Saturday, March 17, 2007

Seeing the forest through the emails: Conspiracy

Whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication influences, obstructs, or impedes or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede the due and proper administration of the law under which any pending proceeding is being had before any department or agency of the United States, or the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any inquiry or investigation is being had by either House, or any committee of either House or any joint committee of the Congress—
(emphasis and italics are mine)

In all the recent hubub over the prosecutor firings, I have yet to hear anyone mention what I believe the recent docudump of emails clearly shows. A conspiracy from the White House and Justice Department to obstruct Congress.

The news seems to focus on the various falsehoods being given in response to the crisis. As proof of the lying is brought forth there is an inclination to focus on the gotcha aspect of proving the lie, then watching the White House scramble to a new point of view. The White House recently has been reduced to expressions of dismay at administration officials having been shown to give false testimony to Congress, even as it is shown that they were determined to give misleading responses to political inquiries from well before the prosecutors were fired. The punishment for obstruction of Congress is a fine and up to five years imprisonment.

The emails demonstrate a plan to answer political inquiries about the firings with a preset list of deceptive talking points. The "political upheaval" was expected to be "strenuous" and administration targets of the pressure were instructed that they MUST follow the talking points. The emails also prove that in the particular case of the replacement of the prosecutor in Arkansas that the Justice Department engaged in a plan to stall Congressional objections and run out the clock, while claiming to act in good faith.

It seems clear that despite White House protestations of dismay at deceptiveness with Congress, it was the intent of the Justice Department and White House to be deceptive from the very start. The White House simply conspired to obstruct Congress, and have been caught red handed at it. This has nothing to do with hazy memories. They planned this, and have given us the road map showing the path they chose to take.

good point... like you, i don't understand why this hasn't gotten more visibility, unless the provision in the law is being construed in such a way as to make "obstructing the work of congress" a non-issue... dunno...
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