George W. Bush says he wants the truth to come out about the firing of US Attorneys but will go to court to avoid having his advisers testify under oath. And now Monica Goodling, an aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales who mysteriously went on leave about the time the shit first hit the fan, will take the fifth about prosecutor firings.
An aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will invoke her constitutional right to refuse to testify before a Senate panel investigating the firings of eight U.S. attorneys, her lawyer told the committee.Now if she hadn't done anything wrong why would testimony before congress represent a ``legally perilous'' environment. Maybe it's this.
Monica Goodling, who helped coordinate the dismissals as the attorney general's White House liaison, will invoke her Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination, her lawyer said in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee. She will refuse to be interviewed by committee lawyers and decline an invitation to testify at a public hearing, said attorney John M. Dowd, citing the ``legally perilous'' environment of congressional probes.
Goodling, 33, now on leave from Gonzales's staff, is one of four agency officials the Justice Department said could be interviewed by the panel. The Judiciary Committee is probing whether the firings were carried out for improper political purposes, such as interfering with criminal investigations.
Goodling has served as a Justice Department spokeswoman and as an aide to Gonzales, where she functioned as a liaison with the White House.Or maybe this.
Goodling was one of five senior Justice Department aides who met with Gonzales for that Nov. 27 discussion. Department documents released Friday to Capitol Hill show she attended multiple meetings about the dismissals for months.There is more to this story than anyone could have ever imagined.
She also was among aides who on Feb. 5 helped Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty prepare his testimony for a Senate hearing the next day — during which he may have given Congress incomplete or otherwise misleading information about the circumstances of the firings.
Additionally, Goodling was involved in an April 6, 2006, phone call between the Justice Department and Sen. Pete Domenici , R-N.M., who had complained to the Bush administration and the president about David Iglesias, then the U.S. attorney in Albuquerque. Domenici wanted Iglesias to push more aggressively on a corruption probe against Democrats before the 2006 elections.
Bill In DC says
Give her immunity
And Steve Soto thinks it's all part of the conflict between the Bush cultists and the professionals.
What really is going on here is an internal battle at Justice. Gonzales and his hacks like Goodling are at war with the career staff and allies of Deputy AG Paul McNulty, who believes that Goodling misled him when she prepared his testimony for Congress in which he lied.Ed Morrissey says it sure doesn't look good.
The loyal Bushies like Abu and Goodling are covering for their bosses at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, while Justice veterans are rallying around McNulty and others who refuse to go down for this political hatchet job. And now that Goodling is taking the Fifth, it will get worse from here on out.
It sounds like Goodling fears a perjury trap. It's how Fitzgerald nailed Scooter Libby, after all, and Goodling probably sees a likely repeat. However, having a senior aide to the AG taking the Fifth in front of Congress will do no good for Gonzales' political fortunes. People will rightly wonder why senior Justice officials cannot testify honestly to Congress without incriminating themselves -- and they're not going to blame Congress. The assumption will be that some crime got committed, because without a crime there's no chance of incrimination, at least not in the legal sense.