What People Really Need
In nasty and bumbling comments made at the White House yesterday, President Bush declared that “people just need to hear the truth” about the firing of eight United States attorneys. That’s right. Unfortunately, the deal Mr. Bush offered Congress to make White House officials available for “interviews” did not come close to meeting that standard.Yes the Democrats should subpoena even though the Bush Supreme Court will probably rule in his favor. That will take weeks or months and in the mean time they should continue the investigation with the tools they have. Exceptions to executive privilege were made in the case of Nixon. If there is sufficient evidence of wrong doing the SC will have to listen and a slim majority might decide an exception should be made.
Mr. Bush’s proposal was a formula for hiding the truth, and for protecting the president and his staff from a legitimate inquiry by Congress. Mr. Bush’s idea of openness involved sending White House officials to Congress to answer questions in private, without taking any oath, making a transcript or allowing any follow-up appearances. The people, in other words, would be kept in the dark.
The Democratic leaders were right to reject the offer, despite Mr. Bush’s threat to turn this dispute into a full-blown constitutional confrontation.
Congress has the right and the duty to fully investigate the firings, which may have been illegal, and Justice Department officials’ statements to Congress, which may have been untrue. It needs to question Karl Rove, Mr. Bush’s chief political adviser, Harriet Miers, the former White House counsel, and other top officials.
In any event make the Bush administration take the serious political hits. This administration no is no longer given the benefit of the doubt by the American public. A refusal to testify will be seen as evidence they have something to hide. I heard the worthless Tim Russert say this morning that the Democrats had to be careful not to make the same over reaching mistakes the Republicans made when they went after Clinton. Sorry Tim, there is one big difference people liked Bill Clinton, his approval ratings were in the upper 50s and lower 60s. They don't like Mr 30% George W. Bush.
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