High Drama -- and High Crimes?
By Dan Froomkin
Special to washingtonpost.com
Wednesday, May 16, 2007; 1:04 PM
Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey's gripping testimony yesterday about his high-speed race to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft's hospital bedside -- and the ensuing standoff with senior White House aides over the administration's warrantless wiretapping program -- may turn out to be the political-scandal equivalent of the tune nobody can get out of their heads.
It might not stack up as the most momentous of the accusations against the Bush White House. But it features a compelling narrative, an irreproachable witness and a serious charge of wrongdoing. At heart, Comey's tale is about a White House that refused to stand down even when its own Justice Department determined that what it was doing was illegal.
Dan Eggen and Paul Kane write in The Washington Post: "On the night of March 10, 2004, as Attorney General John D. Ashcroft lay ill in an intensive-care unit, his deputy, James B. Comey, received an urgent call.
"White House Counsel Alberto R. Gonzales and President Bush's chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., were on their way to the hospital to persuade Ashcroft to reauthorize Bush's domestic surveillance program, which the Justice Department had just determined was illegal.
"In vivid testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, Comey said he alerted FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III and raced, sirens blaring, to join Ashcroft in his hospital room, arriving minutes before Gonzales and Card. Ashcroft, summoning the strength to lift his head and speak, refused to sign the papers they had brought. Gonzales and Card, who had never acknowledged Comey's presence in the room, turned and left.
These people are up to their eyeballs in stinky business.
According to their schedule the Senate Committee on the Judiciary has a business meeting today for "Authorization of Subpoenas in Connection with Investigation into Replacement of U.S. Attorneys." We will see what comes out of that later today.
Stay tuned for more.