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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Republicans and Justice

What will it take for Congress to get to the heart of the Bush Justice Department scandal and hold those responsible accountable?

My guess is that the depth of corruption in the Bush DOJ will not be revealed without the help of honest Republicans (yes, there are some). I don't think Democrats can do it on their own. Will honest Republicans become nauseated enough to stand up and play roles similar to that of Howard Baker during the Watergate investigation?

Perhaps there is reason to hope. Alabama attorney Jill Simpson is perhaps the most prominent Republican to stick her neck out, at great personal risk, and say that former Democratic Governor Don Siegelman was a victim of selective prosecution.

Now we have John McKay, a former U.S. attorney in Washington state, saying former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez could face prosecution in relation to the firing of seven U.S. attorneys. McKay, a Republican appointee, was one of the fired U.S. attorneys.

Speaking at an event in Bremerton, Washington, McKay pointed to Gonzalez' role in the firing of David Iglesis, U.S. attorney for New Mexico. "It's apparent that (Gonzalez) had a conversation with the president about David Iglesias, and David Iglesias was fired six weeks later," McKay said. "There was a real live investigation, and the Republicans wanted the indictment out in time to help them in the election, and Iglesias said 'no' and they fired him.

"Now if all of that's true and the attorney general was aware of that when he fired David Iglesias, then he has some 'splainin' to do--and probably in front of a grand jury."

McKay denied press reports that the attorneys spoke up after their performance was questioned. McKay said he was asked to resign in December 2006 and he kept quiet about his leaving until Gonzalez said he wasn't intending to bypass Senate approval for the new attorneys to be appointed.

"When I heard those words I knew he was lying, and I was as stunned as a person could be," McKay said. "I never expected the attorney general of the United States to lie to the United States Senate."

If Congress, or aggressive journalists, ever get to the bottom of the Bush DOJ scandal, I suspect we will discover many events that we never thought could happen.

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