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Alberto Gonzales Told Card Immediately About Preservation Order

Bump and Update: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales appeared on CBS's Face the Nation this morning and responded to Frank Rich's column about a connection between his delay of 12 hours in notifying white house officials of their need to preserve e-mails and records in the Plame investigation and Bush's decision to pass over him for the Supreme Court. In doing so, he disclosed for the first time that the night he got the order, he passed it on to White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card. Crooks and Liars has the video.

”After getting notification from the Justice Department about 8 p.m. that night, he asked if he could inform staffers at the White House early in the morning , and that was okayed. Schieffer then asked if he at least informed anyone at the White House that first night to “get ready” for the order. Yes, Gonzales said, he told the president’s chief of staff that night, and then the president himself “first thing” the next day.

[hat tip to Patriot Daily.]

So, Gonzales told Card immediately. Did Card tell anyone else? He's known as a straight shooter, but one has to ask. Think Progress has a lot more.

Also, Gonzales acknowledged on Face the Nation that he testifed before the grand jury. The Washington Post reported in June, 2004 that Gonzales had testified before the grand jury, so I don't give him credit for acknowledging what we already knew. But Think Progress asks a good question:

If the Attorney General of the United States can answer questions on the ongoing investigation, why can’t the White House?

Update: Steven Brant at HuffPost writes:

"I wish you could have seen Bob Schieffer's face as he came back from commercial break to his next guest, Senator Joe Biden, who he then took up this issue with. Bob Schieffer said to Joe Biden (I'm paraphrasing here...I'll post the transcript when it's available) "You know, everyone in The White House has these BlackBerrys. And you have to wonder what sort of message Andrew Card emailed at 8pm to the other people in The White House...what sort of documents could have been shredded in those 12 hours."

Crooks and Liars has the video.

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Original Post 5:52 am

Frank Rich has a new take on why President Bush nominated John Roberts instead of his long-time pal Alberto Gonzales to the Supreme Court:

When the president decided not to replace Sandra Day O'Connor with a woman, why did he pick a white guy and not nominate the first Hispanic justice, his friend Alberto Gonzales? Mr. Bush was surely not scared off by Gonzales critics on the right (who find him soft on abortion) or left (who find him soft on the Geneva Conventions). It's Mr. Gonzales's proximity to this scandal that inspires real fear.

....A new Gonzales confirmation process now would have quickly devolved into a neo-Watergate hearing. Mr. Gonzales was in the thick of the Plame investigation, all told, for 16 months.

In the end, Rich says, the real scandal is this:

The real crime here remains the sending of American men and women to Iraq on fictitious grounds. Without it, there wouldn't have been a third-rate smear campaign against an obscure diplomat, a bungled cover-up and a scandal that - like the war itself - has no exit strategy that will not inflict pain.

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  • Sure does make a whole lof ot sence to me...why give the Senate the oppertunity to ask Rove-gate questions when you can offer them someone not involved...suposedly that is...

    With Gonzales' obvious link to the Plame investigation - the delay of notification to preserve records - he should even be a "subject" of the investigation. This didn't stop his confirmation to the AG's office (hey, Ashcroft approved his delay request, after all...), but back then this scandal wasn't the talk of the coast. I think Rich has it right that Gonzales' confirmation hearings would have rapidly degenerated to "what do you have to say over this bit you've listed here, that you're involved in the Plame legal matter?" But worse, while saying "the Geneva Conventions are quaint" might be only marginally damning in a political office, such a statement from a justice, denying the validity of a Senate-approved treaty, could be much more fatal, especially when it connects him to the ongoing Abu Ghraib and Guantanimo scandals.

    Re: Alberto Gonzales Told Card Immediately About P (none / 0) (#3)
    by Andreas on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:34 PM EST
    Frank Rich is correct to trace the Rove affair back to the “big lie” campaign to sell the Iraq war, but he is only half right, or, rather, he stops halfway. The Iraq war was not the beginning of Bush’s lies, but the culmination. This is an administration based on lies from its very inception, when it took office through the theft of the 2000 presidential election, hijacked by the Supreme Court intervention to shut down ballot-counting in Florida. Then came September 11, 2001, an event which has been the subject of the greatest campaign of distortion and cover-up in US history. No serious investigation has been conducted into the US government role in these attacks: from the initial CIA recruitment and training of the founders of Al Qaeda in the 1980s, to the inexplicable ease with which the Islamic fundamentalist terrorists entered the United States and orchestrated multiple hijackings, even though many of them were on government watchlists or actually under surveillance by US intelligence agencies.
    A government of lies: The political meaning of the Rove affair By Patrick Martin, 23 July 2005

    Re: Alberto Gonzales Told Card Immediately About P (none / 0) (#4)
    by scarshapedstar on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:34 PM EST
    "a third-rate smear campaign against an obscure diplomat, a bungled cover-up and a scandal that - like the war itself - has no exit strategy that will not inflict pain." Heh, I love it. What's funny is that the diehard wingnuts will go on parsing Rove's statements and lapel pins and comparing outed CIA agents to buildings on the Mall and feel like they're doing their duty for the Party, but the vast majority of Americans (and Republicans) see through this cheap, thuggish, and laughably botched dirty trick.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, But wasn't Andrew Karr, the sitting Chief of Staff, on the airplane with Bush and Powell at the time Gonzales told Karr of this call from the prosecutor? If so, can anyone tell me just how fast he ran down the aisle of that plane to break this news to Bush and Powell, or are we suppose to imagine that little Andrew pulled up his blankie and snuggled in for the night... huh.... I'm not sure I can be soo stupid... What about you? What about Fitzgerald? Gosh, what would Rove say if this would have been the case??? hummmm Hellllllloooooo Frankie Long Beach, CA

    The question is posed: How come Gonzalez can answer questions about an ongoing investigation, but the White House can't? How did the Nixon team put it? I think it was "plausible deniability." The White House already blundered once when they allowed GWB to declare, on camera, that anyone involved with the leak would be "taken care of." They're not about to make that mistake again.

    deleted, off topic, save it for an open thread.

    off topic comment deleted, save it for an open thread.

    Bob Shieffer of Face the Nation got this tidbit today (and as he implied, but did not explicitly state, it's a bombshell): Gonzales admitted to Shieffer that he told the White House Chief of Staff (aka Andrew Card) right away that he had received notice of the Justice Dept. investigation right after he (Gonzales) found out at 8PM that night ... So the web and the ripples widen once more: Who did Card tell? And Gonzales said Bush didn't know until the following morning. HUH? Is it really believable that Card didn't tell Rove, Shrub and other key staffers immediately upon finding out from Gonzales? How many already knew before the official staff notice 12 hours later? And what did they do in those 12 hours? What did they tell Fitzgerald and the grand jury about who knew what and when they knew it?


    Re: Alberto Gonzales Told Card Immediately About P (none / 0) (#8)
    by ppjakajim on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:35 PM EST
    off topic, deleted and recommended the commenter save it for an open thread.

    So the bottom line is: This is basically a criminal conspiracy and a cover-up all rolled into one. For me, I intend to sit back and see if our justice system works. I'm willing to bet it won't. Hope i am wrong.