Things started out rough for Attorney General Michael Mukasey.
First he only managed confirmation by the skin of his teeth, because he refused
to brand waterboarding as torture. Then he ticked everybody off
when the Justice Department asked Congress to shut down their investigations of the CIA torture tapes' destruction until the DoJ finished up. And then there's the KBR rape case
But Mukasey's a man with a big heart and big plans. Or something like that. Roll Call reports
(sub. req.) that Mukasey "has shelved any animosity he might feel toward Democrats."
Among the signs of good will: occasionally consulting with members of Congress (with Alberto Gonzales as your predecessor, it's easy to impress). He's already reached out to a number, Roll Call
reports, including Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), whose questions
caused all that waterboarding-trouble, and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT). A Justice Department aide is quoted saying "The new attorney generalâs view is whether weâre going to agree or disagree on the merits, I want to have a good personal relationship with Pat Leahy.â
That will be put to the test when Mukasey appears before the Senate Judicary Committee at the end of this month (Update
: the hearing has been scheduled
for January 30th). Leahy has promised
to grill Mukasey about the CIA tapes investigation and his views on waterboarding. And a Leahy aide tells Roll Call
that the proof is in the pudding: âThe relationship between the attorney general and the Judiciary Committee is still developing, and there are outstanding requests from the chairman and others for information and cooperation.â
And about House Judiciary Committee Chair John Conyers (D-MI)? He got a "courtesy call," before Mukasey was confirmed and though "they got along personally, Justice Department aides said, the House is particularly partisan." So it seems that the charm offensive won't be concentrating on the House.