Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Right To Remain Silent…Or Not

Christy has a great post about Goodling taking the 5th. Read the whole thing. Here are some excerpts:

No fear of criminal implication against oneself, no 5th Amendment. Which means that Ms. Goodling can only invoke this if she fears that she has done something which is prosecutable under the law. No taking the 5th because you might embarrass yourself, your boss, or your political cronies — there has to be a connection to some criminal matter in order for it to be properly invoked. And no invoking it as a means to avoid testimony that might be difficult because you might have to rat out folks higher up on the crony chain — the law does not make exceptions for the powerful, nor does it make exceptions for the vindictive and nasty. Truth is truth. Period.

And no taking the 5th just because the mean old Senators and Congresspeople want to do their sworn Constitutional duty and provide oversight in the possibility that you and your peeps at the DoJ, and all the various and sundry minions in Rove's political shop decided that you could run the United States government as your own personal electioneering machine, regardless of the laws of this nation. Even Boss Tweed had to pay the piper for his corruption and graft in the end, and just because you work for the President's bestest buddy does not mean that you don't have to follow the law, too. (Hint: You work at the DoJ. Try hanging out in the law library and actually reading the books there. Start with a text on the Constitution — you clearly need a refresher.)

What does this say to me? It says that Ms. Goodling's attorney, one John Dowd, will begin negotiations with the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the potential for Ms. Goodling to put up under cover of immunity. (Note to Mr. Dowd: if your letter to the committee chair was as snotty as it is rumored to have been, it's a nice public act to put on for the GOP cronies of your client while you negotiate behind the scenes, but you might want to back that down a notch because Pat Leahy is not the sort to put up with a lot of posturing crap for very long. Just FYI.) It also says to me that Ms. Goodling either has a nice cash stash, that someone else is footing her legal bills, or that Mr. Dowd is an old family friend, because a man with this background does not come cheaply to the negotiation table


And that seems to me to be the crux of the problem for Ms. Goodling: the cover story hasn't been settled on this one, and in a fluid situation where telling the truth can get you in trouble with the vindictive pit of vipers that work in "Rove's shop," she'd rather not have to be honest, thank you very much. Except that isn't what the law provides, and I'm certain that her lawyer is more than aware of that — and that folks on the Judiciary Committees in both houses of Congress are more than aware of this as well. So, why the public feint? Again, I think it's a maneuver to buy some time for behind-the-scenes negotiations. But I'm going to do some more digging on this.

While we are at it: huge kudos to Rep. Henry Waxman who sent out a lovely note to the White House document folks reminding them of their legal responsibility to maintain and archive ALL e-mails, even those using an non-WH addy, and that Waxman would like to have a chat about just how many of those are being used. You know, while we're thinking about it. More from Justin Rood at ABC's The Blotter. And from emptywheel.

Ahhhh, I love the smell of oversight in the morning.


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