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#NYT finally gets up on hind legs, challenges Putsch Junta

Von: 3579 Dead (zepp22113579@finestplanet.com) [Profil]
Datum: 01.07.2007 22:40
Message-ID: <g94g83p2fsuo5sulq5u23lup6qunm102tf@4ax.com>
Newsgroup: rush-limbaugh alt.fan.talk.politics.misc alt.society.liberalism

Abuse of Executive Privilege
The New York Times | Editorial

Sunday 01 July 2007

After six years of kowtowing to the White House, Congress is
finally challenging President Bush's campaign to trample all legal and
constitutional restraints on his power.

Congressional committees have issued subpoenas for documents and
witnesses in two major cases and have asked for the first - and likely
not the last - criminal investigation of an executive branch official
who might have lied to Congress.

Predictably, the White House is claiming executive privilege and
refusing to cooperate with the legitimate Congressional
investigations, one springing from Mr. Bush's decision to spy on
Americans without a warrant and the other from the purge of United
States attorneys.

The courts have recognized a president's limited right to keep the
White House's internal deliberations private. But it is far from an
absolute right, and Mr. Bush's claim of executive privilege in the
attorneys scandal is especially ludicrous. The White House has said
repeatedly that Mr. Bush was not involved in the firings of nine
United States attorneys. If that's true, he can hardly argue that he
has the right to conceal conversations and e-mail exchanges that his
aides had with one another and the Justice Department.

When the White House refused last week to even account for the
documents it was withholding and why, as presidents generally have
done in these cases, Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Judiciary
Committee, rightly denounced this arrogance as "Nixonian
stonewalling." He pointed out that every president since World War II
has at some point complied with Congressional requests or subpoenas
for testimony by members of the White House staff or other
presidential advisers.

Mr. Bush's claim of executive privilege may be somewhat stronger
on the spying program, since he personally issued the order to start
the wiretapping. But executive privilege cannot be used to cover up
actions and policies that involve an outright violation of the law, as
the spying program did.

Nor can it be used to shield an official who might have lied to
Congress. The Senate Judiciary Committee has asked the Justice
Department to investigate Brett Kavanaugh, a former White House
official who told a Senate hearing on his appointment to a federal
judgeship that he was not involved in forming rules on the treatment
of detainees. Recent press accounts suggest that he was.

The White House has predictably accused the Democrats of being
soft on terrorism for opposing illegal wiretapping and of partisan
politicking in their attempt to get to the bottom of the attorneys
scandal. This is the point when we used to wearily watch as Congress
bowed and backed out of the room. But lawmakers finally seem
determined to do their duty. Partly that's because tough-minded
Democrats are now in charge, like Senator Leahy. But even some of Mr.
Bush's Republican enablers on Capitol Hill seem to be losing patience.

Last week, three Republican senators, including the highly
partisan Orrin Hatch, voted to issue subpoenas for records relating to
Mr. Bush's decision to authorize the tapping of Americans' phone calls
and e-mails abroad without legally and constitutionally mandated
warrants. Only three Republicans actually voted against the subpoenas.
(Three others did not register a vote.) Not long ago, those same nine
Republicans would not even allow Senator Leahy to hold a roll-call
vote on issuing subpoenas connected to the attorneys scandal.

If the White House continues to defy Congress, the Senate and the
House could file criminal contempt charges. It's a strong measure, but
lawmakers should not be afraid to take it, as they have done 10 times
since 1975 under both parties.

Last week, in a bit of especially mendacious spin, Tony Fratto,
the White House deputy press secretary, responded to the subpoenas on
the illegal wiretapping by saying, "It's unfortunate that
Congressional Democrats continue to choose the route of

Actually, Mr. Bush chose that route long ago by defining
consultation as a chance for lawmakers to hear about decisions he had
already made, bipartisanship as a chance for Democrats to join
Republicans in rubber-stamping those choices and Congressional
oversight as self- serving and possibly seditious. At this point,
confrontation is far preferable to the path the Republican majority in
Congress chose for so many years - capitulation.

"Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government
about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order.
Nothing has
changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists,
talking about getting a court order before we do so"
-George W. Bush, April 20, 2004

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One of the [Gold Star mothers], Elaine Johnson, recounted a meeting that she had with
President Bush in which he gave her a presidential coin and told her
and five other families: "Don't go sell it on eBay."

--from interview broadcast on NPR

Putsch: leading America to asymetric warfare since 2001

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