Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Kyle Sampson Is Set To Finish Gonzales

Kyle Sampson, Alberto Gonzales' former chief of staff, is set to testify before Congress on Thursday. Many are wondering what Sampson is going to say. US News reports that while Sampson is unlikely to rat out Karl Rove in the matter, Gonzales is another story:

Sampson will set off some fireworks by contradicting a key assurance that Gonzales made to Congress and the American public last Tuesday that he was not in the loop during the long deliberations leading up to the firings.

Gonzales probably spoke to Sampson 20 times a day, and had a morning management meeting daily on a range of issues with Sampson and other key officials also involved in the U.S. Attorney deliberations. Gonzales had delegated the replacement plan for U.S. Attorneys largely to Sampson and was monitoring it at "the 30,000 feet level," Sampson's associate says. But Sampson will testify that the Attorney General not only discussed the idea while he was still White House counsel and signed off at the end, but also was "aware of the arc of the whole process" in between, says this source. "The idea that there were no discussions on this overall issue," says the source, "the Attorney General could not have meant to say that."

If Sampson testifies to that under oath on Thursday, I just don't see how the A.G. stays in his job.

Many think Bush will back him and GOPers will follow suit at least until April 17th when Gonzales himself goes before the Congress to testify under oath about the matter.

But what kind of firestorm would be set off if Gonzales' chief of staff says under oath that Gonzo has been lying the whole time about his involvement in the matter?

As for the kind of damage Sampson can do the White House staff, here again is US News:

While Sampson's testimony won't implicate White House officials, it won't rule out their involvement - including Rove's - in the selection of the fired U.S. Attorneys either. In fact, it will only give Democrats in Congress new fodder to demand the testimony under oath of Rove and other key Bush officials, something Bush has so far said he won't tolerate, citing executive privilege. Sampson is likely to testify that although he exchanged E-mails and had discussions with then-White House counsel Harriet Miers and her deputy William Kelley, what happened "behind the curtains," in the White House, was largely invisible to him.

After all is said and done, the White House position that Karl Rove and Harriet Miers will ONLY go to Congress for informal interviews about these matters with no transcripts and no oaths will become even more untenable after Sampson and Gonzales testify before Congress and Gonzales' counsel, Monica Goodling, invokes her fifth amendment privilege and declines to testify.

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