UPDATE: Steve Soto reels out this story a bit. Like me, he also thinks the threat from Gonzales and Mueller was real on this one. I know many are cynical about this, but this element is serious. Soto's take on Cheney is good, but frankly, I didn't even pay the Post story any mind, because I found it to be utter crap. Read Soto instead.
for them, all of them. I can't stand most of the actions of our top cop,
but he actually got one right, as did Mueller and the other officers involved.
Leader Pelosi was also right when she asked Jefferson to resign Ways and Means.
But then she joined Hastert, ostensibly arguing that the Congress can make their
offices a sanctuary, even in criminal cases. It's an absurd position. I'm not a lawyer, so I've come to this decision after talking and listening to more than one attorney. Here's a view that I think
lays it out perfectly.
that’s just constitutionally absurd.
There’s nothing in the Constitution either under separation of powers
or the speech and debate clause which prohibits the FBI, under the auspices
of the Justice Department, from doing what they did.
One thing that I’m very concerned about is that this will be intimidation
of the FBI and the Justice Department. And if they are to keep their credibility
with the American people, they had better not capitulate on this one. You
have several investigations taking place involving members of Congress and
staff. And this would be a very bad precedent.
You know, the Supreme Court decided in the Brewster
case, Senator Brewster in 1972 that bribery was not a part of the legislative
process, and so I think these arguments are silly.
The final point I would make is Congress itself does a horrendously bad job
in watching the ethics of its own people. The ethics committees or committees
on standards, which have this responsibility, while they have some very good
staff people, their hands are tied. It’s a laughing stock. I find it
more of a political move than anything.
This was emailed to me yesterday, though I can't find the link. Rep. Barney
Frank gets it right and it took him about a minute.
Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Madam Speaker, I disagree with the bipartisan
House leadership criticism of the FBI's search of a Member's office. I know
nothing specifically about the case, except that the uncontroverted public
evidence did seem to justify the issuance of a warrant.
What we now have is a Congressional leadership, the Republican part of which
has said it is okay for law enforcement to engage in warrantless searches
of the average citizen, now objecting when a search, pursuant to a validly
issued warrant, is conducted of a Member of Congress.
I understand that the speech and debate clause is in the Constitution. It
is there because Queen Elizabeth I and King James I were disrespectful of
Parliament. It ought to be, in my judgment, construed narrowly. It should
not be in any way interpreted as meaning that we as Members of Congress have
legal protections superior to those of the average citizen.
So I think it was a grave error to have criticized the FBI. I think what
they did, they ought to be able to do in every case where they can get a warrant
from a judge. I think, in particular, for the leadership of this House, which
has stood idly by while this administration has ignored the rights of citizens,
to then say we have special rights as Members of Congress is wholly inappropriate.
We shouldn't have anything to do with Hastert on this one. Cut the crooks loose.