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Monday, March 26, 2007

Is the Bush Administration Coming Unglued?

From the Associated Press

Gonzales Aide to Invoke Fifth Amendment

Mar 26, 4:50 PM (ET)


(WASHINGTON (AP) - Monica Goodling, a senior Justice Department official involved in the firings of federal prosecutors, will refuse to answer questions at upcoming Senate hearings, citing Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination, her lawyer said Monday.

"The potential for legal jeopardy for Ms. Goodling from even her most truthful and accurate testimony under these circumstances is very real," said the lawyer, John Dowd.

"One need look no further than the recent circumstances and proceedings involving Lewis Libby," he said, a reference to the recent conviction of Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff in the CIA leak case.

The White House, meanwhile, continued to stand by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales despite new calls over the weekend for his resignation and documents that indicate he may have been more involved in the dismissals than he has previously acknowledged.

Meanwhile, Sen. Chuck Hagel appeared on ABC's Sunday morning gab-fest with George Stephanapolous. His recent quotes in Esquire magazine were cited:

"The president says, 'I don't care.' He's not accountable anymore," Hagel says, measuring his words by the syllable and his syllables almost by the letter. "He's not accountable anymore, which isn't totally true. You can impeach him, and before this is over, you might see calls for his impeachment. I don't know. It depends how this goes."

The conversation beaches itself for a moment on that word -- impeachment -- spoken by a conservative Republican from a safe Senate seat in a reddish state. It's barely even whispered among the serious set in Washington, and it rings like a gong in the middle of the sentence, even though it flowed quite naturally out of the conversation he was having about how everybody had abandoned their responsibility to the country, and now there was a war going bad because of it.

"Congress abdicated its oversight responsibility," he says. "The press abdicated its responsibility, and the American people abdicated their responsibilities. Terror was on the minds of everyone, and nobody questioned anything, quite frankly."

What I find personally.... startling about the President's reaction to last week's Iraq vote in the US House is the fact that like it or not, in many cases the current majority won their seats based on the voters' reaction to the Iraq fracas. And yet Dubya stands in direct defiance of the very people he is sworn to lead.

Senator Hagel has it exactly right - it doesn't appear that the President is interested in facts and the political will of the majority of Americans.