Sunday, April 15, 2007 Fred Fielding Tries to Save His Reputation?

Michael Froomkin writes: Fred Fielding Tries to Save His Reputation?: Heard an interesting snippet on NPR yesterday, and I found the transcript at NPR : Documents Show Justice Ranking U.S. Attorneys. Here’s the key quote:

In a letter Thursday, White House Counsel Fred Fielding told Congress he won’t budge from his original offer — to let Congress interview White House staffers privately, with no oath or transcript.Sources tell NPR that Fielding actually wants to negotiate with Congress about how the interviews will take place. But Fielding has not been able to persuade President Bush to go along.

Assuming this is accurate, the most likely back story to this leak is that Fred Fielding is trying to save his reputation. And that means there’s some really bad stuff lurking behind the stonewall. It also fits the public image of Bush as stonewaller-in-chief. (Shorter GW Bush: ‘Congress, read my lips, no Iraq withdrawal. But come on by for a chat and I’ll be happy to harangue you as long as you listen quietly.’)

An alternate explanation for this story is that someone, perhaps Fielding perhaps someone else, is trying to put pressure on Gonzales or the White House to see reason. But I think that’s less likely here. In previous administrations, leaks like this used to be salvos fired in internecine wars among the palace guard. That’s been remarkably not the case in this administration due to a combination of exemplary message discipline and know-nothing disinterest in both reportage and reality. Then again, Fielding earned his chops in two of those earlier administrations…

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