Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Alberto Gonzales browbeats the critically ill.
Courtesy of Teak
Ashcroft went into the ICU at George Washington Hospital with acute pancreatitis, and Comey became acting attorney general. We knew the bare outlines of this story already. But oh my goodness, it's a whomping good yarn when it comes from the guy in the armchair next to the hospital bed.
Says Comey today: "Over that week I communicated that as acting attorney general that I would not certify [the program's] legality. The next day, on Wednesday, March 10, 2004, I was headed home. My security detail was driving me." Comey got a call from Ashcroft's chief of staff, who said that although Mrs. Ashcroft had "banned all visitors" from her husband's room in the ICU, where he was in his sixth day, a call had just come to his hospital room indicating that Gonzales, then White House counsel, and Andy Card, then Bush's chief of staff, were on their way. (Comey seemed to recall that the call to Ashcroft came from the president; he says it certainly came from the White House.)
Pulling the Plug
By Dahlia Lithwick
Posted Tuesday, May 15, 2007, at 6:28 PM ET
It's hard to take any pleasure from the depiction of government officials in critical condition being manipulated in their hospital beds by soulless White House flunkies. But Senate Democrats are all smiles as former Deputy Attorney General James Comey goes before the Senate judiciary committee this morning. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., can barely stop grinning long enough to ask his next question. Because Alberto Gonzales truly is the gift that keeps on giving. Only a handful of reporters are on hand, at what should have been a rerun of Comey's devastating House testimony two weeks ago. But we are treated to Grey's Anatomy meets The West Wing.
And maybe that's why the Democrats finally have reason to grin. They have failed so far to take down Attorney General Alberto Gonzales with tales of the man's hackery, sycophancy, and boundless apathy. But now we're being treated to a graphic retelling of the AG's efforts to browbeat a critically ill man into signing off on the National Security Agency's illegal surveillance program.