Yesterday I wrote that a ninth purged U.S. Attorney had been found and that Alberto Gonzales, who was going before the House Judiciary Committee, was going to have to answer some tough questions.
Well, as it happens, Gonzales displayed the same combination of (feigned) cluelessness and (unwarranted) chutzpah as he did when appearing before the Senate last month in order to avoid saying much of anything at all. A major difference? No defensiveness — Gonzales seems to know he can’t or won’t be fired, and has stopped caring what Congress or the American people think of him. He giggled throughout his testimony, in the face of weighty and sometimes damning questions.
He might want to get serious. McClatchy reports new evidence that Karl Rove essentially used Gonzales’ Department of Justice as the enforcement arm for his Machiavellian schemes. Just weeks before the November 2006 elections, Karl Rove and his deputies twice urged the Department of Justice (using Gonzo’s chief-of-staff Kyle Sampson as a primary contact) to investigate voter fraud in New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — even though it is DOJ policy not to open such investigations shortly before elections because of the possibility of influencing votes.
But that was the point. The cases that Rove wanted investigated where shams — the allegations of voter fraud in Wisconsin, for example, were two years old and had already been thoroughly investigated, with no results. And obviously the voter fraud Rove wanted investigated was all one-sided stuff — Republicans being disenfranchised by Democrats and not the other way around. How do we know? Rove’s evidence of voter fraud came from a 30-page report compiled by Republican activists.
That’s right — conservative activists on the ground were in direct contact with the president’s top political adviser, who in turn tried to turn the activists’ loony schemes into official Department of Justice policy. Are we a banana republic yet?