Friday, March 23, 2007

John Dean on the US Attorneys purge

John Dean, White House counsel under Nixon and author of Conservatives Without Conscience (2006) writes about New Developments in the U.S. Attorney Controversy: Why Bush Refuses to Allow Karl Rove and Harriet Miers to Testify Before Congress, and What Role New White House Counsel Fred Fielding May Play 03/23/07. (His Findlaw articles have long titles.) First, the spoiler:

Bush's greatest problem here, however, is Harriett Miers. ... I doubt she is ready to go to prison for him; and all who know her say if she is under oath, she will not lie. That could be a problem.
Telling the truth about Bush, Cheney and Rove. That could be a problem! Dean also thinks Karl Rove could wind up in the pokey over this. And he writes:

In truth, much more is at stake here for both the Congress and the White House than this bare description of the conflict would indicate. These issues strike at the heart of what post-Watergate conservative Republicans seek to create: an all-powerful presidency. Thus, for the same reason that Vice President Cheney went to extreme lengths to block Congress from getting information about the work of his National Energy Task Force ... I expect President Bush to take what will appear to be a similar irrational posture. For both Bush and Cheney, virtually any limit on presidential power is too great.

And this conflict, in the end, is all about presidential power. Moreover, underlying the Administration's defense of unchecked power, is a term that has not been heard since Justice Alito's confirmation hearings: "the unitary executive theory." (my emphasis)
Dean also writes of the Executive privilege argument:

I have never been an advocate of executive privilege, except as it might relate to the most sensitive national security information. To the contrary, you show me a White House aide who does not want his conversations and advice to the president revealed, and I will show you someone who should not be talking with or advising a president.
Tags: , , , ,

No comments: