This post at Daily Kos puts it all together in a very terrifying way. I have been following this story for the last couple of days, but since my posting is rather irregular, I don’t usually post on current events. By the time I actually post something, that “current event” is no longer current.
However, this is just so incredible, I had to say something. This is from Kargo X at Daily Kos.
While John Ashcroft lay sedated in the hospital, having handed the reins of the Department over to Comey as Acting Attorney General, Comey got word that then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and then-White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card were on their way to try and pry out of Ashcroft the approval for their surveillance programs that Comey had refused them.
Comey: So I hung up the phone, immediately called my chief of staff, told him to get as many of my people as possible to the hospital immediately. I hung up, called [FBI] Director Mueller, with whom I'd been discussing this particular matter and who'd been a great help to me over that week, and told him what was happening. He said, "I'll meet you at the hospital right now."
I told my security detail that I needed to get to George Washington Hospital immediately. They turned on the emergency equipment and drove very quickly to the hospital. I got out of the car and ran up -- literally ran up the stairs with my security detail...
Sen. Schumer: What was your concern? You were in, obviously, a huge hurry.
Comey: I was concerned that given how ill I knew the Attorney General was, that there might be an effort to ask him to overrule me, when he was in no condition to do that.
Comey: I was worried about him, frankly. So I raced to the hospital room, entered, and Mrs. Ashcroft was standing by the hospital bed. Mr. Ashcroft was lying down in the bed, the room was darkened. And I immediately began speaking to him, trying to orient him as to time and place, and try to see if he could focus on what was happening. And it wasn't clear to me that he could. He seemed pretty bad off.
Schumer: And at that point it was you, Mrs. Aschroft and the Attorney General, and maybe medical personnel in the room. No other Justice Department or government officials.
Comey: It was just the three of us at that point. I tried to see if I could help him get oriented. As I said, it wasn't clear that I had succeeded. I went out in the hallway, spoke to Director Mueller by phone. He was on his way. He handed the phone to the director of the security detail, and Director Mueller instructed the FBI agents present not to allow me to be removed from the room under any circumstances. And I went back in the room.
Card and Gonzales arrived shortly thereafter, tried to persuade Ashcroft to authorize their activities, but failed and ultimately left the room. Within minutes after that, Card called Comey and demanded an immediate meeting on his turf, in the White House. Comey told Card that:
After the conduct I had just witnessed, that I would not meet with him without a witness present. He said, "What conduct? We were just there to wish him well."
I said again, after what I just witnessed, I will not meet with you without a witness, and I intend that witness to be the Solicitor General of the United States.
Does everyone fully appreciate that? On Wednesday, March 10, 2004, the fate of the rule of law in this country was put in doubt by the thuggery of Alberto Gonzales and Andrew Card, acting on behalf of the White House and the President of the United States. And at the critical moment, it all turned only on the presence of the guns of the FBI agents posted outside John Ashcroft's hospital room.
Anybody still think he's just going to roll over and comply with subpoenas?
I absolutely agree with this conclusion. This gang of thugs that we have in the White House cares not one single iota for the rule of the law. They are going to get what they want, no matter the means, legal or illegal. They will not answer any question that they don’t want to answer. They will attempt to obfuscate, and if that doesn’t work, they will tell outright lies, even under oath, if it serves their purpose. If you don’t believe me, go back and review the entire Scooter Libby trial.
These people absolutely do not believe in democracy. If this isn’t a blatant example of fascism, I don’t know what is. If you read the above narrative without names or context, you would probably guess that it comes from the Soviet Union in the 60’s. And one of the main perps in this story is now the highest ranking legal official in the U.S. government! What is it going to take for the rest of America to wake up to what is going on right underneath our collective noses? 2008 cannot come soon enough for me.
Here’s some more on this column from Dan Froomkin, with lots and lots of links.
Good analysis at TPM.