Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Wow! How close to dictatorship did we come?

Read this from yesterday's testimony of former Assistant Attorney General James Comey in the Senate and tell me...just tell doesn't scare the ....bejeeesus out of you. Here's the Kos link to it

and a snippet:

Comey: So I hung up the phone, immediately called my chief of staff, told him to get as many of my people as possible to the hospital immediately. I hung up, called [FBI] Director Mueller, with whom I'd been discussing this particular matter and who'd been a great help to me over that week, and told him what was happening. He said, "I'll meet you at the hospital right now."
I told my security detail that I needed to get to George Washington Hospital immediately. They turned on the emergency equipment and drove very quickly to the hospital. I got out of the car and ran up -- literally ran up the stairs with my security detail...

Sen. Schumer: What was your concern? You were in, obviously, a huge hurry.
Comey: I was concerned that given how ill I knew the Attorney General was, that there might be an effort to ask him to overrule me, when he was in no condition to do that.

Schumer: Right.

Comey: I was worried about him, frankly. So I raced to the hospital room, entered, and Mrs. Ashcroft was standing by the hospital bed. Mr. Ashcroft was lying down in the bed, the room was darkened. And I immediately began speaking to him, trying to orient him as to time and place, and try to see if he could focus on what was happening. And it wasn't clear to me that he could. He seemed pretty bad off.

Schumer: And at that point it was you, Mrs. Aschroft and the Attorney General, and maybe medical personnel in the room. No other Justice Department or government officials.

Comey: It was just the three of us at that point. I tried to see if I could help him get oriented. As I said, it wasn't clear that I had succeeded. I went out in the hallway, spoke to Director Mueller by phone. He was on his way. He handed the phone to the director of the security detail, and Director Mueller instructed the FBI agents present not to allow me to be removed from the room under any circumstances. And I went back in the room.

A few minutes later, Andrew Card and Roberto Gonzales arrive at the hospital, and here's what happens next:

Card and Gonzales arrived shortly thereafter, tried to persuade Ashcroft to authorize their activities, but failed and ultimately left the room. Within minutes after that, Card called Comey and demanded an immediate meeting on his turf, in the White House. Comey told Card that:

After the conduct I had just witnessed, that I would not meet with him without a witness present. He said, "What conduct? We were just there to wish him well."

I said again, after what I just witnessed, I will not with you without a witness, and I intend that witness to be the Solicitor General of the United States.

That's a scene right out of The Godfather Part I.

Here's what Glenn Greenwald had to say about it today (thanks to Digby for the post)...

J]ust consider what it says about this administration. Not only did Comey think that he had to rush to the hospital room to protect Ashcroft from having a conniving Card and Gonzales manipulate his severe illness and confusion by coercing his signature on a document -- behavior that is seen only in the worst cases of deceitful, conniving relatives coercing a sick and confused person to sign a new will -- but the administration's own FBI Director thought it was necessary to instruct his FBI agents not to allow Comey to be removed from the room.

Comey and Mueller were clearly both operating on the premise that Card and Gonzales were basically thugs. Indeed, Comey said that when Card ordred him to the White House, Comey refused to meet with Card without a witness being present, and that Card refused to allow Comey's summoned witness (Solicitor General Ted Olson) even to enter Card's office. These are the most trusted intimates of the White House -- the ones who are politically sympathetic to them and know them best -- and they prepared for, defended themselves against, the most extreme acts of corruption and thuggery from the President's Chief of Staff and his then-legal counsel (and current Attorney General of the United States)...

And then we have Greenwald again, quoting the Washington Post and riffing on it too:

Even The Washington Post Editorial Board -- long tepid, at best, concerning the NSA scandal -- recognizes that Comey has offered "an account of Bush administration lawlessness so shocking it would have been unbelievable coming from a less reputable source." And as I documented yesterday, these "shocking" revelations were long concealed due to Alberto Gonzales' patently false assurances that the testimony of Comey and Ashcroft -- which Democrats on the Senate Judiicary Committee sought last year -- would not "add to the discussion."

Let's repeat that just for the effect of reading it again, shall we?

" account of Bush administration lawlessness so shocking it would have been unbelievable coming from a less reputable source."

Key words?




Folks we came very close to a dictatorship and unbelieveably we have Ashcroft to thank for NOT becoming a dictatorship.....whodathunk?

1 comment:

LoLo said...

Comey's testimony was simply amazing! Maybe the most striking fact is that Ashcroft, compared to our present AG, has some decency in him. Who thought I would ever be saying this?