President-elect Barack Obama’s historical whistle stop tour to Washington has gotten under way after an enthusiastic send-off from Philadelphia, the cradle of American democracy.
From The New York Times:
WASHINGTON — Immigrants seeking asylum in the United States have been disproportionately rejected by judges whom the Bush administration chose using a conservative political litmus test, according to an analysis of Justice Department data.
The analysis suggests that the effects of a patronage-style selection process for immigration judges — used for three years before it was abandoned as illegal — are still being felt by scores of immigrants whose fates are determined by the judges installed in that period.
Kids, are you confused about all the Chimpy White House scandals? Too many to keep track of? Well, the good folks at Slate have made life a little bit easier for you. They have a wonderful post with an awesome graphic that sorts out the Crimes and Misdemeanors of Chimpy & Company.
Original DVD cover.
Oh, kids! I had something else planned for this evening, but when I got home, I noticed that there was news of Gonzogate, and you know I just cannot resist a Monica Goodling story! Sorry that this is a bit of a rush job.
From the Los Angeles Times:
WASHINGTON — Top aides to former Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales employed a political and ideological litmus test to weed out candidates for career and other positions at the Justice Department, an internal department report concluded Monday.
The audit by the department’s Office of Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility concluded that former Gonzales aides Monica Goodling and Kyle Sampson violated department policies and federal civil-service laws.
From Online Journal:
David Iglesias, the former U.S. attorney for New Mexico who was one of nine federal prosecutors fired two years ago for reasons that appear to be politically motivated, said a recent House vote to hold former White House counsel Harriet Miers and President Bush’s chief of staff, Josh Bolten, in contempt for refusing to testify before Congress about the matter was encouraging. But he said questions related to his dismissal remain unanswered.
In an interview following the historic vote, the first time in 25 years a full chamber of Congress voted on contempt of Congress citation, Iglesias called upon the White House to “do the right thing.”
“Congress is exercising its legitimate oversight role in this unfinished matter,” said Iglesias, who has written a book on the ordeal, “In Justice: Inside the Scandal that Rocked the Bush Administration,” that is due to be published in June. “I implore the White House to do the right thing and produce Ms. Miers and Mr. Bolten to the Congress.”
Al Fredo is going back to Capitol Hill today!! Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy (D-VT), sent Gonzo a list of questions so he would be able to refresh his Swiss cheese memory before coming to testify. The title will give you an idea of what it covered:
Leahy Sends Attorney General Questions In Advance Of Judiciary Panel’s Oversight Hearing
…Judiciary Chairman Seeks Answers On U.S. Attorney Firings, NSL Abuses, Domestic Surveillance Program, Internal DOJ Probes, Among Other Matters
Original DVD cover.
It took just nine minutes into the question-and-answer session this morning for Sara M. Taylor to make her first “very-clear-letter” reference. The former White House political director, appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee about its ongoing investigation into the firings last year of U.S. attorneys, was asked whether she had ever spoken directly to President Bush about the dismissals.
“I have a very clear letter from Mr. Fielding,” Taylor began at 10:40 a.m., pointing to the letter from White House Counsel Fred Fielding that has “directed” Taylor not to testify about internal deliberations and external communications while she worked in the West Wing.
All kinds of new poop headed down the tracks in the runaway train that we so lovingly call Gonzogate. The Senate Judiciary Committee questioned Wan Kim, the current assistant attorney general for civil rights about reports that 3 minority women in the DOJ’s civil rights division were shunted aside to “make room for some good Americans” (you can thank Kim’s predecessor, Bradley J. Schlozman, for that little gem), and assistant Attorney General Paul McNulty was back in the hotseat in front of the House Judiciary Committee rebutting Monica Goodling’s version of the facts.
From the Washington Post:
In the Senate yesterday, Democrats seized on the report that Schlozman had, while acting assistant attorney general for civil rights, removed the female lawyers — against their supervisors’ advice — as new evidence that the Justice Department under President Bush has been infected by improper political considerations.
Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-Mass.) described McNulty as the “caboose” in the firings process and said he had been unfairly singled out for blame. “I think you were poorly treated,” Delahunt said.