Why Harriet??

We all know that Harriet was a no-show for her date with HJC on Thursday. We all know that Harriet refused to testify based on some new opinions issued by DOJ. But I’ve seen almost no discussion that explores why BushCo decided to take such an inflammatory approach with Harriet’s testimony.

It seems there are two likely answers to that question–or rather, questions that need to be answered:

  • Why did Bush choose to ratchet up the subpoena fight at this point in time–what events allowed or forced him to do so?
  • Why did Bush choose to draw the line at Harriet, rather than (say) Sara Taylor?

As is my wont, I’ll start with a chronology.

June 13: Harriet subpoenaed

June 27: Paul Clement issues opinion asserting executive privilege–but not immunity

June 28: Fred tells Harriet’s and Taylor’s lawyers that they cannot turn over documents; tells Conyers and Leahy the same

July 9: Conyers mentions impeachment on the Sunday shows in response to a question on testimony

July 9: Harriet’s lawyer tells HJC she will show up and testify (apparently verbally)

July 9: Harriet’s lawyer tells HJC she cannot testify (in writing)

July 10: Conyers and Sanchez attempt to reconfirm Harriet’s appearance

Unknown date: Harriet asks Fielding to provide an opinion on whether she has to show at HJC

July 10: OLC issues an opinion stating that Harriet has immunity from subpoena

July 10: Fielding relays that information to Harriet’s lawyer

July 10, 7:15 PM: Manning relays that information to HJC

The takeaway from the chronology is that there appears to have been some last minute maneuvers on July 10–ostensibly at the request of Harriet and her lawyer–that resulted in her no-show (as compared to Sara Taylor’s limited show-and-don’t-tell).

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  1. Mauimom says:

    Don’t you find Harriet & Condi weird: each seems to be a relatively intelligent person, and yet each has such a â€hero worship†attitude towards GW, who’s clearly lacking in so many ways: no brains, no curiosity, no table manners; generally a rude, crude, lazy, stupid [but rich] guy.

    It’s like Harriet & Condi are each the nerdy girl in junior high, and suddenly the quarterback has paid attention to her. I’m imaging that each got one of those â€friendly backrubs†Bush gave the German chancellor, and, as a result, each is beyond bliss.

    It’s just weird.

    NB: I’m writing this as one of those who was a â€geek†in junior high, but I like to think I never behaved like that.

  2. Mimikatz says:

    Here are 6 reasons off the top of my head.

    Sara has her career ahead of her, while Harriet is essentially finished. Sara wanted a chance to testify.

    Harriet is much closer to Bush; she really knows where the bodies are buried.

    Harriet isn’t all that bright–rememeber her reception on Capitol Hill the last time around? She is loyal and seems smart to Bush, but isn’t really. Maybe they don’t think she can stand up to it.

    She doesn’t dazzle the geezers like Monica and Sara.

    She really, really does know more, a whole lot more, than Sara. She was up to her eyeballs in this.

    She is the last line of defense before Rove.

    Is there any possibility of challenging Jeff Taylor on his assignment as USA with the change in the patriot Act?

    Can they really be certain about the judges? That is risky, unless they have stuff on them. And when it gets to the Court of Appeals, there could be an en banc hearing they couldn’t control. But they’d be long gone then, back in Texas yukking it up over the BBQ.

  3. P J Evans says:

    OT, but the Black jury has been talking to the reporters. There’s an AP wire story out. The opening of it:

    CHICAGO – Jurors who convicted former media baron Conrad Black say the complicated corporate fraud case became easier to understand as prosecutors laid out their evidence, but there wasn’t enough evidence to support some charges.

    Black, 62, who renounced his Canadian citizenship to become a member of the British House of Lords, was found guilty Friday on three counts of mail fraud and one count of obstruction of justice for moving documents out of his Toronto office in defiance of a court order. He was acquitted on nine other counts, including the most serious charge of racketeering.

    At the outset of the trial, it was difficult to keep track of the different companies involved, said juror Tina Kadisak. But eventually, â€you began to understand.â€

    The jury struggled with some of the counts during deliberations but said the prosecution came up short in its argument for the racketeering charge. Juror Monica Prince told the Chicago Sun-Times that there wasn’t enough â€paper evidence†to support a conviction on that count.

    Kadisak said the allegations of racketeering were credible but not backed up by the prosecution.

    â€There wasn’t enough evidence there,†the 32-year-old hairdresser told the Chicago Tribune. â€Could I see that it happened? Yes … but there wasn’t proof of it.â€

    Sounds familiar ….

  4. P J Evans says:

    OT, but the Black jury has been talking to the reporters. There’s an AP wire story out. The opening of it:

    CHICAGO – Jurors who convicted former media baron Conrad Black say the complicated corporate fraud case became easier to understand as prosecutors laid out their evidence, but there wasn’t enough evidence to support some charges.

    Black, 62, who renounced his Canadian citizenship to become a member of the British House of Lords, was found guilty Friday on three counts of mail fraud and one count of obstruction of justice for moving documents out of his Toronto office in defiance of a court order. He was acquitted on nine other counts, including the most serious charge of racketeering.

    At the outset of the trial, it was difficult to keep track of the different companies involved, said juror Tina Kadisak. But eventually, â€you began to understand.â€

    The jury struggled with some of the counts during deliberations but said the prosecution came up short in its argument for the racketeering charge. Juror Monica Prince told the Chicago Sun-Times that there wasn’t enough â€paper evidence†to support a conviction on that count.

    Kadisak said the allegations of racketeering were credible but not backed up by the prosecution.

    â€There wasn’t enough evidence there,†the 32-year-old hairdresser told the Chicago Tribune. â€Could I see that it happened? Yes … but there wasn’t proof of it.â€

    Sounds familiar ….

  5. masaccio says:

    I agree that the only real hope is use of the inherent contempt power. No one can really believe that Gonzales and the rest of the Bushlicans will take up the reference of contempt from the Congress. That will have to come out of the House, since we can’t get a majority in the Senate.

    As to Harriet Miers’ willingness to tell the truth, how could we know? The papers previously reported that she would, but since the only way someone could know that is from some republican apparatchik. Bush loyalists have shown a disconcerting willingness to lie, cheat and steal in the service of their cult.

    The cabal can only be broken by a branch of government willing to extirpate the Demonic Other which has possessed the White House.

  6. radiofreewill says:

    What I find truly reprehensible is that Harriet was White House Counsel – the exact same position as John Dean in the Nixon Administration.

    Did Dean evade his subpoena before he blew Watergate wide open (by telling the truth)?

    And, doesn’t Dean’s precedent – showing up – mean something here?

  7. kim says:

    Contempt for the public, the Congress, and the law, is the core motivation and defining value of the GW Bush administration.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Radiofreewill – Unfortunately, Dean’s precedent means everything here. That is exactly why Miers was ordered to not even appear. You were thinking that Dean’s precedent, and Watergate in general, taught the Republicans not to commit, and subsequently cover up, crimes; when it turns out that the lesson the Republicans took away was to be more professional and thuggish in their criminal activity.

  9. John Lopresti says:

    I have wondered what Miers did as the chief of the TX state lottery, and in her work for the energy sector in TX.

  10. Sojourner says:

    I have wondered the same thing: why Sarah and not Harriet?

    It has been stated in a couple of places that Harriet is incapable of lying — that she will respond with factual statements and truth. So, if lying is not in her nature, to even pretend that she could go up before the HJC or any other body and expect her to lie and maintain a poker face is probably just asking too much. Maybe Harriet told Bush that, and they made the decision to just see where the cards fall.

    In another vein, that also makes Harriet the weak link. If she appeared before the HJC, she could possibly have been asked the ONE question that would start her mouth running… No matter how well-intentioned she might be, or loyal to Bush, she would just say too much.

    So, if Harriet DOES know where the bodies are buried, then i would probably give everyone in the administration great heartburn for her to go up in front of the HJC.

    On a personal level, there is something about Harriet Myers that just chaps my rear end. She may be a totally wonderful person, but just looking at her photos antagonizes me. Maybe it is the eye makeup or something, but there just is nothing attractive about her. I suspect that there are some others who react as I do. Carry that over to some people on the HJC who feel as I do, and she would have had a pretty rough time under questioning. There is nothing sympathetic about her at all. Couple that with the anger that exists toward the Bush people anyway, and Harriet would have been vaporized.

    Remember, Bush puts his loyalties to his friends ahead of all else. So, he simply did not want to put his good friend, Harriet, through the grinder — no matter what the law says.

    So, it opens up the court fight, unless Congress develops the cojones to go for inherent contempt. Then, I suspect that Harriet will sing like a bird… (at least I can dream, can’t I)

  11. Kagro X says:

    I just figured it was a PR decision. That it would be harder to sell imprisonment for contempt against a little old lady than for Paris Hilton another privileged blond.

  12. Anonymous says:

    No reason for a court fight Sojourner, simply have the Sergeant at Arms put Dear Harriet in the jail in the basement of Congress. In an ironic turn-a-bout, I also recommend leaving the lights on extremely bright, turning the thermostat down to about 37 degrees and blasting Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath 24 hours a day.

  13. Kagro X says:

    There used to be a cell down there. Its location isn’t even a certainty anymore, from what I understand. Probably long since converted to storage. They also used to have a jail on the site that’s now the Supreme Court, I understand.

    They’d probably use the â€Capitol Jail,†located at 1901 D Street, S.E.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Wherever they store Harriet while she is on ice is fine; a hardened steel cage should not be necessary. Put a cot and a port-a-potty in a storage closet in the basement and lock her in.

  15. Sojourner says:

    BMAZ, I would love to see that happen but I am not holding my breath. I suspect that there is fear of how the thugs would use that to their advantage. As someone noted above, to arrest a grandmotherly-type just would not be very good PR

    I have to wonder, though, if the stonewalling on the Pat Tillman information is not going to light a fuse as nothing else has. It is tragic that the man was killed by friendly fire, but there is more to it, apparently. Someone in the administration (Bush, Rove, Cheney, whoever — they all smell alike) just does not want the truth out because it will make someone look bad. Except, this is not about political matters. It was someone’s son — someone’s flesh and blood. It puts it on a personal level, and I really hope that it develops legs.

  16. Elliott says:

    Maybe BushCo just doesn’t have confidence in Harriet’s ability to play the â€I don’t recall†rag and they’re desperate.

    I hope they’re desperate, I mean they should be desperate.

    can’t we start impeaching now, pleeasse

  17. Anonymous says:

    Please keep following your wonts, Marcy.

    I’ve been wondering all along why the buck seemed to stop at Harriet Miers in the email trails. I suspect that if there’s one person who can put the finger on who really made the decision, it is she. You could say the same about Taylor, I suppose, but Miers was the recipient, along with her deputy, of an email from Kyle Sampson saying they were â€We’ll stand by for a green light from you.â€

    http://cujo359.blogspot.com/20…..eight.html

    (the first quoted e-mail)

    I can understand the WHC having input on this decision, but the authority to approve it? Seems a bit beyond the job description to me.

    Of course, I could easily be wrong. I’m not good at org charts.

  18. Neil says:

    Maybe Miers, although nifty with a lawyerly answer, wouldn’t lie and therefor people in the WH knows she should never be allowed to testify. Why play the immunity card early? Let Reese Witherspoon Sara Taylor testify, appear to cooperate, pull Miers and see what happens. She’s a good doobie, she’ll do as she’s told.

    Did Sara Taylor mispeak when she said she took a loyalty oath to the president constitution under oath the the SJC?

  19. John Lopresti says:

    Conyers subpoenaed the emails Friday. So the Fielding orchestrated stricture to Miers serves the purpose of obstructing congressional discovery in that arena, as well. I wonder if ew has studied Miers prosody, if any of Miers’ missives already were in the documents provided to congress. The Conyers letter describing the enclosed subpoena makes a timeline somewhat clear, that counsel from both White House and his committee met and agreed on which were the documents targeted by the subpoena, though I would wonder if there is an unpublished letter from Conyers enumerating yet other documents; there are several investigations ongoing. Since the process Conyers describes was cordial and direct, I would expect that the timeframe for final agreement between counsel would fit with the threshold for issuing the Miers recantation of her original agreement to appear.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Sojourner – You may be right about the PR aspect of jailing Miers, but how is that any different than using kids and grandmothers to sell crack? All should be equal under the law.

    As to Pat Tillman, I guarantee that there is more. I had the extreme pleasure of being acquainted with Pat. During the 90’s, I lived in South Tempe, about a mile from the Artizona Cardinals training facility. On days I worked at home, I often rode my bicycle over to a deli in between my house and the Cardinal’s facility, and numerous times ran into Pat there and chatted and/or ate lunch with him. He was a character; rode his bike everywhere during his college years at ASU, and kept on doing so even after becoming a wealthy pro athlete. He was incredibly intelligent and a VERY deep and passionate thinker. I moved in 2000 and lost track of him other than the news accounts. From my understanding, he was livid with Bush and the invasion of Iraq. He also kept a meticulous diary of his daily thoughts and experiences. He was becoming vocal and agitated with the Administration’s conduct and was starting to speak out. This is precisely consistent with the Pat Tillman I knew. This honesty would have been devastating for the Bush Administration coming from the (unwilling, but definitive) poster boy they had propped up Pat to be. I have personally always assumed that the whole immediate lock down of the scene, burning of the clothes etc. was not just about covering up an embarrassing friendly fire death, but also about securing and destroying the meticulous diary he was well known to keep. The diary, of course, was never found even though he was known to keep it on him at all times.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Location of Harriet’s cell makes a huge difference. If her cell is not INSIDE the congress, wouldn’t Bushie will order federal marshalls or troops to overpower the Seargeant at arms and free Harriet?

    But if the media broadcasts video of the administration invading the halls of congress to free Harriet that will be enough to tip electorate into demanding Bushie be both impeached and removed.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Maybe the best solution to all of this is for the House to vote articles of impeachment. This act of ignoring Congressional oversight can be one of the long list of Executive acts that have abrogated the Constitution. As was pointed out on Bill Moyers Journal, Congress has a Constitutional duty, not an just an option, to reign in Executive power when that branch of government oversteps Constitutional limits.

  23. Anonymous says:

    John Forde – i agree, the imagery you describe would be powerful; however, I am not sure that, legally, there is a distinction. If Congress has the jurisdiction and authority to incarcerate her, the location they designate should not be determinative and the Capitol Jail Facility Kagro X describes would suffice.

  24. dotsright says:

    I wonder if there is any coordination going on between the HJC and the SJC? Why was Taylor called before one and Miers before the other?

    It may well be that they were expecting to have to charge Miers with contempt (inherent or otherwise) and given the much stronger Democratic side in the House that would be a much easier vote to get through.

    At least I hope that was their strategy.

  25. Frank Probst says:

    I think Harriet’s just the last person left before Rove, so they figured they’d make their stand now. I don’t really think that they’ve got their judges lined up to support their decision. Except for Bush v Gore (and that was a big one, obviously), I can’t think of any big legal cases that Team Bush has won.

    Speaking of which, both the prosecutor and presiding judge have both called bullshit (in writing, no less) on the Scooter commutation. Is there ANY historical precedent for this?

  26. Frank Probst says:

    Re: The location of Harriet’s cell.

    Why don’t they just handcuff her to a chair on the main floor of the House of Representatives? After a few days of floor debate, she’d tell them everything she knows.

  27. Cranky Observer says:

    I wouldn’t discount that theory, but this is also the basic Cheney/Rove MO: â€Take what you can. Give nothing backâ€. And give not .000000001 inch to any investigative or oversight body. So they might be following standard procedure or just being reflexive.

    Cranky

  28. Anonymous says:

    Thanks BMAZ. I think Bushco will guaratntee this is not about the law. It is about brute power. And if Bushco were to free Harriet, what relevance is the law?

  29. melior says:

    Contempt for the public, the Congress, and the law, is the core motivation and defining value of the GW Bush administration.

    I now prefer the word I looked up after reading John Dean’s excellent analysis — â€contumacious†— as the ideal descriptor of Bush and his cronies.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Frank Probst – Don’t forget the Circuit Court of Appeals Panel, which included Sentelle a raging conservative Gooper for life, also agreed with the position of the prosecutor and trial judge. In regards to your suggestion of chaining Harriet to a chair in the well of the House; I thought we were supposed to be against cruel and inhumane torture!

  31. Sojourner says:

    BMAZ, I agree wholeheartedly that all should be equal under the law. Sadly, it seems that when justice butts up against political considerations or personal friendships, justice seems to get the short end. There just seems to be this incredible posturing going on by both sides — and our side just does not seem to have the balls to do what needs to be done. I hope that I am wrong…

    It sounds like you developed quite a friendship with Tillman. I hope that whatever the administration is trying to hide comes out. I am sure that it was quite a shock to hear of his death.

    A very close friend of mine died in the embassy bombings in Kenya. It really brought home the senselessness of terroristic acts, and put Osama in my sights. More than anything, though, I just grieved.

    As a side note, I remember when President Clinton was televised showing up when the embassy victims’ coffins arrived at Andrews AFB, and his remarks at the time. His troubles were highly publicized, and I remember thinking that he was such an idiot. In retrospect, his mistakes were much more simple than what this present administration is putting us through. Imperfect as it was, the wheels of justice turned…

    I am meandering… Thanks for sharing about Tillman!

  32. Anonymous says:

    Doesn’t the Sgt. at Arms have to arrest Harriet within the Capitol building, so that, if Harriet never goes there, she can’t be arrested?

    Is that why she won’t show up for the committee?

  33. Anonymous says:

    MarkinSF – I could be wrong, but I would think there is some, probably semi-archaic, provision somewhere that confers the status of designated peace officer on the Sergeant of Arms, thus allowing him jurisdiction outside of the Congressional building.

    Sojourner – I wasn’t close to Tillman, just a casual friendship as described, but he was a remarkably bright and deep person, the kind that supposedly don’t exist in the youth today; an unfortunate loss. The thing that sticks out about your Clinton story was that he at least had the grace to meet the coffins; something our current dolt-in-chief cannot muster.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Somebody had meetings in the White House; who called them, whose offices were they in, who were they intended to inform or from whom were they designed to cull information? the emails give evidence of these meetings, but nobody asks about the specific details of the meetings, which can’t really be fully covered by executive privilege.

    I wonder whether Harriet provided the first opinion about her own appearance in front of the HJC; she didn’t impress the SJC with her legal acumen when preparing for the Senate confirmation hearings for her SCOTUS nomination. Did she screw up, and then Fielding had to get called in to prop her up?

    Perhaps this is all elaborate chess, although it’s so muddled from the view out here that it’s hard to believe it is. SJC would make toast of Miers, but the HJC is in far better shape to make a move for inherent contempt. But will they execute?

    All I do know is that I am angrier yet — not just that Sara Taylor was a rude, disrespectful, whiny child-woman with our elected representatives, or that aged cheerleader Miers couldn’t do the right thing, but that these miserable wretches make me miss Fawn Hall.

  35. Sailmaker says:

    I think John Dean is right: this is Fred Fielding’s attempt to get Congress to send their complaints to court, where a federal judge might say that this is a political problem, not a judicial problem. Then there would be a court precedent and no executive branch personnel would ever show up for a Congressional subpoena ever again.

    By going with inherent contempt (not used since 1934) which Scalia has already said is still legal, Congress would save time in getting justice, and Congress would avoid setting a bad precedent.

    I think John Dean is exactly right about why Fielding is getting Bush to do this audacious insightment of Congress with Meirs: to get Congress to go running into the spring loaded trap of the federal courts.

  36. Ishmael says:

    Bmaz – regarding Pat Tillman, thank you for the insight into his character and intelligence. As canny a commentator as Digby herself has considered the possibility that Pat was assassinated (fragged doesn’t seem quite the right word), possibly from within the unit to cover up misconduct, and to prevent the taint of an Abu Ghraib-type scandal from spreading into the â€good war†in Afghanistan. I agree with both you and Sojourner that if the Tillman files did indicate something as awful that he was murdered, either by fellow soldiers, or by superiors who made sure that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, it would catch fire like nothing else, given his character and celebrity as an NFL player.

    As for Harriet & Sara, I wondered why HJC was given the crack at Harriet, when she obviously knew so much, although she also had the strongest claim to executive privilege. It has occurred to me that the back and forth between the WH and Harriet’s counsel, plus the fact that her counsel appeared to request an opinion from DOJ to cover Harriet’s back after agreeing to appear, shows that Harriet would not pull an AGAG pinata act and â€forget†everything. Unlike Sara and Monica and even AGAG, Harriet was a real lawyer in the real world, and had a reasonable career in Texas – she was not a member of the Bush Cargo Cult from the beginning of her career, and I think that she would not out and out lie – again, John Dean himself thinks she would do a â€John Dean†if forced. I believe that if forced, she might do a John Dean – as EW thinks David Addington would be an excellent witness, I think the same for Harriet.

  37. Albert Fall says:

    Doesn’t this run on two tracks, ultimately?

    Assume Miers refuses to appear and DOJ refuses to enforce subpoena (that is, before you even get to a friendly judiciary, you have a politicized DOJ that acts as Bush’s first firewall).

    Then I think you have the House–where there is no filibuster– holding informational and instructional hearings on impeachment–why it is done, why it is valuable, why these circumstances are valid ones in which to invoke it. That has a political and educational function–oh, and by the way, Reps get no say in the conduct of the hearings.

    Second, you impeach Gonzo in the House, lay out the lies and grounds for his removal. Trial in Senate–no filibuster in impeachment either–Reps are for the party or for the country; for obstruction of justice, or for the country.

    By mid-fall, Reps are either watching the entire party get broken by Iraq and the demands of WH for support, or they are deserting Bush and he is standing alone.

    They caused it, it isn’t pretty, but let’s play the hand as hard and as smart as possible.

  38. bluebleeder says:

    All the time, everyday, anytime I ponder the lawbreaking of the Bush administration, in the wide musings of my mind I see the fire and sparks of the ongoing and increasingly raging conflagration. this is not like the burning of the books, it is the burning of the Constitution, the laws, and the political traditions of the United States of America.

    I do believe that all of this will be the undoing of our America. I believe that these criminals are seeking to usurp and destroy the will of the people and their elections. I believe that such a plan actually exists, that the plan has been and is now being carried out – and that they believe it is right and justifiable.

    Not just many Americans, but a large majority of Americans now go along with the administration and are too mollified by their comfortable life to fight any of it. Most think it is not worth a fight; they are willing to to see what will happen next. Now, right now, they think they are not affected and that if Bushco is pushed out in the 2008 election the political passions will be tempered and life will continue on.

    I believe Bushco will not relinquish the power they now have; that they firmly believe in their 40 year political and governing domination of America. I believe they are firmly entrenched and adeptly covering up their crimes against the nation, crimes they cover with silence and stories. I believe they carry plans for the greatest American crime – taking it all over permanently. All of it.

    This is an administration that came to govern by guile and fraud in 2000 and has steadily increased their control. They will not give it up. There will be no elections in 2008.

  39. Ishmael says:

    Bluebleeder – there will be elections in 2008, but I pity any Democrat who may win – s/he will be treated in such a way as to make the travails of Carter and Clinton look small in comparison. I do think that any Democrat who does win will have to avoid the decisions of Carter and Clinton to give these fascists any benefit of the doubt whatsoever – I hope there will be a landslide and that circumstances will convince the public that nothing less than an FDR New Deal is necessary to rebuild the government and the role of the people in American society. In that sense, I do think that regardless of the result of the 2008 elections, Bushco will still seek to try and control the government.

  40. green heron says:

    Locking Harriet up would be a huge error. The White House would have a field day if Conyers locked up an old lady. The best course would be to enforce a subpoena against Rove.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Green heron – with all due respect, it doesn’t matter if she is old, a lady or both. The rule of law is not meant to be selectively enforced; that is precisely the horseshit they want you to fall for. Miers was of young enough, tough enough and of sufficient stuff to serve as White House Counsel and be nominated for the Supreme Court, but she is to frail to be incarcerated for her contemptuous and violative behavior? That BS doesn’t fly as far as I am concerned.

  42. David Olsen says:

    The White House would have a field day if Conyers locked up an old lady

    Harriet’s pretty close to Judy Miller’s age, isn’t she? The usual suspects would cry and cavetch but their logic wouldn’t hold up any better. What are you hiding Ms. Miers?

  43. David Olsen says:

    The White House would have a field day if Conyers locked up an old lady

    Harriet’s pretty close to Judy Miller’s age, isn’t she? The usual suspects would cry and cavetch but their logic wouldn’t hold up any better. What are you hiding Ms. Miers?

  44. Anonymous says:

    David Olsen

    Yeah, but she doesn’t LOOK as good. Trust me. I’m no fan of Judy Miller. But she is one superbly preserved human specimen. I’d like to look that good, maybe 5 years ago.

  45. prostratedragon says:

    Harriet Miers is 61. Not so old in fact, but old enough that she can easily be â€positioned†as old as necessary.

    That could be why she was chosen, but if so it wasn’t merely for pr. It would be to use the pr angle to force the Congress to keep sitting at that empty table where the Bushies figure they belong. (And don’t forget, the Miers nomination led to one of the first defeats in Congress for Mister He-tried-to-kill-my-dad.)

    I sure hope **** from hill-way who hangs out sometimes reads and distributes Dean’s column.

  46. [email protected] says:

    I don’t think locking Harriet up would cause any sort of uproar at all. Most people have no idea who she is. Judy Miller spent more than two months in the clink, and no one outside the media cared.

  47. Sara says:

    As to Tillman — the best thing that could happen on this score would be for a clear notice of what happened be posted in every VFW and American Legion Post in the Land. From what I can tell they are already pretty pissed out on Iraq and all — and the idea that the President would forbid the truth coming out about one of their own would be serious business in that realm.

    But the basic issue, the testimony of the family, Conyers and the committee’s efforts to get documents, and finally Bush’s Gag Order needs to be laid out for them as clear evidence — and what they need to do needs to follow. This is part of the base now walking away from Bush — and they need to be asked to do a bit more.

  48. Anonymous says:

    Sara — jeepers, I wonder if there’s a way to get the fax number of most VFW and American Legion post in the country? Not a bad idea to make sure they all get a copy…

  49. Xenos says:

    Does anyone know where Harriet Miers is? With all the news, no one has apparently been able to contact her, photograph her, or anything else. Will she be hidden away overseas or in an undisclosed location if a contempt is issued?

  50. bmaz says:

    Xenos – Fine. Order the contempt incarceration and let her be a fugitive from justice and scream that the White House is aiding, abetting and obstructing justice. This is metaphorical, because I think inherent contempt would be technically considered a civil contempt; but it would be easy pickings to tag the White House in this manner.

  51. orionATL says:

    i’m not a great fan of impeachment,

    though it is alluring.

    but i would love to find a way to break this logjam with fielding/whitehouse.

    one way might be a â€short†impeachment; a â€little†impeachment.

    vote the articles against fielding or the u.s. attorney for d.c., in the judiciary committee.

    insist that the white house provide documents to support that impeachment investigation,

    whether given or withheld, the documents would warrant a vote to impeach in the house.

    lose in the senate but make the point that senate republicans failed to support â€the rule of lawâ€.

    what i’d like to hope is that, before the matter got to the floor of the house,

    let alone to the senate,

    there would be white house cave-ins.

    for this to work would require a senate/congressional media blitz, that, alas ,

    i have not seen the democrats capable of exercising.

    all the above is just talk on my part.

    but the central relevant question that does need answering is:

    what tactic could democrats use to break the fielding/white house logjam?

    of course, civil disobedience would do the trick,

    but the republicans seem to have already cornered the market on fired up young folk.

    and fired up old folk are hard to find,

    except on weblogs.

  52. Jodi says:

    emptywheel,

    I agree with you on Judy. Judy is 59, about my mom’s age. My mom is in very good physical shape, but mom said she would love to look as good as Judy.

    If you remember, I suggested that perhaps Scooter Libby had multiple purposes scheduling a long breakfast with Judy. He looks like a player to me.

  53. Anonymous says:

    Hey, Meiers gets no slack from me because of her age.

    Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time, babe. Nice old ladies don’t blow off Congressional subpoenas.

    Lock her up!

  54. pdaly says:

    To Melior at July 14, 2007 20:20

    Add â€unregenerate†to the mix.

    From the online dictionary the following and several nuanced definitions of â€unregenerateâ€. All seem to apply to Bush & Co:

    Adj. 1. unregenerate – not regenerate or reformed; â€unregenerate human natureâ€; â€unregenerate conservatismâ€
    unregenerated

    lost – spiritually or physically doomed or destroyed; â€lost soulsâ€; â€a lost generationâ€; â€a lost shipâ€; â€the lost platoonâ€

    impenitent, unremorseful, unrepentant – not penitent or remorseful
    regenerate – reformed spiritually or morally; â€a regenerate sinnerâ€; â€regenerate by redemption from error or decayâ€

    2. unregenerate – hopelessly bad; â€an unregenerate criminalâ€
    depraved, unreformable
    incorrigible – impervious to correction by punishment

    3. unregenerate – persisting in a reactionary stand
    obstinate, stubborn

    unreconstructed – adhering to an attitude or position widely held to be outmoded; â€peasants are still unreconstructed small capitalists at heartâ€; â€there are probably more unreconstructed Southerners than one would like to admitâ€

  55. pdaly says:

    Did anyone else hear Taylor rehearsing, almost out of range of her mike, something like ’for facts it’s I do not recall and for …’ I didn’t catch the rest. Seemed like she had a plan hatched with her lawyer for dealing with all the scary stuff. Their whisperings were pretty loud, but I could not make out over the hum of my aging analog TV. Did any of you hear better?

    Off topic (or is it?): When Taylor grabbed her water the camera angle made it look like she was sucking on a baby bottle or pacifier. Her interruptions of the senators didn’t change my opinion. She came off as someone used to being the center of attention and unused to having to listen to the words of others. The only think that makes me hesitate and think it could be nerves is the image of her eyes bugging out every time she took a rescue swig from her bottle.

  56. Xenos says:

    I think John Dean is right: this is Fred Fielding’s attempt to get Congress to send their complaints to court, where a federal judge might say that this is a political problem, not a judicial problem.

    Bush: â€I was born and bred in a brier patch, Mister Conyers, born and bred in a brier patch!â€

    Maybe Congress would get around to pulling that brier patch out by the roots. Impeachment, it is not just for Presidents!

  57. hauksdottir says:

    I will make allowances for extreme old age, youth below the age of maturity, and incapacitation such as retardation or mental illness. For intent, you must have basic capacity.

    Otherwise, it ought to be equal justice for all adults… even if blond, female, weak, drug-addled, religious, wealthy, famous, gifted. Sports pro, preacher, heiress, financier can serve the same jail time as housecleaner, longshoreman, madam, migrant.

    As a lawyer, Ms Miers has an extra obligation to the Law itself, but that perhaps is more a societal thing, than a legal issue. We expect people in privileged positions to be role-models in a culture looking for heroism and ideals.

    I’m a disabled 56-year-old blond female artist… does that mean I have 5 get-out-of-jail-free cards? Nope. If I shot someone in the face, outed a spy, defrauded the government of billions, promoted torture and rendition, forged evidence leading to the invasion of another country, or merely helped conceal such activities, I’d expect to see the inside of a jail. So why should Ms Miers be able to play the sympathy card?

    Wealthy people can delay proceedings, but they must still face Justice.

  58. Neil says:

    If you remember, I suggested that perhaps Scooter Libby had multiple purposes scheduling a long breakfast with Judy. He looks like a player to me. Posted by: Jodi | July 15, 2007 at 00:57

    Of course, it’s all about the sex. You’re a frickin genius.

  59. Anonymous says:

    I think the reason that Harriet can’t appear is that it would expose the entire â€executive privilege†argument as a sham.

    While Sara Taylor (a non-lawyer) could just refer to the Fielding letter and claim executive privilege, Miers is a lawyer — and former White House Counsel — in her own right. The moment she made a dubious executive privilege claim, she would be forced to defend the claim —- providing her personal views and the legal rationale behind her understanding of privilege. And Miers just isn’t that sharp— she would be made mincemeat of, and be forced to acknowledge the flaws in her argument.

    And having acknowledged those flaws, she would be compelled to testify about stuff she’d rather not talk about.

    In other words, unlike Taylor, Miers could not plead ignorance about what constitutes executive privilege and get away with it.

  60. Sailmaker says:

    Rumor has it that Meirs, should she take the stand, would tell the truth. I don’t think the Bush administration wants to take a chance on that.

  61. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Even a public airing and documentation of the questions Harriet Miers refuses to answer would jeopardize the administration.

    What is unclear to me is whether Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi and others in the Democratic Party leadership recognize how coordinated a campaign it is that they are attempting to resist with apparently ad hoc actions. The corruption of the Justice Dept took years to accomplish, for example, as did stuffing the DC Circuit with Brett Kavanaughs. The latter was an even better move, however. The appointmenst are for life, and given how few cases the S.Ct. takes, the DC Circuit, which hears most appeals in cases involving govt action, is usually the court of last resort. Kavanaugh, unless impeached for lying to Congress, will be deciding cases for decades.

    I wholeheartedly agree that the Dem leadership needs to agree on the framework of criticism – both analytical and the key emotional message points – and then needs to select a handful of issues to drive their point home. Examples might include the Tillman case – NFL play starts in a few weeks – and an impeachment inquiry over Gonzales. I like that because all the information it yields would directly threaten Cheney and Bush but in a way that makes it harder for them to defend as merely a partisan attack on the president.

  62. JGabriel says:

    bmaz: â€Wherever they store Harriet while she is on ice is fine; a hardened steel cage should not be necessary. Put a cot and a port-a-potty in a storage closet in the basement and lock her in.â€

    Yes. And then assign her a guard with a particular taste for punk, skronk, industrial noise, etc.

    I figure a few hours of Black Sabbath’s War Pigs, John Zorn’s Naked City, Husker Du’s Eight Miles High, All Work And No Play, and New Day Rising, along with some Throbbing Gristle, (maybe throw in some Rage Against The Machine, Ministry, and Nine Inch Nails) and Harriet will be begging to testify within a couple hours.

  63. Jodi says:

    Neil,

    Naw, it is just something a working girl has to deal with all the time. Pretty soon you can spot 80% of the jerks after less than 2 minutes with them.

    About the same on a blog Neil!