A Cautious Man
March 21, 2007
Now Who's The Man Who Thinks He Can Decide
Now who's the man who thinks he can decide
Whose dreams will live and whose shall be pushed aside
Has he ever walked down these streets at night and looked into the eyes of
None but the brave

So I learned something by reading today’s press briefing from the White House.

Basically, it appears that “the Decider” was apparently not involved in “deciding” whether to fire those US Attorneys.

I’m not sure how that fits into that whole “serve at the pleasure of the President” concept, if the President isn’t involved in the “deciding” to fire them.

From today’s briefing -

Q There is one email from November 15th from Mr. Sampson to Harriet Miers, I believe, "Who will determine whether this requires the President's attention?"

MR. SNOW: Right.

Q And then there's a gap in emails. Was there any -- perhaps any emails about the President in there? And did the President have to sign off on this? Because the question was raised --

MR. SNOW: The President has no recollection of this ever being raised with him.


Q Just to follow, did you say, again for the record, that the President has no recollection of ever being asked about any of this?

MR. SNOW: Yes, the removal -- yes, that is correct.


Q You said earlier that the President has no recollection of anyone bringing this issue up to him.

MR. SNOW: Yes.

Q Does anyone who now or previously worked at the White House have any recollection of bringing it up to him?

MR. SNOW: Not that I'm aware of, but I don't -- I don't think so.
But this is one, John, where I think this is one of those things that members of Congress are going to want to explore, and if they accept our offer, they'll be able to get an absolutely exhaustive investigation of it.


Q But earlier you were saying that, when I asked about, well, was the President informed of this decision, did the President sign off on U.S. attorneys being fired, you said the President has no recollection of being informed of all this.

MR. SNOW: Correct.

Q So were his advisors really advising him on this? Is this really privileged communication involving the President and his advisors, if the President wasn't looped in, you're saying, on this decision? So it was other people --

MR. SNOW: Well, that also falls into the intriguing question category.

Q But, I mean --

MR. SNOW: No, you're asking -- you're asking me to -- look, Ed, there are a number of complex legal considerations in here, and I'm not going to try to play junior lawyer. These are the sort of things that people are going to have an opportunity to talk about.

Q But aren't you having it both ways? If you're saying the President wasn't in the loop, but we need to cite executive privilege for the President's communications --

MR. SNOW: No, what you're -- what you are saying is, are conversations that didn't take place privileged? Well, no -- they didn't take place.

Q So what are you protecting, if they didn't take place?

MR. SNOW: Well, no, we're not -- what we're trying to do is to protect the ability of the American people to see folks in Washington get at the truth without, in fact, engaging in the kind of unseemly partisanship that has too often been a factor in recent political life.

Of course, that last question is also a good one. How the heck can you claim a privilege for a conversation that didn’t take place?



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