The Senate Judiciary Committee has postponed the Alberto Gonzales hearing due to the tragic events at Virginia Tech. The hearing will take place on Thursday instead of tomorrow. This means I probably won’t be able to cover the proceedings, as I’ll be traveling for much of that day.
Meanwhile, Senate Dems and the Washington Post continue to obfuscate on this matter. Chuck Schumer has “relayed to reporters” that new statements by the former Justice Department official who carried out the firing of the eight U.S. attorneys contradict statements by Attorney General Gonzales. And the Washington Post duly obliges Schumer with a headline repeating the claim.
But the main alleged contradiction, one that’s been tossed around for some time, is more apparent than real. Michael Battle, former director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, reportedly told House and Senate investigators that he was not aware of performance problems with respect to most of the fired U.S. attorneys until just before they were fired. Moreover, most had “positive” job reviews. Yet, says the Post, “Gonzales and his deputy, Paul J. McNulty, initially told Congress that the firings were due to ‘performance-related’ problems.”
The claim that this constitutes a contradiction appears to be based on the willful refusal of Senate Democrats and their MSM boosters to distinguish between two kinds of performance problems a U.S. attorney might have. A U.S. attorney might be a poor performer because he or she is inept in terms of legal judgment or managerial ability. Few of the fired eight appear to fall in this category. But a competent or even strong U.S. attorney might have performance-related problems because he or she refuses to prosecute or vigorously pursue certain types of cases that the Justice Department wants vigorously to prosecute — e.g., pornography cases, illegal immigration cases, or voting fraud cases. That appears to be situation with several of the eight. It’s not wrong to say that such prosecutors were fired for performance-related reasons even though they might have been quite capable when it came to managing the office and prosecuting those cases they were interested in bringing.
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