Is Mukasey Worse Than Gonzales?
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This post, written by GottaLaff, originally appeared on Cliff Schecter's Brave New Films Blog
For instance, he has defended the administration's attempts to dramatically expand the definition of executive privilege, telling the Judiciary Committee that it would be inappropriate for a U.S. attorney to press for contempt charges against a White House official who claimed to be protected by a grant of executive privilege. Under this reading of the law, U.S. attorneys would cease to be independent defenders of the rule of law and become mere extensions of the White House.
Guess he's not as "independent" as he says he is. I'm getting angrier by the second with Dianne Lieberman.
As such, Mukasey accepts a politicization of U.S. Attorneys far more extreme than that attempted by Gonzales and former White House political czar Karl Rove when they sought to remove U.S. Attorneys who failed to fully embrace the administration's electoral and ideological goals.
On to unwarranted wiretaps:
But Mukasey does not stop there.
Under questioning from Feingold, Mukasey endorsed the administration's argument that congressional attempts to define appropriate surveillance strategies and techniques could infringe inappropriately on presidential authority.
When pressed by Feingold, Mukasey refused to say whether he thought the president could order a violation of federal wiretapping rules. Feingold's response was measured. "I find your equivocation here somewhat troubling," said the senator.
And because he's smarter, more articulate, and more adept at answering, he's that much more dangerous:
In fact, everything about Mukasey's testimony suggested that he would as Attorney General be more of a threat to Constitutional governance than the inept and frequently inarticulate Gonzales. Mukasey gives every indication that he is as enthusiastic as was Gonzales about helping the president to bend and break they law. The scary thing is that Mukasey appears to be a good deal abler when it comes to cloaking lawlessness in a veneer of legal uncertainty.
Read: Better at legal doubletalk, better at fooling a willingly-fooled Congress, better at getting what Bush wants.
Consider the nominee's suggestion that the president can ignore any law, including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, if he and his lawyers determine that the law impinges on his authority as commander in chief during wartime.
"The president is not putting somebody above the law; the president is putting somebody within the law," Mukasey explained, with a response that employed legalese at levels not heard in Washington since Richard Nixon boarded that last plane for San Clemente. "The president doesn't stand above the law. But the law emphatically includes the Constitution."