Cutting through the fog, which is what the No Spin Zone does, the U.S. attorney controversy is all about one thing and one thing only: trying to discredit President Bush.
The head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy, [who is] from Vermont, despises the president and trying to get him by using the controversy in the press. Leahy understands that all presidents have the legal right to fire any federal prosecutors they want.
In 1993, President Clinton ordered Attorney General Janet Reno to fire 92 U.S. attorneys. Mr. Clinton wanted his own people in there. — Understandable.
So there is no "illegality" in play. And Senator Leahy knows that. He also knows that executive privilege will trump his subpoenas because, as every court understands, you use subpoena powers to prosecute crimes not to diminish political opponents.
But Leahy also realizes the whole thing is an embarrassment for President Bush and that the American press will hammer Bush incessantly. So Leahy wins no matter what happens!
"Talking Points" however agrees with Leahy that we should know why the eight federal prosecutors were fired. They were doing their jobs and aggressively tracking down bad guys. They should be valued public servants, not out there pounding the pavement.
So I was happy when President Bush said that Karl Rove and others would talk in front of Leahy's committee. If they lie to that committee, they can be prosecuted. So this is not some coffee klatsch.
Now Leahy should be happy as well if he's really sincere about wanting to know what happened. But again, I believe the U.S. attorneys are a sideshow to partisan politics.
Now I could be wrong, as always. And we've invited Senator Leahy on “The Factor” to set me straight any time he wants.
Summing up: Leahy is right in wanting to know what happened. But President Bush is correct in fighting subpoenas that set a precedent damaging to the executive branch.
Why? Every time a political opponent doesn't like something, the president has to send over his guys to testify under oath? It's ridiculous. No presidency could function under that.
So all of this is the usual nasty political gain that has been played in Washington since George Washington. But we're not going to play the game. If any of the fired attorneys want to come on “The Factor”, I'll put them on. If any Democratic senator believes I'm wrong, we have a spot for you. And if Attorney General Gonzales wants to tell the country why he sacked the prosecutors, we are here for him.
Otherwise, the courts will decide the matter. — It's all blather.
And that's "The Memo."
Most Ridiculous Item
Saving Knut, the polar bear!
Cute Knut is just three months old and lives in Germany at the Berlin Zoo. His mother has disowned him for some reason. We don't know why. And Knute is now being fed by humans.
Some animal rights people are angry about that. They believe Knute should be put down by the zoo, because his survival is not "species appropriate."
Well, that has caused a huge uproar in Germany. Pardon the pun. And Knut will be kept alive and on display.
As for being "species inappropriate," if that adage were applied to humans, most of us would be executed, if you know what I mean. It might be ridiculous!