Document Diving & Latest On Purgegate

Ken AshfordAttorney FiringsLeave a Comment

A lot of people following the U.S. Attorney Firing Kerfuffle are doing a lot of document diving — i.e., going through the documents and emails released this week by the DOJ (over 3,000 pages) to look BEHIND what the news will tell you tomorrow.

Time doesn’t permit me to review documents myself, but for those interested, the documents are now searchable, thanks to the fine work of the people here.

Meanwhile, it looks like we’re headed for a showdown, with the House approving the use of subpoenas to get Rove and Miers on the record, and Bush vowing to fight the subpeonas.  The law is on the House’s side, and I hope the Bush people are trying to make an argument regarding executive privileged that failed to carry the day when Nixon tried it in United States v. Nixon.  There, the court was quite clear:

The President’s need for complete candor and objectivity from advisers calls for great deference from the courts. However, when the privilege depends solely on the broad, undifferentiated claim of public interest in the confidentiality of such conversations, a confrontation with other values arises. Absent a claim of need to protect military, diplomatic, or sensitive national security secrets, we find it difficult to accept the argument that even the very important interest in confidentiality of Presidential communications is significantly diminished by production of such material for in camera inspection with all the protection that a district court will be obliged to provide.

Glenn Greenwald has the (very readable) skinny on "executive privilege" — the kind of post I would write if I had the time and considerably better writing skills.

UPDATE:  How Nixonian can you get?  Looks like the DOJ "document dump" has an 18-day gap.  (For those of you under 30, here’s the historical reference)


UPDATE:  CNN’s Ed Henry, via Atrios, makes an excellent point:

I think also, another thing to look at, I followed up a question about executive privilege. You heard Tony Snow at the end there saying the president has no recollection of being involved in this decision to fire the US attorneys. So we asked the question then, well why are you citing executive privilege – or at least suggesting you will, and yesterday the president said the principle at stake here is candid advice from his advisers to the president – if the president was not involved in the decision, then how can you cite executive privilege on something he was really not involved in? And Tony Snow basically said, it’s a good question and I don’t know the answer.