Saturday, July 19, 2008

Regarding the latest in a running series of executive-privilege assertions:
"As far as I know, this is an utterly unprecedented executive-privilege claim," said Peter Shane, an Ohio State University law professor who is an expert on executive privilege and separation-of-powers issues. "I've never heard this claim before."

Normally, claims of executive privilege are invoked to protect the disclosure of the president's communications with his top advisers. But in this case, the White House invoked the claim to keep secret Cheney's responses to FBI agents (hardly what anybody would call his advisers), who were grilling him as part of the now-closed criminal investigation headed by Fitzgerald.
But a number of former federal prosecutors and legal scholars said that Mukasey's argument that future White House officials wouldn't cooperate with the Justice Department if Cheney's 302 report were to be publicly disclosed seemed a stretch. (The legal claims were prepared in part by Office of Legal Counsel chief Stephen Bradbury, whose legal opinions on interrogation and torture have come under fire from Congress).

"Creative is a good word to describe it," said Mark Rozell, another executive-privilege expert who is a professor at George Mason University's School of Public Policy, about the attorney general's contention. "This is really an argument to protect the White House's own political interests and save it from embarrassment."
And constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley adds:
You know, reading this letter from Attorney General Mukasey, the president is extraordinary, he doesn‘t just claim presidential privilege, he claims deliberative process privilege, he claims law enforcement privilege, he claims anything short of a copyright infringement, to keep the documents away from Congress....We‘ve seen this in other area where Mukasey is treating the White House as off the constitutional grid. That anything that happens in that building, in his view, is simply not accessible to Congress.
And, you know, this is why when senators Schumer and Feinstein saved Mukasey‘s confirmation, this is what they purchased. And what Congress needs to do, the only thing they can do, is to bring back inherent contempt and to say they‘re going to start to exercise contempt on their own, that the deal is off.

Attorney General Mukasey has broken a very long-standing promise to be a faithful broker, to bring this case to the grand jury—he won‘t. And Congress has a right, now, to say, “We‘re going back to doing this stuff ourselves.”
Btw, where is Chuck Schumer regarding all of this? Wasn't he Mukasey's biggest cheerleader for the Dems? Thanks much AWOL Chuckie!

But is Mukasey there to represent we the people and enforce the laws of this land, or is he there to first and foremost protect, defend, and insulate the president? I thought we got rid of the last stooge performing such a role -- we now just have a new one?

And if Mukasey can do this and get away with it, what's stopping him or any other arm of the administration from doing anything they want whatsoever? I'm starting to think our system of government has no teeth when it comes to checks and oversight, that perhaps the founding fathers never anticipated such a brazen, ambitious and dare I say fascist type leader to take the helm of the country. Is this the fault of the naiveness of our great forefathers -- or does the right amount of checks and balances exist and it's the congressional Dems who are just too weak-kneed and flaccid to enforce such powers?

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