After the predicted DOJ demurring occurs, the House has passed a resolution that allows the HJC to file suit against the parties held in contempt-- which brings us back around to where we started: HJC v. Miers.
According to Press Secretary Dana Perino, the president and White House have "overall disappointment" in former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' politicized Justice Department.
Transcript from White House Press Briefing with Perino today:
QUESTION: Dana, what's your reaction to the Justice Department report where they -- the report essentially says, yes, that there was inappropriate influence on politics and ideology that was part of our hiring and firing practices?
PERINO: Well as I have read the coverage of it -- I haven't read the report, but as I read the coverage of it, there's obviously information in there that would cause concern to anybody. And we agree with Michael Mukasey that -- the Attorney General -- that there was concern. There should be concern any time anyone is improperly using politics to influence career decisions. We believe that is improper. We could absolutely not defend that. And we are pleased that the Attorney General has taken steps to change it there at the Justice Department.
QUESTION: Can I infer from that that President Bush is disappointed in Alberto Gonzales?
PERINO: I think that if you look at the report, and it is in line with what the Attorney General said at the time, which was that he was not aware of that going on. And so I don't think there's anything -- disappointment doesn't necessarily go to the Attorney General.
QUESTION: You don't think it would change -- it doesn't change the President's . . .
PERINO: No, I don't. The whole situation -- the whole situation in terms of the politicization -- or accusations of politicization -- if you look at career hires that should not have had any sort of questions put towards them as to what sort of party they represent, or what affiliation they might belong to, or who they might vote for -- those are inappropriate for career positions. And the President is glad that the -- Attorney General Mukasey made sure that that is no longer ongoing at the Justice Department. And it's nothing that we could defend, and we never have.
QUESTION: But you won't go so far as to say that, looking at Alberto Gonzales's Justice Department, President Bush is disappointed this was going on?
PERINO: Well, I think that we are -- overall disappointment in the situation, sure.
To see Perino express the White House's disappointment in living color, click below:
We wrote late Monday about the possibility of Margaret Chiara, one of the the nine fired U.S. attorneys, being dismissed over the rumors that she was in a lesbian relationship with assistant U.S. Attorney Leslie Hagen. The OIG report released on Monday morning disclosed that Hagen was refused a promotion at Main Justice after Monica Goodling got wind of stories about her alleged sexual orientation and her rumored relationship with Chiara.
In a statement yesterday to the Los Angeles Times, Chiara stated she agreed that the stories were the source of her firing:
"I could not begin to understand how I found myself sharing the misfortune of my former colleagues," Chiara said of the eight other U.S. attorneys who were fired. "Now I understand."
Justice officials said after her firing that Chiara was let go because of mismanagement and because she had caused morale in her office to sink. Chiara said Monday she believed those concerns were raised by the same people who spread rumors about her and Hagen.
"I guess now I am persuaded with deep regret that this is what was the basis," she added. "There is nothing else."
The next phase of Inspector General's report is due out any day now. Maybe it will shed more light on the issue of why Chiara, and the other dismissed U.S. attorneys, lost their presidential appointments.
Throughout the investigation of improper political influence on the Department of Justice's hiring process, the DOJ's inspector general interviewed 85 people -- but only one from the White House.
The IG, Glenn Fine, testifying this morning before the Senate Judiciary Committee, said that Karl Rove aide Scott Jennings was the only White House official he sought to interview for his report released Monday.
"Why were no others at the White House questioned?" Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) asked Fine.
"From the evidence that we had, both emails and discussions, we did not see that others were involved in this process, and we questioned the person who was involved," Fine said, referring to Jennings.
The process Fine was referring to was the partisan screening of prospective prosecutors and judges.
Yet Fine did note at least one exception, an example his report cited of a prospective immigration judge who was appointed after Rove expressed support for the candidate.
Fine was said he did not believe any of the misconduct described in his 140-page report called for criminal prosecution for false statements.
"We looked at that and clearly in our judgment and in the judgement of prosecutors who have been working on this case, we do not think there was a sufficient basis for a criminal prosecution for false statements."
Here's the exchange between Specter and Fine.
The final vote was 20 ayes and 14 nays. With Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) voting "absolutely, 100% aye."
In a memo on the Full Committee meeting, Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) summarized the facts surrounding Rove's refusal to even appear before the committee and assert executive privilege:
Mr. Rove has refused even to appear before the Committee and assert whatever privileges that he believes may apply to his testimony, relying on excessively broad and legally insufficient claims of "absolute immunity" - never recognized by any court - in declining to appear.
The former mayor of Newark was sentenced to two years in prison yesterday for selling city land to a 39-year-old mistress who is close to half his age. Former mayor Sharpe James apologized to his family and admitted to making "a mistake" before going into custody. (AP)
General Norton Schwartz, the Bush administration's nominee to be the next Air Force Chief of Staff, will face an uncommon second round of classified questioning from the Senate today. Schwartz faces questions over testimony he gave after the initial invasion of Iraq and concerns that he withheld information. (LA Times)
Former Dallas district attorney Henry Wade's legacy is in shambles seven years after his death. Some 19 convictions for murder, rape, and robbery that Wade and two of his trained successors won have been overturned due to DNA exonerations. No other county in America has freed more innocent people in recent years than Dallas. (AP)
Democratic Senators from the Environment and Public Works Committee called for the resignation of EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, in a press release published this afternoon.
Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) was joined by committee members Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) in charging that Johnson had given "misleading testimony before Congress," "refused to cooperate" with Oversight investigations and had politicized decisions before the EPA.
The senators asked Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey to investigate apparent contradictions between the sworn testimony of Administrator Johnson and the testimony of other sworn witnesses regarding the circumstances surrounding EPA's denial California's request for a waiver under the Clean Air Act to set strong standards for global warming emissions from vehicles.
Johnson has repeatedly refused to appear before Congressional committees, including the Senate Judiciary Committee, who canceled a hearing scheduled for tomorrow, July 30, after Johnson informed them he would not be coming.
When Johnson has testified, however, as he did in May before the House Oversight committee, he has often driven questioners to furious distraction in his refusal to answer questions, and his inability to recount events.