Sara Taylor Refuses to Agree Tim Griffin Had “Substantial” Experience

I’m just now catching up on the Sara Taylor non-testimony (the webcast is still available here). And I find her to be interestingly sharp–in that she backs off of some points that the Republicans would like to put in her mouth.

There’s an exchange with Arlen Specter, for example, in which he prods her to say that Tim Griffin was very qualified to replace Bud Cummins (this happens just before and following the one hour mark). But she backs off the grandiose terms Specter wants her to use.

Specter: Mr. Tim Griffin was known to you from having served as the Deputy Political Director? Would you … you’re nodding yes …

Taylor: Yes, he was known to me, he was the Deputy Political Director and I had known him for quite a bit longer than that.

Specter: Mr. Griffin had extensive experience as a prosecuting attorney, correct?

Taylor never answers his prompt with a yes answer, affirming that she agrees he had "extensive" experience. Rather, she starts listing his experience, which doesn’t seem all that "extensive."

Taylor: My knowledge is that he had been a prosecutor, a federal prosecutor, for three years, in different jobs, I think two different jobs if my memory serves me correct. I also know that Mr. Griffin was a ten-year JAG officer in the United States Army [she’s referring to notes] where he was also an Army prosecutor.

So Specter prods her again, to add to her description of Griffin’s qualifications.

Specter: And he had served as an Assistant to the Special Prosecutor in the Cisneros, uh …

Taylor: I believe that’s correct.

Specter: So he had very substantial experience as a professional in the prosecution field.

Taylor: I believe he had significant experience.

But again, Taylor backs off Specter’s qualification, choosing her own word, "significant" rather than his"substantial."

The exchange is all the more interesting since, in the following exchange, Taylor claims that Griffin is "exceptionally qualified." (The whole thing is clearly Specter’s set-up to put the Griffin hiring in better light and refute McNulty’s testimony that Griffin Cummins [thanks folks] was fired solely to make room for Griffin, which may well be why Taylor agreed to testify.) Specter goes on to ask whether Taylor was closer to Griffin than McNulty–a sort of bizarre way of undercutting the outstanding allegations from McNulty that Cummins was fired just to make way for Griffin.

  1. oldtree says:

    Poor Mr. Spectre. head of a criminal organization of the same name. Can’t find a way to lead a blind horse that took an oath to her godhead into saying one of their chosen pixies is â€smartâ€
    how can anyone still stand this ilk as americans? the idea that these folks even understand the law, or truth is in serious question. we must stop pretending that this is a deviant example of their goals and crimes against the rest of us.
    â€these are times that try men’s souls†but our leaders believe us to be complaining about our feet.

  2. irene says:

    I also know that Mr. Griffin was a ten-year JAG officer in the United States Army…

    I did a real double take as I was listening to Sara Taylor deliver that sentence… because I thought she called Griffin a ten-year jagoff. for some reason, I heard the last two syllables in brain delay mode. My subconscious was making up its own punchline I think.

  3. phrith says:

    You write: â€and refute McNulty’s testimony that Griffin was fired solely to make room for Griffin…â€
    I’m assuming the first Griffin should be Cummins?

  4. Sojourner says:

    Just some thoughts…

    There was something surreal about Sarah’s appearance. My gut feeling is that something more went on between her and Griffin — she seemed rather starry-eyed in some of her responses about him. And, there is no doubt that she has been fed a lot of BS with her Kool-Aid. (I originally wrote â€Kook-Aidâ€)

    Some of Griffin’s experience sounds like resume lint-fluff.

    As for Specter, he is doing nothing for anyone but himself — and doing a poor job of that.

    I hope that this long dark nightmare will be over soon, and that Bush etal will be publicly shown as the cheap crooks that they are. Maybe the outcome will be a truly new day for our country…

  5. Maeme says:

    Hey Marcy:

    Trying to catch up with your postings – been swamped at work.
    Did watch the hearings on my computer – Taylor is definitely much more savvy and slick then – Monica – if you are watching — she has picked up – several of Rove’s quirks and smerks.

    The whole thing is clearly Specter’s set-up to put the Griffin hiring in better light and refute McNulty’s testimony that Griffin (SHOULD THIS BE CUMMINS) was fired solely to make room for Griffin, which may well be why Taylor agreed to testify.
    Why is McNulty is already leaving? What is her loyalty to Fredo?

    Rove has something on Specter and has written his remarks.
    My opinion: who they are wiretapping – is members of Congress and the media because they all snap in line and read the talking points.

  6. Katie Jensen says:

    Bill moyers tonight. Now that’s the discussion I was longing for and needed. I believe that the discussion is the most important part of bringing it forward.

    Awesome show tonight.

  7. Anonymous says:

    My little video commentary to Marcy and the left blogosphere. Not quite the powerful explosions of Keith Olberman’s Special Comments — and maybe not â€substantialâ€, but surely Ms. Taylor would agree they are nonetheless â€significantâ€.

    Click my name-link of paste this into browser:

    have a good weekend, all.

  8. Boo Radley says:

    Thanks emptywheel, as per usual, great stuff.
    Any idea about what scared the White House so much wrt Meiers’ testimony? The House Judiciary has been much less effective than the Senate Judiciary, but it seems as though the White House saw something in the Senate’s interrogation of Taylor that frightened them into pulling Harriet’s appearance.
    OT, the White House does not appear to be able to find many staffers who are â€seasoned†for their senior level positions.

  9. Beppu50 says:

    EW, by her display of impatience with the senators’ questions ie. responding before a question was asked, Sarah Taylor behaved like someone who is much more accustomed to talking than listening. Her attorney finally had to put a hand on her arm to restrain her from interrupting.

    Do you view this as a reflection of her personality [Type A] or a sense of her feeling of the power of her position?

  10. orionATL says:

    the thing about the sara taylor hearing that bothered me the most was

    i felt i could not really


    between the camera angle, and that mane of hair, she always seemed to me to be a spector

    or an ape hiding in the leaves of a tree.

    in any event, i had the sense that she was just on the verge of breaking down; just barely keeping her composure, despite her occasional verbal aggressiveness.

  11. *xyz says:

    rhfactor – Nice work.

    FYI – one other website that is really taking advantage of youtube is which is a new website managed by Matt Stoller, Chris Bowers and Mike Lux.

    I look forward to seeing more video blogging from the posters at FDL and TNH, from you, and from other commenters.

  12. Anonymous says:

    *xyz — thanks very much! I had heard of that effort but then had forgotten the name… I’m going to look into what they are doing. *Tone* is the single most important initial barrier that repels swingvoters. Thus I will be curious to see their tone & style. Josh Marshall has it down beautifully, and it’s no surprise he has investors building a COMPANY around him. He’s got the right stuff to go big, and I’m thrilled that they are, out the gate, thinking big. Ditto Marcy. But one problem thus far is she does not (yet) have supporting infrastructure around her to take care of the video/tech end — as well as the geographic logistics.

    THIS IS ONE OF the biggest reasons I am pushing this point here, in her backyard:

    I’m an unknown to her. But all of you know her and she knows you. I sincerely urge those of you who value the need to push out accessible messages to *reach the mainstream* (– not simply ricochet throughout Left Blogistan the excellent analysis and commentary produced here routinely) — to post specifically here or in another thread encouraging Marcy to further embrace the video camera.

    I know she’s posted that one of the problems is purely geographic — given PTV is in DC and she is generally in Ann Arbor. But I’ve addressed that issue at length in a prior post here — which i don’t think was even seen by her. And I explained that it does not require having PTV shoot her standups. Someone for sure can be found in Ann Arbor — and I would personally commit right now to finding such a resource(s) in Ann Arbor whom she could call upon, often, routinely, to create a regular flow of â€TV style commentary†which she is brilliant at.

    I have not sensed that she is shy in any way about being on camera, but perhaps that is another barrier, I don’t know. But my goal is to meet with her — and others like her — along with web video and streaming media enthusiasts — in Chicago, in just 3 weeks from now — at Yearly Kos. And I am trying to push this now, so that she can see that there is a groundswell of support for her to push inot video as well as text.

    So please explicitly say so in comments in any thread, so that she hears your voice. Thanks very much. rhfactor+

  13. Boo Radley says:

    OfT, but I agree with rhfactor. What I call the MSM â€sound byte battles†are absolutely critical. By way of example, if Marcy would have been testifying before the House Judiciary instead of Ambassador Wilson, it would have been a terrific victory for Democrats and progressives.

    Unfortunately, it’s the MSM, who make the decisions about who appears on those shows. If I heard rhfactor correctly, he’s inviting Jane and Marcy right now to use Politics TeeVee, YouTube, and other outlets to generate more pressure on the MSM to put Jane and Marcy on these shows.

    Being an MSM talking head takes serious investment. Most of the people who do it, are already on wingnut welfare (Jane’s term). Drive time spent to the studio, prepping for the latest GOP soundbytes will take them away from blogging and their other responsibilities.

    OT, Cliff Schecter imvho, is someone else who is really skilled in this format.

    OT, one of the keys to success in that format is a willingness to ask detailed questions. Then pointing out that the GOP hack failed to answer the question is imvho critical to revealing the inadequacy of the GOP â€script.†With the best, and I would put Mary Matalin in that category, that’s the best you can hope for. Mary will never get off her script. She would argue the earth is flat, if Cheney told her to.

  14. EE2×4 says:

    Time and again I’ve seen Specter get a foot in each camp. I thought he was doing it again with ST on the subject of Griffin’s experience. He knows Griffin didn’t have extensive prosecutorial experience. His question, while seeming like a pro-G prompt, would draw a revealing answer. Did Blondie (whose adult mind has been shaped by this administration) really believe (as opposed to substantiate and know) that Griffin was a superior choice? So, she was smart enough not to take the bait on â€substantial†but so acculturated that she’d think â€significantâ€. These thirty-somethings with too much power and too little experience are the new dictator Youth (as in an Oath to the President). Scary. They are going to be around for too long.

  15. darclay says:

    While watching c-span I was struck by several questions ask by Spector that I agree with you were leading the witness so to speak. But the real supprise was after the hearing I found it very unsetteling that a Senator who is charged with investigating possible crimes gets up, leaves the podium ,and has what seems to be a very frindly chat with Ms Taylor. I know this is not a court as such but it concerns me that being an attny. he would publicly have a conversation with someone he is investigating. Makes me wonder how honest a man is the good Senator.

  16. theexog says:

    It’s becoming increasingly clear that these numbskulls really aren’t very bright. You don’t have to be smart to get through law school (even Regent haha) as evidenced by Goodling, and the blind adulation of W shown by these women, Miers, Hughes, Taylor, Rice – and presumably Laura, is indicative of a complete lack of cognitive abilities. Taylor seemed to be dumb as a post, couldn’t figure out what she was allowed to say, and is inarticulate in the extreme. How did she get a job in the WH? And on our nickel no less….

  17. Sue says:

    I hesitate to bring this up, but lacking the ability to do the research, I am throwing my (tin-hat?) theory out there. So many of these Bushies have been promoted beyond their abilities. Why? What qualifications do they have? What out of the office relationships are responsible for their advancement? It surely isn’t what they do at work that has caused their meteoric rise. We know that Kyle Sampson is well regarded within the Mormon church and that Karl Rove attended college in Utah. Is this the connection? Is it the Federalist Society? What is the root structure of this crony-fiefdom? Anyone?

  18. orionATL says:


    i’m not sure,

    but i think they choose young people because they can be indoctrinateable(?) and highly loyal.

    young people usually don’t have much historical or experiential memory.

    they are inclined to be respectful and even worshipful of older, famous bosses like rove – as taylor clearly was re rove.

    young people like taylor and goodling work very hard and ask few â€philosophical †questions.

    that’s why so many of those involved in politics for both parties are young – they are highly energetic and excited by their work.

    i suspect taylor’s leaving the rove office is, in part, an indication that she has grown up a bit and needs to take a long look at what she has been doing.

    similarly, kyle sampson said in his testimony that he was sorry he had been involved in the doj mess. my sense was that that was a sincere statement.

    in short,

    young people are energetic, loyal, and easy marks for indoctrination.