United States Attorney's

Discussion in 'The Study' started by michaeledward, Mar 21, 2007.

  1. michaeledward

    michaeledward Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2003
    Messages:
    6,063
    Likes Received:
    82
    Trophy Points:
    158
    I understand that in January of 2006, Attorney General Gonzales listed the Bush Adminsitrations priorities for the Justice Department. On that list, immigration was not near the top.

    While one can make the argument that the US Attorneys should persue the priorities of the Administration, one needs to examine closely what the published priorities are; if one wishes to credibly make that argument.



    Well, there's some hyperbole, isn't there. Who exactly was threatened with jail time. By whom? And, I note you use the phrase "once again": please clarify for me, when did we establish the prior time that Congress threatented people with jail time?

    It seems that when the Administration has given information to Congress about this subject, there have been some pretty notable "errors". One method of reducing "errors" is to put the information provided to Congress under oath.

    Now, if you are arguing that asking someone to swear an oath is the same as threatening them with Jail time, I guess I would have to ask, many of the people in question have sworn oaths to protect and defend the United States Constitution, should we expect them to honor those prior oaths.

    Now, as I understand the Constitution, each branch of government provides some measure of oversight toward the others. Seeking testimony under oath seems, to me anyhow, as an important part of that oversight.


    The United States attorney in New Hampshire, by the way, was not dismissed. In 2002, there was some pretty serious accusations of the Republican Party jamming the telephone lines of the Democratic Party's Get Out the Vote centers. Our US Attorney did a wonderful job investigating that activity at a very slow pace. Nothing was released from the US Attorney until after the 2004 elections.

    Lastly, don't pass this off on the Attorney General. US Attorneys are appointed by the President; and the President is the person with authority to remove them. The Attorney General does not have the authority to remove US Attorneys.
     
  2. Don Roley

    Don Roley Senior Master

    • Martial Talk Alumni
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
    Messages:
    3,522
    Likes Received:
    70
    Trophy Points:
    158
    Location:
    Japan
    I am talking about the use of subpoenas. If you are called and don't submit, you are put in jail. That just does not go over well with me. You see if from time to time with congresspeople eager to be shown going after evil dooers for the public good. Of course, in this case, everyone seems to be agreed that there was nothing illeagle going on. So it is pretty obviously a fishing expidition. It is not like someone lied under oath to avoid a little shame for their personal actions and thus commited a felony.

    I saw this sort of things with other congresses going on witch hunts. This is just another case, but a bit more blatent.
     
  3. crushing

    crushing Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2005
    Messages:
    5,082
    Likes Received:
    134
    Trophy Points:
    173

    You say there is nothing unusual and another person called it typical, but from what I have read in various new articles is that such a sweeping dismissal at the beginning of the term was unprecedented until 1993 when 93 were removed. Previous to 1993, US Attorneys would be replaced as each US Attorney's term ended, not as the President's term began.

    One benefit of the partisans manufacturing such 'scandals' is that it keeps them busy attacking each other rather than messing with the people. I would much rather see them bicker about a non-issue like this than work towards a definition of marriage or some 2nd Amendment infringement. One downside, however, is that it may delay years overdue and much needed improvements to VA programs and hospitals.
     
  4. Shuto

    Shuto Purple Belt

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
    Messages:
    340
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Maryland USA
    link

    According to this WP link, two Democrats complained about Prosecutor Lam's lack of immigration law enforcement.

    Last June, for example, Justice officials painstakingly drafted soothing responses to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who had expressed concerns that Lam was not aggressive enough in prosecuting immigration violations in her San Diego district. "Please rest assured that the immigration laws in the southern district of California are being vigorously enforced," said a draft of a letter from Moschella to Issa.

    Lam is the same Prosecutor who convicted that Cunningham guy.

    From what I can tell, these people serve under the same terms as the President's Cabinet who can be dismissed at any time for virtually any reason. I don't think there is anything illegal about asking these people to resign unless it was to obstruct justice. Even then, as President Nixon proved with his Saturday Night Massacre, they can sometimes get away with it.

    What I don't understand is why the President is fighting the testimony under oath thing but allowing them to talk off record. If you are going to tell the whole truth, why not do it under oath? If you think that Congress has no authority in this matter, then why talk at all? It just doesn't pass the smell test with me.
     
  5. crushing

    crushing Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2005
    Messages:
    5,082
    Likes Received:
    134
    Trophy Points:
    173
    I wondered that too, but then I thought of how many politicans get in trouble. Sometimes they don't get in trouble for doing something wrong, but because in hours and hours of testimony they may have said things that appeared to be contradictory, they misunderstood a question, or misstated an answer.

    While there may have not been anything illegal in regards to the dismisal of the US Attorneys, in fact, the dismisals may have been warranted due to the poor performance, but the person testifying could still get slammed with obstruction of justice and perjury.
     
  6. michaeledward

    michaeledward Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2003
    Messages:
    6,063
    Likes Received:
    82
    Trophy Points:
    158
    Anyone who is agreeing that nothing illegal is going on, is doing so without a full set of facts. Obstruction of Justice is a crime.

    If these US Attorneys were removed because they were persuing criminal activity that would have been unpleasant for the Bush Administration, it would be a crime. At this point, we have some facts that could lead us to this conclusion. Of course, upon truthful testimony, we may learn that nothing illegal has occured; but we would be coming to that conclusion based on actual evidence.

    And now, issueing a subpoena is the same as putting someone in jail? Wow! I'm wondering why you would argue that some men in our society are above the law?
     
  7. michaeledward

    michaeledward Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2003
    Messages:
    6,063
    Likes Received:
    82
    Trophy Points:
    158

    It takes but a moment to check the facts.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2007/03/13/DI2007031300985.html


    Unprecedented?
     
  8. Don Roley

    Don Roley Senior Master

    • Martial Talk Alumni
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
    Messages:
    3,522
    Likes Received:
    70
    Trophy Points:
    158
    Location:
    Japan
    Not only that, but in a real court case when you are under subpoena and required to testify, you can fall back on the fifth ammendment to the constituion if applicable. You also can raise an objection if the lawyer is going off topic and using leading questions, etc.

    What kind of control is there over congress once they get you in front of the cameras? Are you legally obliged to answer, even if they start asking about things totally unrelated to the topic at hand and couching the questions as if there was a crime already commited? And all this in front of cameras?
     
  9. Don Roley

    Don Roley Senior Master

    • Martial Talk Alumni
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
    Messages:
    3,522
    Likes Received:
    70
    Trophy Points:
    158
    Location:
    Japan
    Is there any sign that there has been any illeagle activity? Anything that would stand as reason to hold a civil trial? If not, then what kind of precedent is there for hitting someone with a subpoena and threaten them with jail time if they do not respond?

    We do not know if you or I commited any crime as well. I for one would not want to be treated like this when no one can seem to find even the slightest hint that someone against the law was done. And prior to this, you seemed to think that even certain non obtrusive investigations should not be held unless there was a heck of a lot of evidence to justify it. Now it seems you have changed your outlook.
     
  10. michaeledward

    michaeledward Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2003
    Messages:
    6,063
    Likes Received:
    82
    Trophy Points:
    158
    The White House is opposing sworn testimony because they claim the Executive is an Independent Branch of Government. It needs to be free from undue influence from the other branches of government. There is some credibility to this argument. It ignores, however, the Constitutional responsibility of oversight.

    This is a manufactured Constitutional Crisis. Inflicted in an attempt to transfer authority to the 'Unitary Executive'. If this ends up in the Courts - as the White House seems to desire - and the Courts rule in the White House's favor, the Congress becomes an outdated, weakened body; which, by definition, will strengthen the authority of the President.

    In past incidents, the White House has gotten around the current argument by 'waiving Executive Privilege', and it could do so again here, if it chose.

    The White House course of action is not reasonable. It is destructive the the fabic of our Constitution.

    But, the more simple argument is ... what do they have to hide, that they haven't already lied about, and been caught?
     
  11. michaeledward

    michaeledward Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2003
    Messages:
    6,063
    Likes Received:
    82
    Trophy Points:
    158
    Yes ... there is such sign.

    It was stated before Congress that officials would not be removed for political reason. Facts have emerged that indicated officials were removed because they were not 'loyal Bushies'.

    It was stated before Congress that officials were removed for performance reasons. Facts have emerged that the removed officials had excellent performance reviews from their superiors.

    It was stated that officials were not following the Administrations priorities. Facts have been shown that what are now called priorities were never listed as priorities in the past. While this may not be any sort of violation, it is spin; which begs the question, why is spinning occurring?



    And, as you are accusing me of something specific, please tell me where and when I made such a claim as ... I seemed to think that even certain non obtrusive investigations should not be held unless there was a heck of a lot of evidence to justify it.



    And you keep conflating a subpoena with jail time. Why is that? A subpoena is not synomous with jail time. Only by disobeying the laws of the country is one subject to jail time.
     
  12. crushing

    crushing Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2005
    Messages:
    5,082
    Likes Received:
    134
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Michael, Thanks for the lead. I found that the difference was resignations versus firings. The mass firings in 1993 were unprecedented. If they won't resign like good little US Attorneys did for Reagan and GW Bush, then they must be fired. The result was about the same though.

    So now the 'typical' and 'not unusual' behavior has increased to three presidents. Has anyone dug up any more about the history of these types of turnovers, whether they be resignations or firings? It's very interesting.
     
  13. michaeledward

    michaeledward Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2003
    Messages:
    6,063
    Likes Received:
    82
    Trophy Points:
    158
    I haven't looked much farther, myself. The term of the United States Attorney is Four years. Often, a US Attorney will be invited to serve another four year term, if the appointing President is re-elected.

    As I understand it, as the appointing President's term winds to a close, US Attorneys will, at that closing period, begin to move from the Public office to private employment. So, there are often positions open when a new President takes office. Often, the resignations come in during the time between the election and the swearing in. So, I think we would find that the vast majority of US Attorneys take office very early in the term of a new President; and their terms expire very close to the end of the term of a President.

    As all US Attorneys are appointed by the President, they are often political creatures; and by so saying, I do not mean to imply that they are not competent officers of the law. But, the positions are often filled by lawyers who were beneficial politically to the incoming President, and his party.

    But, once in office, they are expected to serve independently from the political bodies. The phrase I have heard much recently, is that they 'serve without fear or favor'. A good example of this can be witnessed in the behavior of Patrick Fitzgerald. He is a registred independent. But was appointed by President Bush. In his case against Mr. Libby, he prosecuted to the law. Where many 'loyal Bushies' end up arguing 'there is no underlying crime' - which is false.

    It would be easy for a political appointee to overlook Mr. Libby's obfuscation for political favor, don't you think? But, Mr. Fitzgerald prosecuted the crime, and provided excellent reasoning as to why the crime needed to be prosecuted. One can only hope the other US Attorneys are as dedicated to the principle of 'serving without fear or favor'.
     
  14. Don Roley

    Don Roley Senior Master

    • Martial Talk Alumni
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
    Messages:
    3,522
    Likes Received:
    70
    Trophy Points:
    158
    Location:
    Japan
    That is hardly the type of thing that even raises an eyebrow on capital hill. If you want to say that there is somehow some obstruction of justice, then you will have to do better than the examples you have given. It is clear that is merely a fishing expedition by the rival party. The white house may have not done something for reasons we would want, but there is no indication that anything illeagle was done.


    Oh, it is just your comments about the patriot act and such. You make so many posts about the intrusiveness of the government into our lives and the potential for abuse that it is strange to hear you argue that people should be dragged in front of national tv on the grounds that there have been accusations (politically motivated it seems) that there might have been some reasons for certain actions.


    No, if you refuse to testify after being served with one, you will be held in contempt by the court and held in jail until you do testify. That type of power IMO should only be used when a very high bar for reasonable cause has been raised. The idea that the current congress would use it for other causes should scare the hell out of us.
     
  15. michaeledward

    michaeledward Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2003
    Messages:
    6,063
    Likes Received:
    82
    Trophy Points:
    158
    For some reason, I do not equate a person with a paid position inside the White House, and their official activities in that positioin, as quite the same thing as what Mr. Everett next door may do.

    Seems to me that Mr. Everett's personal life is entitled to some measure of protection and privacy - you know, the Fourth Amendment.

    Whereas, the official activities of people in government positions should have some measure of oversight ... on account they work for us. Unless, you are arguing we should abandon our Constitutional Republic in favor of a Dictatorship?

    If the officials follow the laws of the land, there is no possibility of jail time just because a subpoena is issued. Only if they do not follow the law is there jeopardy.

    As for whether the bar in this case is high enough ... it seems that if a Jury of his peers convicted Representative Cunningham there is a pretty high bar invovled. US Attorney Lam was continuing her investigation into the bribery charges against Representative Cunningham when she was removed from office. There was a Mr. Wade involved. It is unclear where her continued investigation would lead.

    The US Attorney for Guam was removed immediately after beginning and investigation into the activities of Mr. Abramoff. Who has since been convicted on a number of charges, and is currently serving time.

    There are legitimate questions to be asked about the removal of these US Attorneys. While Correlation does not equal Causation, it is appropriate to find out if there is a causation among these facts.
     
  16. Ray

    Ray Master Black Belt

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2004
    Messages:
    1,391
    Likes Received:
    53
    Trophy Points:
    73
    Location:
    Creston, IA
    Absolutely correct, there should be some oversight. By the way, the pres is the guy who oversees the hiring and firing of the US Attornies....he oversaw them.

    Next election, you can excerise your oversight as a citizen and elected someone more to your liking to the white house.
    Yes, there is a legitmate question...the question is: did the pres authorize it? If he did then case closed.

    And since he hasn't re-appointed them, then it looks like he approved. Ergo, case closed.
     
  17. michaeledward

    michaeledward Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2003
    Messages:
    6,063
    Likes Received:
    82
    Trophy Points:
    158

    Ray, it is unclear that the President authorized the firing. From the communications, this looks like it all took place below the level of the President.

    But, even if the President did authorize the firing, that does not mean the case is closed. If the firings were done to hinder prosecution, that could be a crime.
    • The day after the US Attorney began an investigation into Jack Abramoff, he was demoted, and later removed.
    • A US Attorney notified the Justice Department she was about to issue warrants against Kyle Foggo. The next day the Attorney General wrote there was a 'real problem' with this US Attorney.
    • Others point to Richard Cheney's contract for $140,000.00 for office equipment, paid to Mitchell Wade, the contractor that bought 'The Duke-ster' yacht for Representative Cunningham. - Price of the yacht $140,000.00
    • Coincidences and more coincidences. Words President Bush might not want in the same sentence: Cheney, Cunningham, Yacht.

    And to say that I can provide oversight by voting for someone else is a bit petulant, don't you think? Isn't Congress supposed to provide oversight in our Constitutional Republic? Aren't they my representatives in Washington?

    Are you going to tell me I am lecturing you again?

    http://www.martialtalk.com/forum/showpost.php?p=750271&postcount=544

    I don't know why you are making this about me?
     
  18. michaeledward

    michaeledward Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2003
    Messages:
    6,063
    Likes Received:
    82
    Trophy Points:
    158
    And, I just saw this in the Washington post ...

    Don't you suppose that if the President authorized the firing of 8 United States Attorneys, three months ago, he would have a recollection of it?

    I mean, this is not like asking about the whereabouts of a certain pilot some 30 years ago.
     
  19. Don Roley

    Don Roley Senior Master

    • Martial Talk Alumni
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
    Messages:
    3,522
    Likes Received:
    70
    Trophy Points:
    158
    Location:
    Japan
    Actually, I think equal treatment under the law is the key to avoiding a dictatorship. One of the biggest things that troubled me with the Monica thing was that Clinton lied under oath for which people have gone to jail for, and yet the general public seemed to think that it was not important enough to remove him from office over. If we treat one different from another, then we run some really big risks.

    And of course, since the president and his delegated authorities have the right to fire these people at any time, there is no fire to all this smoke. There are some strange conspiracy theories going around, but they are just plain silly.

    All the Dems seem to want is to get some folks in front of cameras and facing time in jail on contempt if they don't ask any question they want on thier little fishing expidition.

    That type of power is not something I want anyone in government to have unless they can show damn good reason for it. Imagine if a private company were to face congress because the folks that give money to the party in power were backing a rival. Just being in front of the cameras like that could do damage. And it would be silly to think that it could not happen in America, no politician would do it or that no one in congress would abuse their position to benefit a contributor.

    Of course, if you throw enough dirt, get enough camera time, then some of it will stick in the minds of the voters next election. I predicted that all the democrats would do in office would be to try to get as much hint of scandel in front of the cameras. Even if nothing they accuse or hint at has any substance to it, just the images for the next year and a half will get them what they want.
     
  20. michaeledward

    michaeledward Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2003
    Messages:
    6,063
    Likes Received:
    82
    Trophy Points:
    158
    As one Senior Democratic Senator said, (I'm paraphrasing), They have had the power of oversight for about six weeks, and every tree they barked up has had a cat up it.



    You say that if someone is going to testify, they should be able to show a damn good reason for it.

    You don't think that Criminal Justice in the United States qualifies?

    You claim it is all smoke ...
    are you acknowleging there seems to be some impropriety?


    Congressional Representative Duke Cunningham was convicted of recieving bribes from Mitchell Wade - one of which was a $140,000.00 boat.
    Mitchell Wade received a contract two weeks earlier to provide office equipment of the Vice President of the United States for exactly $140,000.00. The US Attorney that put Representative Cunningham in Jail was not through with her investigations and prosecutions. You don't think that Mr. Wade might have had to answer some uncomfortable questions, do you?

    I agree ... that's some serious smoke.

    And the people who investigate smoke for criminal justice purposes in our society are the United States Attorneys. That US Attorney is the one who determines if the is any fire underneath that smoke.

    It is strangely convenient for the Vice President that Ms. Lam no longer has a job. - and a 'loyal Bushie' has been, or will be called upon, to fill that vacancy.
     

Share This Page