Weekend Watchdog:Democrats Slow To Charge

Bill Scher

None of the Sunday show hosts posed our Weekend Watchdog questions drilling down to the heart of the Prosecutor Purge matter—how names actually got on the purge list.

But guests Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., worked in answers that kept the focus where it belongs.

Asked on CBS’ Face The Nation (PDF file) if Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should remain in his post, Leahy noted that wouldn’t necessarily stop the White House from undermining our justice system:

I don’t think he can be effective. But who would he be replaced with?

If it’s going to be another person who is going to be really run by the White House, and if the White House is continued to be allowed to interfere with the criminal justice system throughout this country—some of the effects, everybody, right down to the officer on the beat—then it does no good.

…Never in the history of the Department of Justice has there been a case where there’s been so much interference from the White House in our criminal justice system. That is what’s wrong.

And on Fox News Sunday, Schumer said we need to hear White House officials testify so we can determine their involvement:

When Attorney General Gonzales says he doesn’t know what’s going on, and his chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, says he doesn’t know what’s going on, or at least he didn’t compile the list, the deputy attorney general the same, and so do all the lower-level people who we’ve interviewed in private, the arrow seems to point at the White House more and more.

Someone had to come up with this scheme. And getting Karl Rove, getting Harriet Miers and other White House officials to testify is really essential.

However, neither Leahy or Schumer indicated they are imminently issuing subpoenas to compel public testimony under oath.

Schumer continued to float a compromise for private testimony with a transcript:

…Senator [Arlen] Specter [R-Penn.] has put together a very good compromise that I’m supportive of.

You need a transcript. It doesn’t have to be in public. The only people standing in the way of this are the White House…

…I think there’s an imperative for the White House to help us interview people like Rove and Miers, because recent testimony, including Gonzales’, more and more indicates that they may be—may be—at the nexus of this.

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