Fired U.S. Attorney Says Gonzales May Be Referred for Prosecution

Fired Seattle U.S. Attorney John McKay spoke at a bar association meeting Friday and said he thinks it's quite possible the Inspector General conducting the probe of the U.S. attorney firings will refer Alberto Gonzales and others for criminal prosecution, possibly as early as next month.

McKay said he was summoned to Washington, D.C., in June and questioned for eight hours about possible reasons for his firing by investigators with the Office of Inspector General, who will forward their final report to Congress.

“My best guess is it will be released sometime next month,’’ and likely will include recommendations for criminal prosecutions of Gonzales and maybe others, McKay said.

McKay believes the principal reason he was fired was for not opening a voter fraud investigation into Gov. Chris Gregoire’s marginal victory over Republican Dino Rossi in 2004.

He noted the White House was unhappy with San Diego U.S. Attorney Carol Lam's conduct regarding Randy "Duke" Cunningham and with New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Yglesia's refusal to indict a Democratic candidate right before the November election.

McKay says Gonazles lied to Congress about the reasons for the firings.


McKay continues to dispute the reason the White House gave for his firing -- poor performance ratings -- noting his ratings three months before the firings were exemplary.

“The chief law enforcement officer for the United States should not lie under oath,’’ McKay told the bar association.

[hat tip to Cookie Jill at Skippy.]

< Sully: Still Supporting Racism | The Gitmo Insider Who Leaked the Names of the Detainees >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    It will all be for not. (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Saul on Sun Oct 21, 2007 at 07:35:14 PM EST
    I would love to see Gonzales get prosecuted and convicted but he Bush's best buddy.  The pardon has already been signed and just needs to be dated just in case.

    Lying under oath? (none / 0) (#1)
    by along on Sun Oct 21, 2007 at 02:47:29 PM EST

    I'm still absolutely amazed (none / 0) (#2)
    by kovie on Sun Oct 21, 2007 at 04:06:14 PM EST
    that no one, either in the media, or in the blogosphere, appears to have looked much into the underlying mechanics of how legal action might be taken against Gonzo and his co-conspirators in the unlawful politicization of the DoJ, which of course extends way beyond those USA's who were actually fired for not playing ball, to those USA's who DID play ball, and some of whom are still in those positions. E.g. Craig Morford and his prosecution of James Trafficante, Leura Canary and her prosecution of Don Siegelman, etc.

    I am specifically referring to the question of WHO would actually conduct such a legal investigation and prosecution of Gonzo & Co. I assume that it would have to be the DC US Attorney, since whatever crimes Gonzo & Co. committed would have been committed in the DC district. Clearly, the current USA, Jeff Taylor, a loyal Bushie and interim USA who was himself appointed by Gonzo under that now-repealed Patriot Act provision, would not do this himself. He might go through the motions, but only to give the appearance of doing his job, while in fact dragging it out and doing his best to prevent actual prosecution. For such an investigation and prosecution to actually take place, Taylor would have to be replaced by a non-Bushie.

    Of course, this is now possible, as a result of S.214, which repealed that Patriot Act provision just over 4 months ago and which allowed congress to dismiss all interim USA's after 120 days at the latest--a period which has just elapsed--and request that each district court appoint their permanent replacement. This has not happened, but it would have to happen, for any meaningful legal action to be taken against Gonzo & Co. And congress can now make it happen.

    As to why it hasn't happened yet, well, it's only been a week since that 120 day period ended, and I understand that Bush is still allowed a certain period of time to nominate permanent replacements for all those interim USA's, and then the senate has a certain amount of time to confirm or reject them, and only after such time has passed, and either Bush hasn't nominated replacements, or the senate hasn't confirmed them, can congress then as the district courts to name the replacements (not subject to confirmation).

    But I think that there are two other possible explanations (aside from, oh, Leahy dragging his feet on what is sure to be a controversial maneuver on his part). One, Dems might be waiting for the moment of maximal political opportunity to bring this issue to the fore, and now might not be seen as such a time. And two, Dems might understandably be afraid that, were any meaningful prosecution of Gonzo & Co. to take place when Bush is still president, he would likely pardon them, and render it all moot. I suspect that it's these two reasons that are keeping this all on hold for now, and any Gonzo investigations might have to wait until well into '08, if not '09, to avoid the latter pitfall. However, this should not stop the senate from replacing these USA's for other reasons, such as enforcing its ignored subpoenas. But so far, I see no movement there, or even talk of any.

    Again, I'm amazed that no one's picked up on these underlying details, as they're crucial to these issues. And I'm referring not only to the media, which these days is to be expected to deal with issues only on a superficial and sensational level, but the progressive blogosphere, which similarly seems to be mostly obsessed with "sexy" but often secondary issues like MoveOn ads, Rush Limbaugh and which Dem candidate is doing a better job of lying about how they'll end the war.

    But politics, like war, is often fought, and won, at the level of such mundane and "unsexy" underlying details. And most people tend to ignore such details until they cease being mundane and "unsexy" (e.g. a certain thwarted break-in at the Watergate; strange goings-on involving mid-level military officers, arms smugglers, Iranian officials and Central American thugs; odd-behaving mideast types paying in cash for 747 simulator lessons despite not knowing or caring how to land and take off). And sooner or later, these details will become prominent.

    WHO indeed (none / 0) (#4)
    by along on Sun Oct 21, 2007 at 04:47:42 PM EST
    Yes, I was thinking along the same lines. If Gonzales is referred for prosecution, who would, or could, prosecute?
    Since Taylor was appointed by Gonzales directly (via delegated authority), wouldn't that mean he would be REQUIRED to recuse himself?
    And wouldn't that then give Mukasey full and unfettered authority to decide who would prosecute Gonzales?
    And wouldn't he then feel an extreme obligation to put the case in the hands of an unimpeachably nonpartisan outsider?
    So shouldn't we now be watching out for Bush to replace Taylor with another loyal Bushie, but someone with no significant ties to Gonzales? Possibly within the week, before Mukasey is confirmed?

    You're missing the point (none / 0) (#5)
    by kovie on Sun Oct 21, 2007 at 05:06:41 PM EST
    Which was that Mukasey CAN'T name Taylor's replacement. S.214 doesn't allow for consecutive interim USA appointments by the AG, and all interim USA's named prior to its enactment (including one named literally just before Bush signed S.214 to the critical CA central district, the nation's 2nd-largest after DC, and which had been investigating notoriously corrupt GOP congressman Jerry Lewis) have at most 120 days before they can be replaced at congress's discretion, with each district court being able to do so, NOT the AG or Bush.

    So the question isn't whom Bush or Mukasey will name to replace Taylor, since they can't do this, but whether congress will ask the DC district court to do so, and if so, when.

    Of course, only Mukasey (assuming that he's confirmed) can name a special counsel, should congress request that one be named, to investigate Gonzo and/or any other similarly high level matters. And these crimes really do call for one, with plenary powers. But I doubt that he'll do this, and certainly not right away, before the matter can first be looked into by the DC USA. And whether or not that happens rests largely with congress--specifically Reid and Leahy, and perhaps a few others such as Schumer, Specter, Hatch and Feinstein.

    Funny that the whole FISA brouhaha has made everyone forget about the USA scandal, when it is really just as important, and in some ways even more so, from a practical point of view--i.e. without principled and honest USA's, we will never be able to get to the bottom of the legality of the warrantless wiretap situation, even if the current FISA law is not extended, and the previous unlawful (since it violated the previous version of FISA, as opposed to now, where it's technically lawful, even if it's still unconstitutional) warrantless wiretap program will continue to operate unhindered, and be just as good as actually lawful.

    The ball is in congress's court, not Mukasey or Bush's. Sure, they still have much power. But a lot less than they did before. So long as, of course, congress actually chooses to use the power that it now has. And based on past behavior, there is little reason to feel very encouraged about that, and I would not be at all surprised to see Leahy & Co. sit on their asses, stick their heads in the sand, and wait until '09, when they hope it will all just go away.

    It won't, and they're cowardly fools if they think otherwise. If not actively complicit.


    Some recent developments here (none / 0) (#6)
    by kovie on Sun Oct 21, 2007 at 06:06:12 PM EST
    I just found out that Jeff Taylor, DC USA, was reappointed by the DC district court a couple of weeks ago:

    October 09, 2007
    Court Appoints Taylor

    Jeffrey Taylor will remain interim U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia for the forseeable future. Chief Judge Thomas Hogan, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, announced today that the court has voted to continue Taylor's appointment.

    "By all accounts, Jeff Taylor has done an outstanding job of managing the U.S. Attorney's Office, and has worked closely with the community to address the problems and concerns of its citizens. We look forward to working with him and his staff in the months ahead," Hogan said in an e-mailed statement.

    The court appointment means that Taylor, whose nomination is pending in the Senate, will likely serve for the remainder of President Bush's second term. Taylor was first appointed in September 2006, before Congress revoked an unnoticed provision of the Patriot Act that allowed the attorney general to fill vacancies in the U.S. attorneys' offices without Senate confirmation. Bush signed the bill striking the provision in June, reinstating the traditional 120-day half-life on interim appointments.

    Once the 120 days are up, it falls on the federal district judges to decide whether to continue the interim appointments in their jurisdictions or select new U.S. attorneys. Taylor's term was set to expire on Friday.

    In an e-mail, Taylor said, "I am honored and appreciate the vote of confidence given by the court. I look forward to working with the many talented members of the U.S. Attorney's Office in continuing to build on the successes of my predecessors."

    In the past few weeks, at least three other courts have elected to hold on to their interim U.S. attorneys. Here's our running tally.

    It appears that the court can still replace him if it so chooses, but I'm not clear on that, or if it would, even if it could. Considering who Taylor is, I'm not encouraged as to the likelihood that he will persue serious investigation of the administration or enforcement of congress's subpoena's:

    Jeffrey A. Taylor

    Prior to his work in Washington, DC, Jeffrey Taylor served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California from 1995-1999.[1] From 1999 to 2002, Mr. Taylor served as majority counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee where he advised Chairman Orrin Hatch and drafted provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act.[2]

    Before his appointment as U.S. Attorney, Mr. Taylor served as Counselor to Attorneys General John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales from 2002 to 2006 where he oversaw law enforcement operations by U.S. attorneys.[1] He was appointed interim U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia by Alberto Gonzales on September 22, 2006 and was sworn in seven days later;

    A loyal Bushie, clearly, and the man in charge of overseeing the "law enforcement operations by U.S. attorneys" during a period in which they were strongly pressured to mis-enforce the law to further the GOP's political goals. So I wouldn't, ahem, look to him for meaningful investigation into let alone prosecution of these scandals. Why am I not surprised?

    And why am I not surprised that this guy was first appointed by Clinton, who is rapidly emerging as a precurser to Bush--a "Bush Lite", if you will--with respect to so many of the latter's most horrible policies.

    And anybody who thinks that Hillary will order the DoJ to seriously investigate and prosecute these matters is delusional. She will not. Perhaps there was a time early in her life when she genuinely cared about such things, in terms of the public interest. But evidence strongly suggests that she was fully integrated into the establishment "Borg" years ago, and is operating on its behalf now. If BushCo are the "bad cops", then the Clintons are the "good cops". As are most leading Dems, whether actively, through actual complicity, or passively, through cowardice and/or cluelessness. So get ready for more of the same, even if it has a more "progressive" face, even if Dems take over everything in '08.

    All is not necessarily lost, though, as I still have some hope that, as has often been the case in the past (e.g. abolitionists, organized labor, civil rights activists), a small group of determined people will persue this matter on their own, and make a meaningful difference (h/t to Mead for coming up with the famous quote which I am obviously paraphrasing).

    E.g. some of these fired USA's, in a class action suit and/or politically pressuring Dems to do something about it, possibly in concert with genuinely progressive Dems who don't want to just let this slide, and perhaps advocacy groups such as MoveOn and the ACLU--or even some bloggers! ;-)

    But clearly, if something is going to happen, it's going to have to come from OUTSIDE the dominant political establishment (in both its GOP and Dem forms), because the latter is simply too corrupt, at the very least morally, and often literally, to be expected to do such a thing on its own.

    So I'm wary, but also hopeful. We are approaching some sort of boiling point, when things will no longer be solely in the hands of the political establishment. And strange things tend to happen at such times (both good and bad, of course).


    Maybe he'll be given a pardon for Halloween (none / 0) (#3)
    by jerry on Sun Oct 21, 2007 at 04:11:45 PM EST
    If not Halloween, then for Christmas next year.

    Jailbird (none / 0) (#10)
    by RedHead on Mon Oct 22, 2007 at 08:47:15 PM EST
    bush will pardon on his way out.

    PS the media will say nothing (none / 0) (#11)
    by RedHead on Mon Oct 22, 2007 at 08:49:24 PM EST
    and unlike Rich, the media will say nothing.

    Even if he's indicted the cowards will fail to push the gop nominee to comitt to on a Gonzo pardon.


    Wouldn't you suppose (none / 0) (#7)
    by Sanson Corrasco on Sun Oct 21, 2007 at 07:29:11 PM EST
    that behind the scenes deal-making with the Mukasy appointment is addressing the prosecution?  And that there will be a Spec Prosecutor and the real bet is when the pardon will come--before facts come out or after a conviction?

    If you get pardoned (none / 0) (#9)
    by scarshapedstar on Mon Oct 22, 2007 at 02:40:14 PM EST
    You can't take the Fifth. They'll just run the Libby play all over again. Lie, obfuscate, "I don't recall", and then the judge's sentence is interrupted by Bush giving him a pardon.

    Just another day under the Rule of Law Party.