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Robert Wexler On McClullen, Rove, Subpoenas, Conyers, & A Mention of Siegelman [View All]

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orleans Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-30-08 03:35 AM
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Robert Wexler On McClullen, Rove, Subpoenas, Conyers, & A Mention of Siegelman
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Edited on Fri May-30-08 03:40 AM by orleans
Congressman Robert Wexler on Randis show Thursday 5/29/08

Randi: I was reading what you wrote yesterday, immediately upon scanning McClellans book, that you want to compel him to come and testify in front of the judiciary committee. And we know that you subpoenaed Karl Rove to come. When is Karl Rove due to appear?

Wexler: We dont have a date yet. We did, in fact, John Conyers--the chairman of the committee, and the committee subpoenaed Karl Rove. There are discussions, as I understand it, but--to date--we have no commitment from Karl Rove which is consistent with the kind of stonewalling that the Bush administration has done with so many other witnesses. And from my perspective we should find these people in contempt and then negotiate again if necessary. But the house of representatives should be prepared to use our inherent contempt power which would allow the house of representatives to send out the sergeant of arms to physically make certain that people appear before the house judiciary committee to testify.

This is the first administration in the history of the United States of America that has refused to appear to testify before congress on not one, but now several occasions. And to compound that problem, the new attorney general, Mr. Mukasey has said he will order the district attorneys--in the various districts--NOT to enforce a congressional contempt citation. So, effectively, the administration has tied congresses hands. Thats why I think we should be prepared to use our inherent power of contempt.

Randi: the way that I understand it is that in 1934 you kinda made a deal with the justice department where you held somebody in inherent contempt, and after that whole trial they said it was so long and congress was all tied up with this so well let the justice department enforce our subpoenas from now on and gave that inherent contempt power to the justice department. Of course, now, youve got an attorney general Mukasey (way to go Chuck Schumer and Diane Feinstein--help him out of the torture problem he had) youve got Mukasey saying he will NOT enforce congressional subpoenas to appear. So now dont you have to take a vote in the house to get the power of inherent contempt back into the house?

Wexler: thats not my understanding. The inherent power of contempt is a power that congress has and everyone involved, including myself, would much prefer to engage in discussion and negotiation with the administration to compel peoples testimony. But that assumes that the administration would be acting in good faith towards the goal of providing testimony. That hasnt been the case. We have no choice.

Randi: if the legislative branch is going to be a co-equal branch of government it is now time for it to claim its equal partnership in the governance of this country.

Weve heard all about Bush and his unitary executive theories, weve lived through it, weve watched it. Harriet Miers thumbed her nose at the judiciary committee, Josh Bolten same story: wont come. Karl Rove has just been subpoenaed by the house. I dont know what youre going to do to compel McClellan to come and I dont know which McClellan will show up because the one thats talking now is not known to the white house, so Im guessing hes a zombiehes been pod-snatched, hes a Scott/bot apparently. Its not the real guy. (haha)

Wexler: well, the interesting thing about Scott McClellan--I dont want to presuppose anything (he may voluntarily come if we subpoenaed him--he may come without issue) but the one thing I think would be fairly certain is there would be no legitimate claim of executive privilege as to these matters because hes put it all in a book!

Randi: exactly. Im thinking the same thing, Im reading the excerpts. I ordered it but I dont have it yet because Im not on the preferred listbut from the pieces that have been read out loud that I could read or hear, it is stunning what this man has to say.

However, Im very concerned with the inherent contempt powers. I want you to be real sure that you have those powers and that you dont need to go through some process like a vote--youve got the votes to get it.

Wexler: yeah, we would have to vote to use our power but I thought you meant that we would somehow have to take back our power.

Randi: you know, I think so. Im not really sure but a good call I made yesterday and spoke to Jonathan Turley--and I may not be clear and I may not have heard him correctly, twice, say this, but he does indicate that you have to go through a vote to even get inherent contempt back because theres been a transfer of that power to the justice department. But the bets are off now because Mukasey has said that he will not enforce congressional subpoenas so that arrangement that you guys had--going back to 34--has to be undone. And youve got to claim back the power.

I dont want to talk process, but what is it that youre interesting in hearing from Scott McClellan.

Wexler: well, some of the issues that were presented by Scott McClellan himself were whether or not Karl Rove and Scooter Libby conspired together to obstruct justice by not telling the truth regarding their role in the Valerie Plame Wilson matter. People may remember there were investigations as to who outed the covert CIA. agent, Ms. Plame

Randi: (sarcastic) oh, you mean that glorified secretary?

Wexler: Um, no.

Randi: the nerve of people in the media was endless on this.

Wexler: yes. This is a serious issue, and Scott McClellan seemed to suggest that there may have been some conspiracy between Karl Rove and Scooter Libby on this issue. And this is a felony beyond a lying issue. This is about exposing a covert CIA agent. If this, in fact, was happening in the white house--if two people were conspiring in this regard (and I dont want to prejudge the facts--thats why Scott McMullen needs to come and tell the truth; I dont have independent information in that regard).

Also, in respect to in what manner intelligence was purposefully provided in a misleading way regarding the Iraq war. These are issues that need to be put on the record and apparently Scott McMullen has information that is quite relevant. All of these things the American people deserve to hear.

Ive heard some people say today this will be the job for historians. NO! This is the job for the house of representatives. We are empowered by the American constitution to do it.

Randi: what is your leadership saying? Is she saying anything?

Wexler: I think chairman Conyers believes that this is a very important and appropriate role that the house judiciary committee can play. And when congress comes back in session next week I think he is going to lead an aggressive effort in this regard.

Randi: well, Turley said (and I found this interesting because Jonathan Turley is a constitutional law professor, ) John Conyers is not the guy you want to mess with. He thinks that this has reached critical mass and everybody is done with it, that the patriotic fever has subsided now and were ready to hear the truth as a country. And not only are ready, but demanding it and it falls upon you.

Last night I heard Debbie Wassermann-Schultz on Dan Abrams and Dan Abrams asked her the question because shes a judiciary member too. And he asked her what are you prepared to do and she said that she was prepared to have Karl Rove arrested if necessary. And that shocked me because shes been on the other side of things from where I am lately. But I was kind of encouraged by that.

Wexler: I think congresswoman Wassermann-Schultz is dead on correct in this regard. I think her sentiment, which I agree with and I have talked to chairman Conyers about it, is a sentiment that is growing in terms of people not being patient any longer with the stonewalling that the Bush administration has continually provided to the house judiciary committee. And people are saying you know what? We have negotiated, we on the house side have acted in good faith, were asking for legitimate information that the American people deserve to know and were not going to wait until after you leave office, Mr. President, to do the investigation. The time is now. and this is being done all pursuant to the appropriate role of congress.

Randi: I heard Scott McClellan say something so shocking on the today show--its hard for me to even breathe anymore. Because for awhile youre thinking: maybe Im getting it wrong, maybe I am wrong, maybe there was a reason, (riffing) etc. but McMullen said that the intelligence that ran counter to the selling of this war was ignored and the threat was hyped and that Andrew Card was telling the truth when he said you dont bring out new products in august and it was a product to be sold. And the thing that kills me is that Colin Powell has never been talked to. Hes never gonna write a book.

Im not saying McMullen is a hero--believe me, hes not. If he were he would have been saying things while he was in a position to influence events, not after the fact. And he says the reason he wrote this book is exactly the Plame matter. Because he went and asked the people he was loyal to, the people who were telling him to lie--it was fine for him to lie about Katrina and it was fine for him to lie about the Iraq war, it was fine for him to lie about Valerie Plame. But when he went to Rove and Scooter and Cheney, Elliot Abrams--he said he asked these men personally: did you do this? And they said no. thats when he got upset. cause they lied to him. It was okay for him to lie to us but it wasnt okay for them to lie to him.

Now this is what hes saying: hes saying the intelligence was cherry picked. Whats amazing to me was 23 senators and 133 house members and me -- all knew. We knew.

Wexler: yes.

Randi: Whats also fascinating is that Brian Williams, this morning, said he was in Kuwait in the build up to war and he was getting personal phone calls on his cell phone from the pentagon every time he would report something they didnt like.

Katie Couric is now alleging there was corporate pressure, Jessica Yellin was fired from ABC because they were pressuring her to report stories that would play into the patriotic fever and the presidents high approval ratings.

The whole country has been absolutely propagandized. Is that a crime? Is that a crime?

Wexler: I know that congress bears a great deal of the responsibility in terms of failing to provide the oversight we should have provided. And Im a part of that failure and its something that I regret deeply. But I also believe that maybe the most important thing Scott McClellan has presented is the very notion that youre talking about--that the media and its proper role also failed the American people.

And I hope its a wake-up call for members of the media who, according to Scott McClellan, didnt ask the right questions. You, of course, Randi, are the exception. But the media in Washington who didnt ask the tough questions, did, in fact just buy all the propaganda that the Bush administration put forth.

And again, Im not saying this to minimize congresses responsibility because ours is separate and apart from that of the media. And we failed. But the media also failed.

Randi: the media failed miserably. And they fired people. They fired Phil Donohue. They fired Jessica Yellin, they fired Ashley Banfield. They fired Dan Rather. These people lost their jobs.

I dont understand how congress sits by and allows corporations to own more and more of the media and expect a different result. (riffing)

..McClellanhave you reached out to him yet?

Wexler: I have not, because I think we need to do this through the judiciary committee. I also think we need to talk to Karl Rove, not only about these matters but also about what happened to governor Don Siegelman in Alabama. Theres a whole host of allegations in that regard that are quite troubling.
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