Bush Orders Corrupt Congressman’s Documents Sealed

Acceeding to pressure from House Speaker Hastert, President ordered the documents from a controversial search of Rep. William Jefferson’s office sealed.

President Bush stepped into the Justice Department’s constitutional confrontation with Congress on Thursday and ordered that documents seized in an FBI raid on a congressman’s office be sealed for 45 days. The president directed that no one involved in the investigation have access to the documents taken last weekend from the office of Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., and that they remain in the custody of the solicitor general.

Bush’s move was described as an attempt to cool off a heated confrontation between his administration and leaders of the House and Senate. “This period will provide both parties more time to resolve the issues in a way that ensures that materials relevant to the ongoing criminal investigation are made available to prosecutors in a manner that respects the interests of a coequal branch of government,” Bush said.

Glenn Reynolds wonders, “Could Al Qaeda have slipped mind-altering drugs into the DC water supply? What’s gotten into these people? Or has some sort of deal been cut? Whatever it is, I don’t think I like it.” Indeed.

Michelle Malkin vents on the topic at Hot Air.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Steve Verdon says:

    I now official regret whole-heartedly casting my vote for that turkey.

    Only 971 days left…only 971 days left…only 971 days left.

  2. Bipartisan Furor Over FBI Raid…

    Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert demanded the return of documents seized by the FBI in a raid…

  3. Bushâ??s move was described as an attempt to cool off a heated confrontation between his administration and leaders of the House and Senate.

    Given the fire storms from Miers and Dubai ports, I could understand Bush wanting to get ahead of this and let cooler heads consider things. I think his position is very strong. The only question is what do we lose for the 45 days. If we delay the trial for 45 days and don’t get the president and congress into a pissing match, its worth it. If Jeffords gets away because of it, its not worth it.

    Now think about this from a different angle. I would be amazed if Hasterts constituents are behind him on this. Imagine that enough decide that he’s stepped over the line and fire him next November. Further imagine that the election is where it stands now with most likely a 1 or 2 seat gain for the dems in the senate and about a half dozen seats in the house. How would the MSM spin such results if Hastert lost? Compare and contrast with Foley and Daschele results.

  4. Curtis says:

    Look folks, it’s easy enough to read the text of Bush’s comments here:

    http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2006/05/25/text_of_bushs_statement_in_seized_papers/

    Think about this for a minute or so — the response to the House folks saying GO AWAY has been hot. It’s likely going to get hotter. In 45 days public opinion, even though by nature saddled with a short attention span quite often, can (and may) if kept in touch with events keep the flame of accountability alive. Bush knows damned well he can’t keep the flame burning brightly all by himself without doing a thing to FURTHER aggravate the public. He isn’t overly worried, I’d expect, about the short-term reactions because he knows he CAN’T let the Congress govern itself without being subject to the same scrutiny a private citizen is.

    Okay, I, too, see a few holes in this scenario. But I’m thinking it’s viable in a general sense and quite usable by a practised operative.

  5. Steve Verdon says:

    Teh Foley thing came to mind this morning as I read about all this idiocy. I hope it plays out the same way. I’d love to see Hastert fired.

  6. Steven Plunk says:

    I can’t see anybody getting away because of a 45 day “cooling” period. This is a prudent move by the president.

    Hastert has clearly failed the people on this one. His every man persona of a wrestling coach has been replaced by the persona of a corrupt Washington insider. Talk about self destruct. It would seem more honorable to be caught with a couple of underage drunk cheerleaders smoking dope. At least Wilbur Mills went out with style (and Fanne Foxe on his arm).

  7. Stevely says:

    What the hell does the President have to gain by appearing conciliatory to the congressional GOP? Those f**kers have been slipping knives into his back for a year now. His gesture will not be repaid in gratitude, you can be sure of that.

  8. Ben Rickert says:

    Do you really think Bush wants us dim witted voters to find out what is going on behind our backs.
    Remember Sandy Hamburglar? Why isn’t his butt in a Federal Prison for taking classified documents out of the National Archives. The Bush justice department never pursued the matter.
    Why was Clinton let off so easy for his perjury conviction? The Bush justice department made a deal.
    There are these two instances and a few others that I do not recall but in each case pursuing justice would have meant allowing the public to peak behind the curtain’s of their very, very exclusive club in Washington.
    Playing CYA is one game that does have almost total bi-partian support.

  9. Roger says:

    Steve, welcome back to the reality-based world.

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  11. […] Though this has left everyone feeling a little suspicious in light of all the odd behavior going on inside the Beltway. Perhaps the clarity of being on the outside has provided Outside the Beltway with this observation. Glenn Reynolds wonders, “Could Al Qaeda have slipped mind-altering drugs into the DC water supply? What’s gotten into these people? Or has some sort of deal been cut? Whatever it is, I don’t think I like it.” Indeed. […]