD’s anti-gang initiatives. The background is in this post of mine from Thursday. Briefly, Dunphy contacted Goldberg proposing to write an article about (to use Dunphy’s words) “the sham that is the LAPD’s new anti-gang efforts.” Goldberg said no.

I asked Goldberg today why he refused to give a green light to Dunphy’s proposed piece. Goldberg e-mailed me this quote, which he authorized me to use:

We’re reluctant to use anonymous pieces. While I don’t want to close the door to Dunphy forever — he’s a good writer and he brings an important point of view — I want to keep it infrequent and I want to limit it, if possible, to pieces that really are special in some way. The more I think about it, the more I don’t want him just writing on any old LAPD subject. As I’ve told you before, we don’t let people write without using their real name except in extraordinary circumstances.

Goldberg also pointed out that the paper has run two pieces by LAPD officers in the past week: this piece by “L.A. Rex” author Will Beall, and this piece by Central Division Captain Andrew Smith.

I take Goldberg at his word when he says that he hasn’t blackballed Dunphy entirely. I find Goldberg to be a smart and honorable guy. But I am distressed by this part of Goldberg’s quote: “The more I think about it, the more I don’t want him just writing on any old LAPD subject.” That sounds to me like we’re not going to be seeing much from Jack Dunphy in the pages of the L.A. Times. After all, the LAPD is what Dunphy knows best. Dunphy is a capable writer on other subjects, but his best pieces all relate to the LAPD, where his experiences infuse his writing with the sure authority of someone who actually knows what he’s talking about.

I don’t know what “any old LAPD subject” means. I don’t know what it would take for Goldberg to find a Dunphy topic to be “really . . . special in some way.” I hate to be a pessimist, but Goldberg’s quote makes it hard to be an optimist. Dunphy is not just any anonymous submitter of op-eds. He has been published in the L.A. Times many times before. He has met L.A. Times personnel (and he has met me). They know that he is who he says he is. The paper is far less likely to be embarrassed by a Dunphy piece than they are to be embarrassed by some random piece submitted by, say, the owner of a sewer pipe company.

To me, all Dunphy pieces “really are special in some way” — because the quality of the writing, coupled with the insights they convey, are head and shoulders above what most writers in The Times are capable of producing.

Take, for example, Dunphy’s latest piece from National Review Online, titled Where Have All the Fathers Gone? Here is a sample of the sort of writing that L.A. Times readers are missing:

I met the boy one summer day while taking refuge from the heat. I had parked my police car beneath the spreading boughs of a large tree, one of the few spots in the neighborhood that offered a patch of shade. He rode his bicycle down the sidewalk past me two or three times, slowing a little with each successive pass to allow himself a better look inside the car and at all the hardware it contained. I recall doing much the same when I was his age.

On the next pass I called him over and invited him to sit in the front seat, which he did with great enthusiasm. He checked out the car’s computer and my flashlight, but of course he was most interested in the emergency lights, which he delighted in turning on and off and on and off.

We continued to meet in this fashion once or twice a week over that summer, and before long I met his sisters (one of whom was his twin) and their parents. They had moved from Colorado, they said, to be near relatives in southern California. They had heard that things were rough in parts of Los Angeles but they weren’t prepared for the life they found in this building and on this block.

They couldn’t afford much. The father was disabled, and the family got along on government assistance and charity from their church, so when they found the apartment on the tree-lined street they considered it a blessing. But they could smell the marijuana and hear the loud music coming from the other apartments all day and all night, they said, and some of the young men in the building sold drugs on the street.

The kids adopted a stray puppy, a scrawny little mutt they found wandering the street one day. They named him Lucky. But even inexpensive dog food was a luxury beyond the family’s means, so they fed it whatever meager scraps were left from their own table. I took to dropping off cans of dog food from time to time, and sometimes I chipped in for the family’s food or medicine or for some little toy for the kids. When I dropped in my presence was greeted with stony silence from the other tenants in the building.

One day I was parked in my usual spot under the tree and saw my little friend riding down the sidewalk toward me. But instead of stopping at my car as I expected him to, he just kept on riding as if he didn’t see me.

Some of the boy’s neighbors, I came to learn, took a dim view of the boy’s friendliness with the police, and they had dispatched an older, larger boy to teach him a lesson. My little friend had taken a beating, one that achieved its intended purpose. It was many days before the boy would so much as look at me again, and even then it was only when he was safely out of the view of his neighbors.

It’s a good thing that standards are so much lower at National Review Online than they are at the Los Angeles Times, so that writing like this can see the light of day.

Jack, my standards are lower here, too! So please: keep that guest login handy.

Former DoJ Official: Pursuing Voter Fraud Cases Indicates Intent to Depress Minority Turnout

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 12:30 pm

Lefties have been citing an L.A. Times op-ed by a former Justice Department official, who claims that Bush has politicized the Justice Department. It’s an eye-opening allegation — but if you actually read the piece, you quickly conclude that the author’s viewpoint is so skewed as to render his entire piece suspect. For example, he actually sees voter fraud cases as indicative of an intent to depress minority turnout:

[The Justice Department under Bush] has notably shirked its legal responsibility to protect voting rights. From 2001 to 2006, no voting discrimination cases were brought on behalf of African American or Native American voters. U.S. attorneys were told instead to give priority to voter fraud cases, which, when coupled with the strong support for voter ID laws, indicated an intent to depress voter turnout in minority and poor communities.

Or maybe it indicated an intent to fight voter fraud, sir.

I’m sorry, but I can’t take seriously anything the guy says after that. I actually find it disturbing that somebody with such a warped perspective held such a high-ranking position in the Justice Department (his op-ed bio says that he was “chief of the voting section in the Justice Department’s civil right[s] division from 1999 to 2005.”)

Reading on, I find more nonsense:

[Interim U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri Bradley] Schlozman was acting assistant attorney general in charge of the division when the Justice Department OKd a Georgia law requiring voters to show photo IDs at the polls. These decisions went against the recommendations of career staff, who asserted that such rulings discriminated against minority voters.

What? To me, such laws are designed to ensure that voter fraud is not taking place. But Mr. Rich doesn’t seem to care much about voter fraud, except to assert that investigating it shows a motivation to depress minority turnout.

Schlozman continued to influence elections as an interim U.S. attorney. Missouri had one of the closest Senate races in the country last November, and a week before the election, Schlozman brought four voter fraud indictments against members of an organization representing poor and minority people. This blatantly contradicted the department’s long-standing policy to wait until after an election to bring such indictments because a federal criminal investigation might affect the outcome of the vote. The timing of the Missouri indictments could not have made the administration’s aims more transparent.

Wait a second. How does it affect an election to indict somebody for voter fraud — as long as the indictment is legally proper? Doesn’t it affect an election to allow somebody who is committing voter fraud to continue to do so before an election?

But did Schlozman have the goods? As to at least one of those individuals, Dale D. Franklin, he apparently did. Earlier this year, Franklin pleaded guilty to voter fraud:

Dale D. Franklin, 44, of Kansas City, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple this morning to the charge contained in a Nov. 1, 2006, federal indictment.

. . . .

Franklin worked as a voter registration recruiter for ACORN in late September and early October 2006, obtaining voter registrations prior to the Nov. 7, 2006, election. Franklin admitted that he knowingly caused to be furnished to the Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners a voter registration application on which Franklin forged the signature of the applicant and on which the address and telephone number listed were false.

Rich has since joined the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, whose mission statement is “to represent the interest of African Americans in particular, other racial and ethnic minorities, and other victims of discrimination, where doing so can help to secure justice for all racial and ethnic minorities.” Attorneys for this organization can pursue discrimination cases without giving a second thought to whether doing so will drain resources from voter fraud cases. I think Mr. Rich will be much happier there.

I’d read this op-ed with a skeptical eye. If the quoted passages make sense to you, then the rest of the op-ed probably will too. If, like me, they leave you with a furrowed brow and a headache, then (like me) you will be inclined to discount the rest of it as the ravings of an off-kilter individual.


Something Smells About This Sewer-Related “Op-Ad” in the L.A. Times

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 8:28 pm

The L.A. Times has invented a new type of opinion piece: the “op-ad.”

Stay with me on this. I promise you that the payoff will be worth it.

Thomas Rooney is the President and CEO of Insituform Technologies, Inc. Here is a screenshot from his company’s web site, with a quote from Mr. Rooney about the “national epidemic” the country faces as a result of bad sewer pipes:


(I have temporarily redacted something from this screenshot, for humor purposes. It will appear unredacted later in the post.)

Luckily, this is a “national epidemic” for which Mr. Rooney’s Insituform Technologies has the cure. You see, Insituform sells and installs new sewer pipes, which replace the old ones causing the “epidemic.” It’s in Rooney’s company’s best interest to make old, deteriorating sewer pipes sound like a real problem.

Here is an ad for Mr. Rooney’s company:

Note the language used at the beginning of the video:

Most sewer pipes were built 60 years ago,

but . . .

. . . but were only meant to last 50 years.

Do the math . . .

Remember that language. You’ll see it again.

As blogger explains, it turns out that someone calling himself “Jim” sent an unsolicited e-mail — what most of us call “spam” — pushing an article penned by Mr. Rooney:

[J]ust two weeks ago I got a[n] unsolicited e-mail from “Jim” with the subject line, “This guy predicted that sinkhole in Guatemala.” You tend to remember spam about sinkholes. I had no idea what “that sinkhole in Guatemala” was, but “this guy” turned out to be Thomas Rooney, and as near as I can tell, Jim wanted me to post an article [Rooney had] written about sinkholes.

(H/t Kaus via Linda S.)

The op-ed happens to discuss the vital issue of (you guessed it) deteriorating sewer pipes.

The blogger discovered that Rooney’s article — the very same piece that “Jim” had quoted in a spam e-mail to — had already been posted online . . . at least twice. It had already appeared (in a slightly different form), in a publication called “Inside the Bay Area,” on December 19, 2006. You can read it here. It contains the following line:

Most water and sewer pipes in America were built 60 years ago, but [were] meant to last 50 years. Do the math . . .

Where have I heard that before?

Oddly, the entire article also ended up getting reproduced, in its entirety, in a blog comment by someone named “Nancy” at this blog site. The date was March 8, 2007 — a little over three weeks ago (and months after the piece first appeared in “Inside the Bay Area”).

And now, you’ll never guess which is the latest publication to publish this “op-ad.”

Well, I suppose you already did guess. I did kind of give you a hint, up at the top of the post.

And in the headline.

Yup, sure enough, here is what confronted me on the L.A. Times web site today:


It looks like “Jim” got to the editors of the L.A. Times! (It’s a little-known fact that the editors are also avid consumers of Viagra and penis-extension devices. Really! Just ask them!)

Yes, it’s the very same piece that “Jim” tried to foist on — and that appeared in “Inside the Bay Area” in December 2006, and in a blog comment over three weeks ago.

You won’t be surprised to learn that, according to Rooney’s piece, it turns out that the problem of old pipes is an “epidemic”:

And this year is shaping up to be even worse. From Hawaii to New York, Alaska to North Carolina and everywhere in between, an epidemic of breaking pipes is causing unprecedented havoc.

Here’s my favorite line from the op-ad:

Yet for all this damage, few people understand how broken pipes create sinkholes. Most water and sewer pipes in the United States were built 60 years ago — but were meant to last 50 years. Do the math.

I’m getting that deja vu feeling — all over again.

The L.A. Times piece ends with this line:

We’re Insituform. We fix more broken sewer pipes than any other company in the world.

No, wait, sorry — that’s wrong. That language is nowhere in the L.A. Times piece. It’s from the video I showed you earlier.

I keep mixing them up.

How does Mr. Rooney feel about having gotten to place an op-ad in today’s L.A. Times? It’s time to unredact that screenshot:

rooney.JPG has a pretty convincing explanation for this embarrassment. Remember that the Brian Grazer-edited Current section on Sunday was suddenly killed, meaning that editors had to scramble to put a new one together, quickly. They actually did a pretty good job — but it turns out that the editors robbed Peter to pay Paul. Put simply, they stole the good pieces from the upcoming week, and ran them in Sunday Current.

But that left them with a shortage of good pieces to run during the week. Meaning they had to dig a little deeper than they might have preferred.

Which leads us to the Rooney op-ad.

I might almost feel sorry for L.A. Times editors — except that they somehow don’t seem to have space in their paper for Jack Dunphy.

Jack, I have figured out your problem. You just don’t have the right representation. I think I’ve found the guy who can help you get your pieces placed in the L.A. Times.

His name is “Jim.”

P.S. I know, I know. Maybe old sewer pipes are a real problem. But here’s the thing: if the editors truly felt this was a critical issue, couldn’t they have found someone a little more dispassionate to write about it?

Those Three Deceptive Dots . . .

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 12:00 am

An ellipsis is a dangerous thing in the hands of L.A. Times reporter Richard Serrano.

In his coverage of Kyle Sampson’s testimony, he uses an ellipsis in quoting Sampson’s prepared remarks:

Noting that “the distinction between ‘political’ and ‘performance-related’ reasons for removing a United States attorney is, in my view, largely artificial,” Sampson said: “A U.S. attorney who is unsuccessful from a political perspective … is unsuccessful.”

This sounds an awful lot like Sampson is confirming the worst charges of the Democrats — that the Administration sought to remove U.S. Attorneys who didn’t fashion political prosecutions in a manner pleasing to Washington politicians.

Except . . . what’s in the ellipsis? Let’s go to the source:

Presidential appointees are judged not only on their professional skills but also their management abilities, their relationships with law enforcement and other governmental leaders, and their support for the priorities of the President and the Attorney General.

. . . .

Thus, the distinction between “political” and “performance-related” reasons for removing a United States Attorneys is, in my view, largely artificial. A U.S. Attorney who is unsuccessful from a political perspective, either because he or she has alienated the leadership of the Department in Washington or cannot work constructively with law enforcement or other governmental constituencies in the district important to effective leadership of the office, is unsuccessful.

The L.A. Times‘s Serrano uses an ellipsis to remove the bolded passage, which explains that “unsuccessful from a political perspective” doesn’t mean “prosecutes too many Republicans and not enough Democrats,” but instead means “refuses to implement Administration priorities, and alienates local law enforcement and home Senators.”

I know, I know. They have to cut out something. But somehow, the part they cut out is always the part that helps the Administration case.

This is nothing new. In an earlier post, I showed that a story authored by Serrano used ellipses to distort a Kyle Sampson memo. Sampson’s memo described strong and weak U.S. Attorneys in this way:

bold = Recommend retaining; strong U.S. Attorneys who have produced, managed well, and exhibited loyalty to the President and Attorney General.
strikeout = Recommend removing: weak U.S. Attorneys who have been ineffectual managers and prosecutors, chafed against Administration initiatives, etc.

Seeking to emphasize the political motivations of the Administration, Serrano removed the bolded parts, which showed that the Administration cared about good results and management, and left in the portions dealing with loyalty. Serrano quoted Sampson as recommending the retention of “strong U.S. attorneys who have … exhibited loyalty to the president and attorney general.” The article further quoted Sampson as recommending “removing weak U.S. Attorneys who have … chafed against Administration initiatives.”

There is a pattern here, and it isn’t pretty.

UPDATE: Interesting. The story has now been edited to remove the above passage. It now reads like this:

Sampson denied that any of the firings was done for improper reasons, but he said that politics in the broadest sense was a legitimate reason for replacing U.S. attorneys, who are appointed by the president.

It still doesn’t explain what Sampson meant by “politics in the broadest sense” — but the misleading ellipsis is gone. The deceptive ellipsis apparently didn’t make it past the editors . . . this time.

But the episode is very revealing about how the reporters want to portray things. For that reason, I’m glad I caught the initial version.


Revenge Is the Best Revenge

Filed under: General,Humor,Scum — Patterico @ 11:31 pm

Remember Eliot Stein, the guy who cybersquatted on The guy who, while Cathy was dying, wrote a “letter” purporting to be from Cathy, in which “Cathy” called her daughter a “skank” and herself a “hack” and a terrible parent?

Remember that guy?

Well, payback is a bitch.

(Link is not safe for work.)

The post title is the invention of Amy Alkon. I have no idea who is responsible for the linked site.

But whoever it is, they have — to quote Eliot Stein’s description of himself — an “incredible sense of humor.”

(H/t Ray Richmond.)

Jack Dunphy Gets Nixed by the L.A. Times — Again

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 11:09 pm

Regular readers will recall that, back in October, Jack Dunphy contacted me claiming that he had been blackballed by the L.A. Times. I intervened with Current Editor Nick Goldberg, who assured me it was a misunderstanding, and that Dunphy has not been banned from the paper. Goldberg said that there was a new concern over publishing pieces under a pseudonym, but that Dunphy’s pieces would be considered on a case-by-case basis.

I told Dunphy that I wanted to keep an eye on the situation, and to let me know if he got turned down again. This morning he wrote me to say:


I wrote to Nick Goldberg proposing to do a piece about the sham that is the LAPD’s new anti-gang efforts, which to date amount to more meetings, more paperwork, more bureaucracy, and very little else.

Denied. He expressed an interest in running my stuff from time to time, but not right now.

Oh well.


I find this odd. It’s not as though the paper considers law enforcement efforts to combat gangs to be a non-story. After all, they put a story on the issue on the front page of the California section today.

Then again, that story (L.A. gang prosecutions called overzealous) took the anti-law enforcement, ACLU perspective. You know the drill: bitch about the harm gangs are doing, and then bitch again when law enforcement actually tries to do something about the problem. It’s typical L.A. Times “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” journalism, from the loony-left perspective.

So maybe the editors think anti-gang efforts are newsworthy topics only when law enforcement can be slammed.

Or maybe Nick Goldberg has really banned Dunphy, but is just breaking the news to him very slowly.

We’ll continue to monitor this, and I’ll write Goldberg and see if he’ll explain why he wasn’t interested.

In the meantime, I have told Dunphy that any piece that he considers to be too provincial for NROnline can and should be published right here. Keep your fingers crossed; maybe the L.A. Times‘s loss will be this blog’s gain.

UPDATE: Here is what the paper does consider suitable for its op-ed pages. And Goldberg responds here.

Gonzales Must Go — Or, I Am Defending the Truth, Not the Administration

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:53 pm

A blogger I respect, who shall remain nameless, writes:


I’ve read most of your Purge-gate posts with dismay. In brief, you are investing your credibility and integrity with an administration that does not deserve it.

Hold on there, hoss! Who said my purpose was defending the Administration?!

I started this post last night, before the weaselly Kyle Sampson testified, but its essential content remains the same. Apparently, I need to reiterate something I have said before: at this point, I don’t see myself as defending the Administration on this issue. Rather, I am pointing out lies told by Administration opponents.

One of those lies is that the Administration articulated no principled reasons for firing the U.S. Attorneys before the fact. Refuting that falsehold requires me to set out proof that they did articulate such reasons. Now, I don’t know whether those reasons were the real reasons or not. But they damn well were articulated.

Further, I have made it clear that I think Kyle Sampson schemed to lie to Congress. That much is evidence from this quote from a Sampson e-mail (in particular the last sentence):


As I said in this post:

When someone puts the phrase “good faith” in quotes, you should watch your back.

I agree with Sampson (and have said previously) that the Administration has bungled the explanation of these firings.

So, no, I’m not putting myself in the line of fire for this cast of clowns, which includes at least one liar, and maybe more.

I’m glad Sampson quit. He should have.

In addition, I think it’s time Gonzales hit the road. I admire Ed Whelan considerably, and I find myself in agreement with his views on Alberto Gonzales, expressed here, here, and here.

It is indeed time for Gonzales to go. In fact, it’s past time.

This conclusion is only corroborated by Sampson’s confirmation today that Gonzales was more involved in the specifics than he has claimed.

But I agree with Whelan: that doesn’t mean that everything Democrats have said about Gonzales and the Administration is true. Like Whelan, I have utter skepticism for the very weak case that U.S. Attorneys were fired for the express purpose of derailing prosecutions against Republicans, or jump-starting prosecutions against Democrats. Maybe that happened, but I see precious little evidence of it.

So make no mistake: I feel no duty to sit by and watch as the L.A. Times and other leftists distort the record. And I will continue to correct the record when I find it distorted by those on the left.

For example, this morning I documented the absolute travesty of the L.A. Times‘s decision to bury any mention of the clear fact that Bud Cummins has disputed the central premise of a major L.A. Times story on this controversy. I am proud of that post, in which I said:

It’s not “defending the Administration” to point this out. It’s defending the concept of giving the public the whole truth. The L.A. Times has made a deliberate decision to hide the whole truth from its readers. That’s what upsets me.

An analogy may help make the point. Imagine that a criminal defendant is accused of murder. There is evidence that he did it. The evidence includes the police’s discovery that the defendant’s alibi was fabricated. In other words, the defendant lied. But the cops go too far, and plant his DNA at the scene.

If you denounce the police for planting evidence, I suppose folks could say: hey, you’re risking your credibility by defending a known liar! But that would be an unfair characterization of your actions. In reality, denouncing the police is simply defending the truth, and the integrity of the process. This is a valid thing to do, whether the defendant is guilty or not.

It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve taken up the defendant’s side. It just means that, even if he’s guilty, it’s wrong for people to lie about him.

P.S. I think the person who has shed the most revealing light on the controversy, not surprisingly, is Jan Crawford Greenburg:

The firestorm over the fired U.S. attorneys was sparked last month when a top Justice Department official ignored guidance from the White House and rejected advice from senior administration lawyers over his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The official, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, ignored White House Counsel Harriet Miers and senior lawyers in the Justice Department when he told the committee last month of specific reasons why the administration fired seven U.S. attorneys — and appeared to acknowledge for the first time that politics was behind one dismissal. McNulty’s testimony directly conflicted with the approach Miers advised, according to an unreleased internal White House e-mail described to ABC News. According to that e-mail, sources said, Miers said the administration should take the firm position that it would not comment on personnel issues.

Until McNulty’s testimony, administration officials had consistently refused to publicly say why specific attorneys were dismissed and insisted that the White House had complete authority to replace them. That was Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ approach when he testified before the committee in January.

But McNulty, who worked on Capitol Hill 12 years, believed he had little choice but to more fully discuss the circumstances of the attorneys’ firings, according to a a senior Justice Department official familiar the circumstances. McNulty believed the senators would demand additional information, and he was confident he could draw on a long relationship with New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, in explaining in more detail, sources told ABC News.

Sounds convincing to me. Read it all.

What Tomorrow’s Lead Story Should Be

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:36 pm

I have been watching the re-run of Kyle “The Dweeb-Weasel” Sampson’s testimony on C-SPAN. TPM Muckraker — which has owned the lefty side of this story, and has done a fairly principled and incredibly thorough job of covering it — has numerous posts and entertaining You Tube clips of the testimony. Luckily, they have captured in a succinct clip the part that, in my own independent viewing of the testimony, I determined to be the most newsworthy thing that the Dweeb-Weasel said all day.

Rather than summarize it, I will bow to the magic of video and just let you watch it (supplemented by a transcript that I have personally prepared). But first, let me set it up, because the background is critical.

Before the clip starts, Dick Durbin is asking Sampson about Patrick Fitzgerald, and the fact (which I mocked in this post) that Sampson listed him as among the group of U.S. Attorneys that “have not distinguished themselves either positively or negatively.” I found that a rather odd thing to say about the guy who convicted the World Trade Center bomber and the Governor of Illinois.

Our friend WLS, himself an Assistant U.S. Attorney, had argued that “being a great prosecutor in the courtroom is not guarantee that he’s even a passably good US Attorney.” Unfortunately, that dog won’t hunt, given Sampson’s testimony.

Sampson acknowledged that, by all accounts, Fitzgerald was not only an impressive prosecutor in his own right, but a “strong, effective U.S. Attorney.” But he didn’t want to rate him as strong, because he knew that Fitzgerald was handling a “sensitive case” involving the Administration. Given that factor, he “didn’t want to go anywhere near that” — in other words, he didn’t want to rate Fitzgerald at all.

And now, to the clip:

DURBIN: Were you ever party to any conversation about the removal of Patrick Fitzgerald from his position as Northern District U.S. Attorney?

SAMPSON: I remember on one occasion, in 2006, in discussing the removal of U.S. Attorneys, or the process of considering some U.S. Attorneys that might be asked to resign, that I was speaking with Harriet Miers and Bill Kelley, and I raised Pat Fitzgerald. And immediately after I did it, I regretted it. I thought, I knew that it was the wrong thing to do. I knew that it was inappropriate. And I remember at the time that Miss Miers and Bill Kelley said nothing. They just looked at me. And I — I immediately regretted it, and I withdrew it at the time, and I regret it now.

DURBIN: Do you recall what you said at the time, about Patrick Fitzgerald?

SAMPSON: I said: Patrick Fitzgerald could be added to this list.

DURBIN: And there was no response?

SAMPSON: No. They looked at me like I had said something totally inappropriate, and I had.

DURBIN: Why did you say it? Why did you recommend or at least suggest that he be removed as U.S. Attorney?

SAMPSON: I’m not sure, I think, I don’t remember. I think it was maybe to get a reaction from them. I don’t think that I ever — I know that I never seriously considered putting Pat Fitzgerald on a list, and he never did appear on a list.

It certainly does cement the image of Kyle Sampson as clueless boob — an image I already had of him. (Technically, I called him a “dishonest bonehead” in a previous post. Close enough. I stand by both characterizations.)

I will say, though, that if you believe him — I said if — then his testimony does some credit to Miers and Kelley, in that their reaction appears to have been one of incredulity rather than receptiveness.

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