Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-MA) wanted some clarity during his questioning. Was the attorney general really saying that anyone who acted pursuant to a Justice Department legal opinion was “insulated from criminal liability?”
Mukasey wanted to say it more carefully. “I think what I said was that we could not investigate or prosecute somebody for acting in reliance on a Justice Department opinion.”
But even if that opinion was “inaccurate,” Delahunt wondered, and that behavior really did violate the U.S. criminal code, you’re saying that someone who relied on it would effectively have “immunity from any culpability?”
“Justified reliance,” Mukasey answered, “could not be the subject of a prosecution.” Simple as that. “Immunity connotes culpability,” he added, so it wasn’t immunity, exactly, but the effect was the same.
Delahunt (much like Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) in the last hearing) proclaimed himself baffled. This was a “new legal doctrine” for him. He’d thought “the law is the law.”
The quick take, of course, is that they’re making me miss John Ashcroft with a fierceness previously reserved only for Cadbury Eggs in December or figgy pudding in July. Who’d have thought that nasty old fucker would prove to be one of the more principled members of the Bush administration? It’s a pretty low bar, I’ll admit, but even so.
The law is the law. How pathetic. How quaint. Howpredictable; I keep saying it but it doesn’t get less true: They have been at this for YEARS, and only now are we starting to freak out about it. And our primary reaction is bafflement; it’s confusing, it’s not like they’re just doing something that’s, well, rude. It’s that they’ve gone so far over the edge as to say the world we live in, structured as we know it, does not exist. The reality-based community; it’s been a joke for a while, but do we realize, yet, how funny it isn’t? You show them a banana and it’s not like they say it’s an apple, it’s like they pat you on the head and say “Good doggie.” I mean, it makes no sense. They have been at this for YEARS and we’re still so fucking bumfuzzled by it we’re grasping for a response. The official we, anyway, the Democratic Party we, the US Senate/House we.
Me, I would like to seeCongress issue its own arrest warrants and drag these people to jail on national television, because the law isn’t what you say it is, the law is the law, and if you break it, you get your ass handcuffed, and that’s how it works in the NBA.