Froomkin cranks knobs up to 11, brings the shrill
Bush to American people: "Whatsa matter? Don't you trust me?" Froomkin today:
The most telling restriction built into the White House offer to make senior aides available for private interviews about the firings of eight U.S. attorneys is that no record of those aides' words would be allowed. ...
[The offer] would deny the public any reliable record of what was said.
It would remove the pressure from senior aides, most notably White House political guru Karl Rove, to come clean on their involvement in the firings -- while denying the public an opportunity to assess their veracity.
(As Kos said, they want to reserve the right to lie.)
It never does hurt to say the obvious, although, for some reason, the obvious somehow evaded the NPR analcyst's this morning.
But that was just a stretching exercise. Now Froomkin starts the warm up:
Especially when under fire, Bush and his aides use language with great cunning. Some observers of Bush's comments on Tuesday, for instance, could have walked away thinking he had definitively denied that partisan politics played a role in the firings. But in fact, as I wrote in yesterday's column, all Bush really said was that "there is no indication that anybody did anything improper." The existence of a transcript creates the possibility that reporters will follow up and ask him what that really means.
"Great cunning," eh? It's amazing what the lizard backbrain can do, when it occupies a Reptilican body.
After the stretching, and the warmup, a little chin music for the White House. Let's go to the transcript:
CNN's Ed Henry stumped Snow but good:
"Q Just to follow up on one point earlier, yesterday the President said, and you've repeated, that the principle at stake here with executive privilege is that the President needs to get candid advice from his advisors, right?
"MR. SNOW: What the President has talked about is privileged communications with close staff members, that is correct.
"Q But earlier you were saying that, when I asked about, well, was the President informed of this decision, did the President sign off on U.S. attorneys being fired, you said the President has no recollection of being informed of all this.
"MR. SNOW: Correct.
"Q So were his advisors really advising him on this? Is this really privileged communication involving the President and his advisors, if the President wasn't looped in, you're saying, on this decision? So it was other people --
"MR. SNOW: Well, that also falls into the intriguing question category."
1. If Bush wasn't involved, no advice, no privilege, and Bush gets to heave Karl over the side.
2. If Bush was involved, privilege--except for that pesky lawbreaking, of course--can be claimed, but impeachment for obstruction of justice should follow.
3. But wait. If Bush wasn't involved, then he delegated his power to hire and fire to some underling. So much for "the pleasure of the President." Because the statute says the President "shall" determine if attorneys server. So, if Bush wasn't involved, he gets to fire Karl, and then be impeached.
It's all good!