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Friday, December 14, 2007

Mukasey Refuses to Play Political Games

The one thought running through my head here is : Hoisted by your own petard.

I am sure everyone remembers what a political spectacle the politicians made of the Michael B. Mukasey's confirmation hearings before voting him in to be the Attorney General.

He assured them, at those hearings, he would not allowed himself to be pressured politically, he would act independently and that politics would play no part in cases investigated by the Department of Justice.

These are the assurances our politicians insisted on because they wanted assurances that the Mukasey would not allow the politics of the White House to play a role in his decisions about investigations.

What those same politicians didn't count on, is he would also not allow their political game playing to pressure him either.

Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey today sharply rebuffed congressional demands for details about the Justice Department's inquiry into the destruction of CIA interrogation tapes, saying that providing such information would make it appear that the department was "subject to political influence."

In letters to the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee and others, Mukasey also reiterated his opposition to appointing a special prosecutor to the tapes investigation, saying he was "aware of no facts at present" that would require such a step.

"At my confirmation hearing, I testified that I would act independently, resist political pressure and ensure that politics plays no role in cases brought by the Department of Justice," Mukasey wrote. "Consistent with that testimony, the facts will be followed wherever they lead in this inquiry, and the relevant law applied."

Mukasey is, indeed, resisting political pressure as promised.

Hoisted by their own petards.

Leahy and Specter asked Mukasey on Dec. 10 for "a complete account of the Justice Department's own knowledge of and involvement with" the tape destruction. The two senators included a list of 16 separate questions, including whether the Justice Department had offered legal advice to the CIA about the tapes or had communicated with the White House about the issue.

Muksey's response was to inform them, in writing that the Justice Department "has a long-standing policy of declining to provide non-public information about pending matters."

"This policy is based in part on our interest in avoiding any perception that our law enforcement decisions are subject to political influence," Mukasey wrote to Conyers and the others. "Accordingly, I will not at this time provide further information in response to your letter, but appreciate the Committee's interests in this matter."

According to the New York Times, Mukasey also wrote “This policy is based in part on our interest in avoiding any perception that our law enforcement decisions are subject to political influence.

Exactly what they insisted on before confirming him.

According to The Crypt, Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt., states:

“I will ask Attorney General Mukasey -- in public and on the record -- more about the Department’s knowledge of and role in the existence and destruction of these videotapes at the Committee’s next oversight hearing, which I intend to call early next year," said Leahy in a statement released by his office. "The Committee will also look forward to hearing from Deputy Attorney General nominee Mark Filip about this matter at his confirmation hearing on December 19.”

Anyone wish to take odds on Mukasey telling them the same thing and refusing to discuss the matter so that he will not be accused of allowing his office to be "politically pressured"?