Can Justice Be Trusted? By Ari Berman

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More broadly, how can Justice be trusted to investigate a matter in which it is so deeply implicated? Despite the Public Integrity Section's reputation for impartiality, there are few institutional checks to prevent further political meddling into its current investigation of Abramoff. On January 25 Bush nominated the current Public Integrity Section head, Noel Hillman, to a federal judgeship in New Jersey and named a temporary replacement mid-investigation. Justice can prosecute the case without any political pressure 'as long as the targets are members of Congress,' says former Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder. 'If, however, you start to develop ties between Congress, Abramoff and people in the White House, it becomes problematic, especially from an appearance perspective. Because of the Deputy Attorney Gen eral's and the Attorney General's ties to the President, the need for an outside counsel becomes greater.' Otherwise, how can the public be sure that the President's man, Alberto Gonzales, will conduct an honest, thorough investigation of Abramoff when the targets might include his top deputies, his former White House colleagues, his predecessor, his boss - indeed, himself?

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