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Another Republican on the Run

This one didn't even make it to the hearings before he turned tail and ran rather than testify under oath.

President Bush's pick to be the No. 3 official in the Justice Department asked to have his nomination withdrawn Friday, four days before he was to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Bill Mercer sent a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales saying it was unlikely that the Senate would confirm him as associate attorney general, a post he has held on an interim basis since September. He plans to leave Washington and turn his full attention to his work as U.S. attorney for Montana.

"With no clear end in sight with respect to my nomination, it is untenable for me to pursue both responsibilities and provide proper attention to my family," Mercer wrote.

The Judiciary Committee had scheduled a hearing on Mercer's nomination for Tuesday. A spokeswoman for the committee had said senators needed the facts from an investigation into the firings of several federal prosecutors before he could be confirmed.

"The White House has found many ways to keep sunlight from reaching some of the darker corners of the Bush Justice Department, but this is a new one," Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said in a statement. "With a confirmation hearing looming next Tuesday, they have withdrawn this nomination to avoid having to answer more questions under oath."

Time to keep digging... he ran rather than testify - I wonder what he might be hiding, and why he's afraid to go on the record.

Mercer's name comes up at times in thousands of pages of e-mail exchanges between Justice Department and White House officials discussing the firings. The panel had authorized a subpoena for Mercer as part of its investigation.

The demise of his nomination points up the difficulty Bush faces as he tries to fill the top ranks of a Justice Department wilting under the weight of the Democratic-led congressional investigation into whether the White House, in effect, runs the agency.

Several lawmakers, including Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, have said the department is so dysfunctional and that it suffers with Gonzales still at the helm. But with Bush's support behind him, Gonzales shows no signs of resigning. He has said he plans to stay in the post until the end of Bush's term, virtually ensuring that majority Democrats will push ahead with their investigations of his stewardship.

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Comments (5)


Keep digging...you may just discover that HE HAS A LIFE and wants nothing to do with Washington after what he has experienced to date, which is lots of hearings, lots of huffing and puffing and no indictments.

In the event that you discover that he is an ax murderer, or worse, a partisan Republican, I'm sure we will read about it here first.

On the other hand, you got roasted yesterday and today at the mothership. You need to show up and give a cogent and concise defense of your challenges to the posters there.

Lee Ward:

Or he's guilty, and doesn't want to perjure himself at the insistence of the Bush administration in order to get a job.

Two of the fired U.S. attorneys, Daniel Bogden of Las Vegas and Paul K. Charlton of Phoenix, testified before a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that Mercer told them they were dismissed to make room for others and not because of performance problems.

Bogden testified that Mercer told him the administration had a "very short, two-year window of opportunity concerning the United States attorney positions" and that "this would be an opportunity to put others into those positions so they could build their résumés and get an experience as a United States attorney, so for future possibilities of being federal judges or other political-type positions, they could be better enhanced to do so."

Apparently Mercer didn't want to testify under oath regarding that conversation -- or maybe he remembered that he had some cleaning to pick up back in Billings. Yeah, that's probably it.


Apparently Mercer didn't want to testify under oath regarding that conversation

What's illegal in that conversation?

Lee Ward:

What's 'illegal' in the conversation he's afraid to testify to under oath? I'm not suggesting that he's broken the law, just that it appears -- from the conservation testified to Bogden -- that Mercer can verify that the firings were not performance-related as the White House maintained, He doesn't want to have to do that.

From the conversation with Bogden it is obvious that Mercer is yet another Rove lackey who seems willing to use his #3 position in the Justice Department to do Rove's bidding.

He knows that once that fact is full fleshed out his chances of confirmation are nil, and he's decided to run for the hills instead, rather than have to go under oath and explain himself and his actions, and explain who told him to do what.

If he wasn't a Rove puppet he'd have nothing to be afraid of. As he states, he already knows that he won't be confirmed -- so he's as much as admitted that he's complicit in the firing. The firing which was orchestrated by Karl Rove.

The Justice Department works for the people, not for the GOP -- at least that's the way it's supposed to be. Mercer's statements to Bogden show that the White House was using the US Attorney slots to groom administration-friendly folks for future judical appointments.

If Mercer has acted contrary to the tenet that the Justice Department works for the people he then stands zero chances of confirmation from the Democrats. Him stating that he knows he can't pass the confirmation hearings is his own acknowledgment that he's working for the GOP instead of 'the people', and he's decided there is no point in going through the pain and not being confirmed.

He's right.

Or are you suggesting that Bogden committed perjury in his testimony of the conversation with Mercer? If that were the case Mercer would have no problem testifying under oath to the truth, now would he? That's what you'd expect from the number 3 person at the Justice Department, they would stand up and speak the truth at all times. You know.. stand up for justice and the American way.

Mercer ran.

Your entire comment looks like a pyramid of ASSumptions, one sitting precariously on top of the other.

it appears,
He knows that,
If he wasn't a Rove puppet,
firing which was orchestrated by Karl Rove,
If Mercer has acted contrary to the tenet,
That's what you'd expect from the number 3 person at the Justice Department,

Here's my ASSumption: He saw what happened to Libby and made a decision that served his and his family's interest.

Get off your high horse and temper your remarks, like this one,

"tenet that the Justice Department works for the people"

.....puleeze; what granite wall was that emblazoned on in Janet Reno's and Web Hubbel's offices?


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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