The Post’s James Grimaldi got an exclusive interview with Walter Monegan, the canned Alaska Public Safety Commissioner at the center of Palin trooper-gate scandal. And he basically says Palin is lying in her assertion that while some of her aides contacting Monegan about firing her brother-in-law, that she herself did not.

The key passage …

Monegan, 57, a respected former chief of the Anchorage Police Department, said in an interview with The Washington Post’s James V. Grimaldi on Friday that the governor repeatedly brought up the topic of her ex-brother-in-law, Michael Wooten, after Monegan became the state’s commissioner of public safety in December 2006. Palin’s husband, Todd, met with Monegan and presented a dossier of information about Wooten, who was going through a bitter custody battle with Palin’s sister, Molly. Monegan also said Sarah Palin sent him e-mails on the subject, but Monegan declined to disclose them, saying he planned to give them to a legislative investigator looking into the matter.

Palin initially denied that she or anyone in her administration had ever pressured Monegan to fire the trooper, but this summer acknowledged more than a half a dozen contacts over the matter, including one phone call from a Palin administration official to a state police lieutenant. The call was recorded and was released by Palin’s office this month. Todd Palin told a television reporter in Alaska that he did meet with Monegan, but said he was just “informing” Monegan about the issue, not exerting pressure.

“She never directly asked me to fire him,” Monegan said.

The wiggle-room here, as you can see, is what it means to ‘pressure’ as opposed to ‘inform’. But look at how Palin described what happened (from an August 14th article in the ADN) …

Palin, who has previously said her administration didn’t exert pressure to get rid of trooper Mike Wooten, also disclosed that members of her staff had made about two dozen contacts with public safety officials about the trooper.

“I do now have to tell Alaskans that such pressure could have been perceived to exist although I have only now become aware of it,” Palin said.

The majority of the calls came from Palin’s chief of staff at the time, Mike Tibbles, according to information gathered by the state attorney general’s office. Attorney General Talis Colberg and Palin’s husband, Todd, also contacted Monegan about the trooper.

Palin said she’d only known about some of the contacts and never asked anyone on her staff to get in touch with state public safety officials about Wooten.

“Many of these inquiries were completely appropriate. However, the serial nature of the contacts could be perceived as some kind of pressure, presumably at my direction,” she said.

Okay, so first Palin claims there was no pressure. Then she learns of these calls. And while many of them are entirely appropriate, some are not. And she can see that the “serial nature of the contacts could be perceived as some kind of pressure, presumably at my direction.”

And yet, according to Monegan, she herself was doing exactly the same thing she later professed to be so shocked that others were doing. So how credible is it that she wasn’t directing her staff to pressure Monegan when she was doing the same thing herself? And what difference does it even make? It seems quite clear that all of this emanated from Pallin and that she was actively in it. So she abused her power as governor and then almost certainly lied about her involvement. Why did McCain pick her?

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