Leahy issues subpoena for Rove e-mails

Story here.

Will Rove comply, or are we going to start hearing about “executive privilege” again?

Well, for someone this close to the president, you’ll likely hear about executive privilege. And rightly so.

I don’t think there is any question that deliberations of the executive ought to be protected. The scope of such protection is often a matter of contention, but an adviser this close would likely fall within the umbrella.

What could possibly need to be protected by this umbrella, though, regarding the firing of the U.S. attorneys?

That’s a very dangerous and short-sighted path you want to travel. If you, by your quoting “executive privilege”, are trying to make the claim that it doesn’t or shouldn’t exist, I disagree vehemently. You may not, and quite clearly do not, agree with the policies of the current President, but trying to eliminate or even truncate executive privilege can and almost certainly will burn the President you do like in the future.

If the President cannot depend upon the protection of candid discussions with his advisers, how can he possibly get good advice? Keep in mind that this question is not just applicable to George W. Bush. The precedent you set today will affect the Democratic President in 2008. Is that what you want? For what purpose? To nail a President doing something he is entitled to do by law? Politics aside, what crime has been committed?

Destroying something as important as executive privilege over quite literally nothing is, at best, counterproductive.

A Deputy Chief of Staff? Like Harold Ickes?

There’ll be a fight over this.

:dubious: Yes.

Can you say “transparency”?

There is no “politics aside.” The crime is a conspiracy to draft the Justice Department into the administration’s service for partisan electoral purposes. Have you been following this story at all?!

Yes, I have.

Unless you wish to remove the power of the President to appoint and dismiss US Attorneys, then they are always at the whim of partisan politics. And unless you have something that says that it is illegal for the President to dismiss them, you have no crime, only a scandal driven by the Democrats’ ascension to power. And that’s OK. I think that they’re right to hammer him for it. But there was no crime, and your attempts to mischaracterize it as such is dishonest.

As with other scandals, there may have been ancillary crimes. Gonzales could be guilty of perjury, for instance. But the dismissal of the US Attorneys is not a crime.

I can say anything you want me to say. That doesn’t mean that it’s appropriate. A government must have secrets in order for it to function. Advisers must have the ability to speak candidly to properly advise.

Like I said, don’t be short-sighted.

That’s not the accusation. One of the accusations is that attorney’s were fired for failing to pursue frivolous investigations against Democrats and/or fired for pursuing real investigations against Republicans. Apparently, you would like the Justice Department to pursue frivolous charges against the opposition while ignoring corruption in their own party?

How do you know there was no crime? Are you psychic? Did you read all the emails?

At least one of the attorneys here has claimed that he was contacted by a Congresscritter about an ongoing investigation. If so, that’s against the law. There are also potential charges of perjury to Congress, obstruction of Congressional investigations. And if there was pressure to pursue friviolous cases, there are potential ethical and criminal charges there as well.

Gee, are you a legal scholar? How is it that you are able to lecture us on what is and isn’t a crime?

Oh, there’s also a prohibition on DOJ giving hiring preferences to attorneys based on political affiliation–which is also one of the accusations here.

They can be fired for having offensive nose hair. And since they are appointed and serve at the pleasure of the President, they are never separated from politics. This may be corrupt, but unless you can demonstrate otherwise (with a statute) I maintain that it’s not illegal.

I’d thank you to keep your incorrect assumptions to yourself. Corruption does not necessarily rise to the level of a crime, and we’re talking about a potential crime. I hate corruption, but it really doesn’t matter.

I have yet to find out what crime may have been committed by the exercise of a right that always existed. As I said elsewhere, there may have been ancillary crimes, but I fail to see how the President exercising one of his powers is a crime.

I already acknowledged the possibilities of ancillary crimes.

Do I have to be? The burden is on you to tell me what the crime is. Again, I have yet to see how the firing of US Attorneys rises to the level of a crime. Scummy? Sure. Criminal? Please enlighten me.

Anyhow, the real topic of this thread is executive privilege, and I maintain that the abrogation of that right over this has ramifications for the future, and (in my opinion) few of them are good.

I am not American, nor a legal or constitutional scholar, so these comments are phrased in what I would term “natural justice”

I don’t believe anyone wants to see “frank discussion” between advisor and president be truncated - in fact I think most people would encourage more of it. But having followed the scandal (becuase I think GW is a jerk of the highest order that is damaging America’s reputation), what people are looking for is evidence of motivation for the firings. Whether the President (legally) has the right to fire or not is, to me, irrelevant to the discussion. If he decided one day to change for the sake of change, nobody would have any right to complain (question the sanity maybe, but not complain), if however he fires for “impure” motives as has been suggested then it should absolutely be up for investigation, and it seems that more than enough evidence does exist that the motives were impure enough to justify further investigation.

The upshot is, given the current situation the e-mails should be revealed and made public, nothing about “executive privilige” should guard immoral discussions. This would be displaying the sort of integrity and fairplay on which American greatness is (was?) based - the more this is weaseled on, the worse the reputation of America becomes, which will in turn trickle down to the "general population and cause the demise of the American ideal

(melodramatic huh?)

Here’s one potential violation, if the accusations of pressuring attorneys to drop corruption investigations against Republicans is true:

From 18 USC 1512

© Whoever corruptly–
(1) alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document, or other object, or attempts to do so, with the intent to impair the object’s integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding; or
(2) otherwise obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so,

shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

Not at all. It is in fact a perfectly rational point.

However, it has ramifications well beyond nailing one guy for scummy behavior. Imagine yourself in the position of advisor. If someone had the right to record and demand an accounting of everything you say or do, would you give your candid opinion, or would you do whatever you could to cover your own butt? That’s the problem. If I’m in a position of authority and I ask you a question, I want to know what you really think, not what will keep you out of trouble. Once that wall is torn down, it is difficult to build back up, and it has profound implications for the future.

It’s perfectly OK for you to disagree. That’s why it’s a matter of debate.

If you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about.

Sorry. That was a kneejerk sarcastic GOP talking point. It felt good, though.

I may be really naive and/or uninformed on this issue but why does it always seem like it’s to protect what later turns out to be either criminal or highly unethical behavior? It seems to me the strategy would be to stop advocating illegal or unethical things.

See my previous post. I’ll find other laws if you’d like.

The point of an investigation is to determine whether or not a crime has been committed.

I’ve already listed several potential crimes in this thread. An investigation may reveal that’s the end of it, or it may reveal that several other crimes were comitted.

A Congresscritter potentially interfering with an investigation is ancillary?

A congressional investigation isn’t a trial. It’s analogous to a grand jury investigation. The purpose is to determine whether a crime has been comitted or whether further investigation is warranted.

Well, AFAIC, any emails that were routed or CC’d to RNC email addresses don’t have executive privilege. As for the others, I’d prefer to reserve privilege to matters of national security and perhaps a few other select areas. But let me ask you this: normatively (that is, what it should be rather than what it is), what purpose do you think privilege is supposed to serve?

Funny. :slight_smile:

Selection bias. It’s assumed to be legitimate until there is the perception of a coverup, and then it becomes an issue.

This came in while I was composing my last post.

2 points:

  1. In private industry, pretty much everything you say is available for subpoena. There’s a few exceptions for things like communications with lawyers or trade secrets or personal info. Yet even with all this lack of privacy, private industry is able to function. Why shouldn’t government be able to function just as well?

  2. What exactly about the hiring/firing process of DOJ officials necessitates this sort of privacy? We’re not talking about nuclear secrets.

Look, Congress settled this point back in 1978 when it passed the Presidential Records Act – which the current Admin’s officials have been trying to circumvent.

Congress passed a law, yes. However, I dare say that the issue is not “settled”. If it were, we wouldn’t have anything to talk about.