Tuesday, March 27, 2007

It's about the cover up, stupid

Who is Monica Goodling? McClatchy News Service provides a good description.
Goodling, 33, is a 1995 graduate Messiah College in Grantham, Pa., an institution that describes itself as "committed to embracing an evangelical spirit."

She received her law degree at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va. Regent, founded by Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson, says its mission is "to produce Christian leaders who will make a difference, who will change the world."

E-mails show that Goodling was involved in planning the dismissals and in later efforts to limit the negative reaction. As the Justice Department's liaison to the White House, she could shed light on the extent of White House involvement in the dismissals.

She was involved? Apparently, she has a lot of the picture. In fact, she may have the big picture. Yesterday she announced that she would invoke her Fifth Amendment rights under the US Constitution and refuse to answer questions to a Senate hearing.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' liaison with the White House will refuse to answer questions at upcoming Senate hearings about the firings of eight U.S. attorneys, citing her Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination, her lawyer said Monday.

"I have decided to follow my lawyer's advice and respectfully invoke my constitutional right," Monica Goodling, Gonzales' counsel and White House liaison, said in a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

It's funny how that Constitution, which was so much in the way of the Bush administration program of protecting the American people against Terra™, suddenly appears with Republican operators clutching it to their bosoms. Mind you, they were so determined to tell everyone what isn't in the Constitution that they should be intimately familiar with what is in it.

Alberto Gonzales, on the other hand, is clinging to his chair, not because of the power or the perks or the fact that he's an insider. Nope. He has more holistic reasons.

In an interview with NBC News, Gonzales said Monday he was "really pained" by Republicans and Democrats alike who widely say the attorney general has lost his credibility.

Asked why he would want to remain as attorney general amid so many calls for his ouster, Gonzales said he's been asking himself lately whether it's appropriate for him to stay in his job.

But, he said, "at the end of the day, it's not about Alberto Gonzales. It's about this great Department of Justice that does so many wonderful things for the American people."


Anyway, back to Goodling.

John Dowd, Goodling's lawyer, suggested in a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., that the Democrat-led panel has laid what amounts to a perjury trap for his client.


"One need look no further than the recent circumstances and proceedings involving Lewis Libby," Dowd said, a reference to the recent conviction of Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff in the CIA leak case.
Ummm. That was because he lied. Is Dowd saying the only way Goodling can answer any questions is if she lies?

Leahy swiftly cast doubt about Goodling's motives.

"The American people are left to wonder what conduct is at the base of Ms. Goodling's concern that she may incriminate herself in connection with criminal charges if she appears before the committee under oath," said Leahy.

Uh huh. Although, she has the right, even if she herself becomes the subject of an investigation.

Dowd shot back in a second letter that Leahy's comments were a good illustration of why testifying was "perilous" for his client.

"It is the politically charged environment created by the members of the committee ... that has created the ambiguous and perilous environment in which even innocent witnesses would be well advised not to testify," Dowd wrote.

Right. Because the question, "What did Gonzales know and when did he know it?" could bring down a whole house of cards.

Update: From TPM
Monica Goodling does have a good faith basis for pleading the Fifth Amendment - just not the ones in her lawyer's letter that are getting all the attention.

Under the federal False Statements statute, 18 USC 1001, it is a felony to cause another person to make a false statement to Congress. Since McNulty has allegedly told Senator Schumer that he made a false statement to Congress based on information provided to him by Monica Goodling, Goodling could very well be prosecuted for a Section 1001 violation.

All the rest of the crap in her lawyer's letter is intended to sooth as much as possible WH anger at her for invoking the Fifth.

(Hat tip Echidne of the Snakes)

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