Ironic, no, that another Monica has cropped up with another president; the so-called "adult" president who claimed he would bring back the moral rectitude of the White House after the Clinton years. Ah, but this is no blowjob between consenting adults now, is it?
Before I quote from Dan Froomkin's column today on this Monica, let me note that I've heard from a LOT of people in the last 24 hours since the announcement that Al Gonzales' liaison to the White House from the Department of (In)Justice would plead the 5th; all say that this for them means this Justice Dept and White House are dirty as hell. And let me add that most of these same folks were hardly convinced before that the purging of the U.S. Attorneys/federal prosecutors fell into a gray area for them, where they were not certain actual wrong had been done.
Now to Froomkin:
Will another presidency be tripped up by another Monica?Bush Boy may be going dow-dow-down-downnnnnn on this.
As suspicions about the White House role in the firings of eight U.S. attorneys last year continue to deepen, one of the people who could shed light on what happened -- Monica Goodling, the Justice Department's White House liaison -- has suddenly decided to clam up, invoking her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Juries in criminal cases are sternly lectured not to assume guilt when a defendant takes the Fifth. It is, after all, a Constitutional right.
But when a fairly minor player in what had heretofore not been considered a criminal investigation suddenly admits that she faces legal jeopardy if she tells the truth to a Congressional panel? Well, in that case, wild speculation is an inevitable and appropriate reaction.
For one, it's not at all clear what she's trying to say. Undeniably, if she chose to lie to the panel, she could face perjury charges. Her recourse, therefore, would appear to be to tell the truth.
So is she saying that if she told the truth, she would have to admit a crime? What crime?
Or is she saying something else: That she'd have to admit someone else's criminal behavior? Well, that's not something you can take the Fifth to avoid. Sorry.
Or is she just afraid of being grilled by an antagonistic bunch of congressmen? Well, that's not something you can take the Fifth to avoid either.
In my column yesterday, I wrote that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is almost certainly still getting his marching orders directly from the West Wing. I speculated about which Justice and/or White House aides were charged with delivering those orders. It's widely known that the White House has in many cases turned over the micromanagement of Cabinet officials to untested youngsters whose paramount qualification is that they follow orders.