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On May 18th, “Scoop” reported that the testimony of James Comey, former Deputy Attorney General under John Ashcroft, provided evidence of a crime in which Bush, Gonzales, and Card” were clearly implicated. It was apparent that Bush had ordered his then counsel Alberto Gonzales and adviser, Andrew Card, to the sick bed of an ailing and sedated John Ashcroft. Their mission was to obtain Ashcroft’s signature authorizing warrantless surveillance of Americans.
Ashcroft had stepped down temporarily due to his pending hospital stay. His deputy, James Comey, became acting Attorney General. Comey had refused to sign the authorization since he, Ashcroft and senior Justice Department lawyers found it highly objectionable. Over the objection of Ashcroft’s wife, the two entered the hospital room and made their case. Ashcroft rose from his sick bed to refuse. Gonzales and card failed in their mission.
Today’s testimony by still U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary provides a major clue as to the direction future impeachment charges might take, should they be brought.
First a brief recap of the May 18th article.
Tuesday was a remarkable day at the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. The exchange between Sen. Charles Schumer, R, NY and former Deputy Attorney General James Comey provides clear evidence pointing to criminal activity by the president, U.S Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and former presidential advisor, Andrew Card. If Comey’s testimony is supported by other reliable witnesses, the Bush, Gonzales, and Card crew have some serious questions to answer.
The article went on to describe questions that might be very troubling.
There are at least two major problems facing the participants in this affair.
First, the White House attempted to obtain approval for a program that they knew the acting Attorney General would not approve. Second, they sought this approval from someone without authority, Ashcroft. He stepped down due to his illness and passed authority to Comey.
Of great significance, however, is the fact that the program was implemented. It doesn’t matter if it was for an hour, a day or a week. Comey tells us warrantless surveillance on U.S. citizens was implemented without the required DOJ approval due to Comey’s unwillingness to attest “as to its legality.”
Seeking approval from someone without authority while that someone, John Ashcroft, was heavily sedated is certainly a crime. Having that enterprise end in failure and then implementing the program anyway is further evidence of a crime.
The program was implemented without authorization as indicated by this exchange between Comey and Schumer:
Schumer: Right. And you stated that the next day, Thursday, was the deadline for reauthorization of the program, is that right?
Comey: Yes, sir.
Schumer: OK. Can you tell us what happened the next day?
Comey: The program was reauthorized without us and without a signature from the Department of Justice attesting as to its legality. And I prepared a letter of resignation, intending to resign the next day, Friday, March the 12th