White House

Gonzales knew about FBI abuses

Democrats raised new questions Tuesday about whether Attorney General Alberto Gonzales knew about FBI abuses of civil liberties when he told a Senate committee that no such problems occurred.

Lying to Congress is a crime, but it wasn’t clear if Gonzales knew about the violations when he made his statements to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

One Democrat called for a special counsel to investigate. President Bush continued to support his longtime friend.

“He still has faith in the attorney general,” White House spokesman Scott Stanzel told reporters.

Bush’s missed opportunities

On July Fourth, President Bush predictably gave another spirited defense of staying the course in Iraq, and he asked every American to find a way to thank the men and women in the military and their families.

Send a care package, he said. Ask family members with a mom or dad on the front lines what they need, carpool, pray for soldiers and their families, click on AmericaSupportsYou.mil.

Wait a minute. Did he say “carpool”? Carpooling to thank and support the troops? That’s a surprise.

Gonzales lied about Patriot Act abuse

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales lied to Congress two years ago when he claimed he there were no documented FBI abuses under the controversial USA Patriot Act.

Gonzales told Congress in April 2005 that “there has not been one verified case of civil liberties abuse” under the rights-robbing act that was passed by a shell-shocked Congress after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

In fact, reports The Washington Post, Gonzales received at least a half-dozen reports detailing violations three months before he lied to Congress. The Post, using the Freedom of Information Act, obtained internal FBI documents detailing the violations and reports to Gonzales.

Bush to Congress: Up yours!

President Bush invoked executive privilege Monday to deny requests by Congress for testimony from two former aides about the firings of federal prosecutors.

The White House, however, did offer again to make former counsel Harriet Miers and one-time political director Sara Taylor available for private, off-the-record interviews.

In a letter to the heads of the House and Senate Judiciary panels, White House counsel Fred Fielding insisted that Bush was acting in good faith and refused lawmakers’ demand that the president explain the basis for invoking the privilege.

‘Cheney fatique’ descends on GOP

Dick Cheney, who thrives on secrecy while pulling the levers of power, is getting caught in the glare of an unwelcome spotlight. Once viewed as a sage and mentor to President Bush, Cheney has approval ratings now that are as low as — or lower — than the president’s. Recent national polls have put them both in the high 20s.

Bush’s decision to spare former Cheney aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby from a 2 1/2-year prison sentence has focused new attention on the vice president and his possible role in the commutation.

Court rejects ACLU suit on spying

A divided federal appeals court rejected a lawsuit Friday challenging President Bush’s domestic spying program without ruling on the issue of whether warrantless wiretapping is legal.

In a 2-1 decision with Republican-appointed judges in the majority, a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the plaintiffs had no standing to sue because they couldn’t prove their communications had been monitored by the government.

Bush pleads for patience for failed war

President George W. Bush, trying to tap into Independence Day patriotism to rally support for an unpopular war, appealed on Wednesday for American patience and resolve in Iraq.

In a Fourth of July holiday speech at a West Virginia Air National Guard base, Bush said “we all long for the day” when there are fewer U.S. troops in Iraq but insisted that more time is needed for his Iraq strategy to work.

Bush won’t rule out full pardon for Libby

President Bush on Tuesday refused to rule out an eventual pardon for I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, leaving open the chance he may wipe away the former White House aide’s criminal record after already erasing his prison sentence.

“I rule nothing in or nothing out,” Bush said when asked about whether he might pardon Libby before leaving office in January 2009.

The president’s stance, on one level, was merely practical. When he commuted Libby’s 2 1/2-year prison term in the CIA leak case on Monday, a court ruling had made jail time imminent. Bush has plenty of time to consider a pardon, depending on how Libby’s appeals go.

Bush’s double standard

At the outset of the CIA-leak investigation, President Bush sternly warned that if any person in his administration “has violated the law, the person will be taken care of.” The person was taken care of, all right, just not the way we were led to believe.

Late Monday afternoon, the White House announced that Bush had commuted the pending prison sentence of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the influential vice-presidential chief of staff found guilty of four felony counts of lying to the FBI and a grand jury about the outing of a CIA agent’s identity.

Bush decision on Libby rallies loyalists

Most of America may be shocked and dismayed by President George W. Bush’s decision to commute the prison sentence of convicted White House aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby but the rabid right wing of the Republican Party, the staunch minority of Presidential loyalists, are cheering the President as loudly as they can.

The unfettered glee from the ultra-conservatives is a rare show of support for Bush. The rabid right has never fully trusted Bush and his decision on Libby has put some life into the GOP’s dwindling base.