Friday, May 4, 2007

Impach George W. Bush Now: "The McNulty-Rove Meeting" by Scott Horton

Scott Horton writes:

"The McNulty-Rove Meeting": This morning the McClatchy Newspapers report in greater detail on a meeting between Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty and Karl Rove at the White House which focused on an appearance of the number three at Justice—William E. Moschella—to answer queries about the sacking of U.S. attorneys.

According to a congressional aide, McNulty said he attended a White House meeting with Karl Rove, President Bush's top political adviser, and other officials on March 5, the day before McNulty's deputy William Moschella was to testify to Congress about the firings. White House officials told the Justice Department group that they needed to agree on clear reasons why each prosecutor was fired and explain them to Congress, McNulty said, according to the aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the transcript of McNulty's interview hasn't been made public.

McNulty said that White House officials never revealed during the meeting that they'd been discussing plans to replace some prosecutors with Gonzales aides, the congressional aide said. McNulty recalled feeling disturbed and concerned when he found out days later that the White House had been involved, the congressional aide said. McNulty considered the extent of White House coordination to be "extremely problematic."

“Extremely problematic” in this case is a code word for “grossly improper.” Moschella went to the hill the next day and made a series of statements which were in the main highly misleading—and some which were later revealed as outright falsehoods. But the whole account provided by McNulty is suspicious. He’s meeting with Rove to agree on a cover story that another official will be sent to the hill to relay . . . and then he claims that he was “disturbed” when he finds out the White House is involved at some later point? Is that really even marginally credible at this point? McNulty was a sort of stationmaster in this entire process, he knew of the core role played by Sampson and Goodling, and he certainly also knew about the secret memorandum empowering them as the Lord-High Executioners for Karl Rove. The fact of the meeting with Rove and the need to “coordinate” answers with him is self-explanatory in this regard. Moreover, McNulty’s claims of distance from the affair become progressively more stretched when we consider the critical role played by his chief of staff, Michael Elston, in attempting to pressure all the U.S. attorneys into silence in the face of a growing probe.

McNulty’s characterizations of his role are simply not credible. He’s escaping fire in this regards only because they are marginally less incredible than those of so many others—starting with Alberto Gonzales himself.

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