Countdown – a gap in the e-mails

Keith as usual has been doing his homework (or his staff has). He continues to thoughtful show us the parallels between this White House and the Nixon White House. Portions of Tony Snow’s press conference is kind interesting. Not 10 years ago, Tony Snow was hammering Clinton about executive privilege. (From the St. Louis Post Dispatch March 29, 1998 [greenwald])

Evidently, Mr. Clinton wants to shield virtually any communications that take place within the White House compound on the theory that all such talk contributes in some way, shape or form to the continuing success and harmony of an administration. Taken to its logical extreme, that position would make it impossible for citizens to hold a chief executive accountable for anything. He would have a constitutional right to cover up.

Chances are that the courts will hurl such a claim out, but it will take time.

One gets the impression that Team Clinton values its survival more than most people want justice and thus will delay without qualm. But as the clock ticks, the public’s faith in Mr. Clinton will ebb away for a simple reason: Most of us want no part of a president who is cynical enough to use the majesty of his office to evade the one thing he is sworn to uphold — the rule of law.

Wow. Now hear Tony. Press briefing (3/21/07) – Ed, what we’re doing is we’re trying to be accommodating to Congress by offering them extraordinary insight into a deliberative process. You also know that everybody who goes — the President expects everybody who talks to Congress to tell the truth, and so does the law. And they know that it would be illegal not to tell them truth.

So the question you’ve got to ask yourself is, is this pressure on transcripts and everything, is this really something where somebody thinks that there’s going to be a fact that they’re not going to receive? The answer is, no. The question is whether you are trying to create a political spectacle, rather than simply the basis of getting at the truth. This, I think, is an important and crucial distinction, because, again, I’m not sure — well, I think we can say with confidence that they’re going to get every fact they need to find out what’s going on.

So, the White House has nothing to hide and transcripts and recording devices are not necessary because everyone in the White House will tell the truth. Well, that’s rich. Plenty rich.

To echo the Nixon White House even further there is a gap in the e-mails. This is kind of like the gap on the Nixon tapes. 18 days are missing. David Shuster has an excellent report on this. I think that we are going to find that this is the meat of the who was involved. These are probably the e-mails where the White House is warned. These are the e-mails where the arrogance of the White House will show. I’m just guessing but why else would they hand over so many e-mails and leave an 18 day gap? My answer is that they want to look like that are playing ball with Congress without really playing ball. They are feeding Congress a fish-head.

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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