in the to-and-fro’ kabuki theatre
now unfolding between the houses of
congress and the vice president, the
above letter’s final paragraph means
that there is no longer any reason,
at law, or in comity, from at least
the perspective of patrick fitzgerald,
the plame CIA leak special prosecutor, to
withhold the FBI interview transcripts in
that matter related to richard b. “dick”
cheney [if not as to george w. bush].
normally, that would be excellent news — but
micheal mukasey is now attorney general — and as
a consummate politician (instead of law en-
forcement officer), he has told u.s. attorney
fitzgerald that only he — the attorney gen-
eral — will be authorized to release subpoenaed
items to congress. and. he. just. won’t.
won’t comply with the subpoena.
this development has prompted chairman waxman
to renew his promise to hold mukasey in contempt
of congress, should he persist in his non-
compliance with a facially-authentic, duly-
authorized, and entirely lawfully-issued
subpoena, from congress.
where i come from, law enforcement officers
honor subpoenas issued to their offices. not
so, apparently, for this former federal judge,
michael mukasey. that is simply a tragic statement
about the level to which partisan politics have
infected every high-level of the federal govern-
ment under the bush-cheney regimes.
mr. mukasey — history will judge you no more kindly
than the now-notoriously incompetent alberto gonzales,
your soon-to-be disbarred predecessor — if you
stay on this ill-starred course.
in any event, here are house oversight committee chairman
henry waxman’s money quotes, from his letter dated today,
and hand-delivered to u.s. attorney general michael mukasey:
. . .For more than one year, the Oversight Committee has been seeking documents from the Department of Justice relevant to our investigation into the leak of Ms. Wilson’s identity.
Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald has cooperated with the Committee’s investigation, providing documents directly to the Committee and releasing others to you for production to the Committee. Two of the documents that Mr. Fitzgerald has provided to you for production to the Committee are the reports of the FBI interviews of President Bush and Vice President Cheney.
Despite the Committee’s repeated requests, you have consistently refused to provide these reports to the Committee or unredacted versions of the reports of FBI interviews with White House staff. In response to the Committee’s June 16 subpoena, you wrote: “we are not prepared to provide or make available any reports of interviews with the President or Vice President from the leak investigation” because of “core Executive Branch confidentiality interests and fundamental separation of powers principles.”
In deference to your concerns and in a further attempt at accommodation, the Committee will not seek access to the report of the FBI interview of President Bush at this time. The report of the FBI interview with Vice President Cheney needs to be produced, however. The Vice President’s former chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, told the FBI that it is “possible” that the Vice President instructed him to disseminate to the press information about the identity of Ms. Wilson. The Committee cannot complete its inquiry into this serious matter without the report of the Vice President’s FBI interview.
The arguments you have raised for withholding the interview report are not tenable. When the FBI interview with the Vice President was conducted, the Vice President knew that the information in the interview could be made public in a criminal trial and that there were no restrictions on Special Counsel Fitzgerald’s use of the interview. Mr. Fitzgerald clarified this key point last week, writing to the Committee that “there were no agreements, conditions, and understandings between the Office of Special Counsel or the Federal Bureau of Investigation and either the President or Vice President regarding the conduct and use of the interview or interviews”. . .
Vice President Cheney’s attorneys have consistently maintained that he is not an “entity within the executive branch.” Whether this unusual claim is accurate or not, I am aware of no freestanding vice presidential communications privilege, let alone one that covers voluntary and unrestricted conversations with a special counsel investigating wrongdoing. There certainly was no such understanding when our Committee sought the FBI interview report of an interview with Vice President Gore. The Justice Department produced the interview to the Committee despite the fact that it contained discussion of official White House business.
In his closing remarks in the criminal trial of Mr. Libby, Special Counsel Fitzgerald stated: “There is a cloud over what the Vice President did that week.” Your cooperation in this matter could go a long way to dispelling this notion or perhaps confirming Mr. Fitzgerald’s fears. Either way, this Committee and the American people are entitled to know what happened. . .