RUSH: Let’s move on to Kyle Sampson, who was testifying today before the Leaky Leahy Judiciary Committee in the United States Senate. There was a lot of hubbub about Kyle Sampson. He quit or resigned, one of the two, and a lot of people were expecting fireworks. But he went up and said, (paraphrasing) ‘Hey, the process was just fine. Everything we did was perfect. We did get rid of some guys because they weren’t enacting the president’s policies, but I don’t think that’s inappropriate.’ This is important because this guy, to be called up there, he’s being looked at as the authority. He said, ‘The whole process here was fine. Everything we did we can make a case for. But we botched the way we handled it,’ and he finally came out. This is what they wanted today, that Gonzales lied, or Gonzales wrongly stated that he was not involved in discussions about the firings of federal prosecutors. ‘I don’t think the attorney general’s statement that he was not involved in any discussions about U.S. attorney removals was accurate. … I remember discussing with him this process of asking certain U.S. attorneys to resign.’ We’ve got a couple sound bites. That’s 15 and 16 coming up here in just a second, Mike. The LA Times today story, ‘Former Justice Official Defends Firings.’ He said, (paraphrasing) ‘Look you can be a great attorney and still not be in line with the president’s policy.’ That’s fine and dandy, but these people serve at the pleasure of the president. It’s important here to remember that Sampson did not disparage or criticize the process. Because, you have to understand, it’s not about that. The Democrats want Sampson looking good. They want people to focus on an underling. They don’t want people to folks on Gonzales’ chief of staff. They want Gonzales, and then they want Rove, and to prove that, here is a little sound bite from PMSNBC before the hearing started. It’s Chip Reid talking with their anchorette, Amy Robach, who said, ‘Chip, what kind of tone do you think we can expect from the senators on this committee?’ REID: What’s going on here is that they are making clear that there are bigger fish to fry out there. They don’t want Kyle Sampson to look like ‘the bad guy,’ the symbol of everything and the reason that everything went wrong here, because what they’re really trying to do is trace this up the line to Gonzales and Karl Rove and perhaps others. So they don’t want to, you know, unload on this guy, make it look like he made all the mistakes, and in a sense exonerate people above him. RUSH: Here’s a couple sound bites. Chuck Schumer talking to Kyle Sampson, here’s Schumer first. Now, notice, he asks the questions and answers them in the question. SCHUMER: He said, okay, that the mistake that occurred here was that information you had, Kyle Sampson had, was not shared with individuals within the department. Is that true or false? SAMPSON: I shared information with anyone who wanted it. I was very open and collaborative in the process, in the preparation for Mr. McNulty and Mr. Moschella’s testimony. SCHUMER: That’s what I want to ask. Did you share information with Mr. McNulty and Mr. Moschella? SAMPSON: I did. SCHUMER: So the attorney general’s statement is wrong? RUSH: You see where this is headed. Of course there’s a story somewhere in the stack, the Republicans in the Senate and the House are all upset about this because it’s taking away their message. What message? May I ask the Republicans, what message? What is it about you that compels you to sit there on your hands while this is going on? You know full well what this is. This is an effort to get Gonzales, and then after Gonzales it is an effort to get Rove. It is an effort to keep on moving up the administration hierarchy as high as they can go on this, and they’re not going to stop with this. Whatever else comes down the pike. They just went out there and hired outside lawyers because they don’t have enough government lawyers on staff to do all the investigations of the administration. The Republicans just sit there scared to death to align themselves with the administration. It’s an election year, obviously. Well, it’s an election season. By the way, there are a lot of conservatives in the media: ‘Get rid of Gonzales; get this off the table; get rid of him. He was incompetent; get him out of there; shouldn’t have been there in the first place.’ It doesn’t help when people on our own side want to throw this guy overboard. It’s no longer about Gonzales. It’s not about whether he’s competent or incompetent or any of this. It’s about destroying the administration. I’m at a loss to understand why it is that even some people on our side and the conservative media think throwing Gonzales away is going to stop this. Now, they’ll say, ‘Well, that’s not what we’re trying to do. We want competence. We are conservatives, and we have high values, and high standards.’ This is a battle going on here. There’s an election that’s going to hinge on stuff like this, and everybody the administration throws overboard is a tantamount admission to people that pay scant attention to politics there’s all kinds of corruption going on in there. You can sit there in your lofty perch and talk about, ‘We want competence and we want this, this will stand us in good stead in the future, we’re fair,’ so many people don’t understand, or just want to ignore the impact of the fight that this is about. When I see the Republicans are worried, ‘We gotta get this off the table because it’s taking us off message,’ if I hear this one more time, I’m going to blow a gasket. ‘We can’t get our message out. The press won’t cover us.’ I guarantee you, all it takes is one Republican to stand up there and call the Democrats on what they’re doing and say what it is, and bammo, you’re going to have coverage. They don’t do it. Don’t ask me why. You’ve been asking me why for 18 years and I don’t have an answer. I don’t have an answer other than the ones I’ve given you. Now, up next Senator John Cornyn is talking to Kyle Sampson, and Cornyn says, ‘Is there any reason to your knowledge to believe that the replacement of a US attorney with another individual appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate would in and of itself tend to interfere or impede with any investigation into any criminal, serious criminal matter that a US attorney’s office was investigating or prosecuting?’ SAMPSON: Not to my knowledge. My observation was that US attorneys, political appointees came and went. We had participated in the selection of all of the US attorneys from the beginning of the administration, and about half of them had already left office. There was much turnover in the US attorney ranks, and it never was my belief that a US attorney changeover would have much influence at all on a particular case. RUSH: See, there is no crime here. It is what we have been telling you after all of this started. There is no crime, and there is no scandal within the context of getting rid of these eight US attorneys. So the Democrats are trying to create a scandal by saying Gonzales came up to them and lied, that Gonzales lied about his role, and that constitutes lying to Congress, which is what they tried to get Ollie North on and a number of other people in the Iran-Contra era. Then once Gonzales is said to have lied before Congress, which was the meat of Kyle Sampson’s testimony today, then Congress can say, ‘Well, who else has been lying to us about this and other things? We need Rove! We need Rove under oath and we need subpoenas for all.’ Getting rid of Gonzales is not going to stop this. Meanwhile, there’s a country out there that hears little bits and pieces of this. But they’re only hearing one side. They’re hearing the Drive-By Media side. They’re not hearing the Republican side, other than as represented on this program and others like it. So they’re left to conclude that big-time scandal went on here. In fact, USA Today’s got a poll: ‘Do you think something’s wrong about the firing of eight US attorneys?’ 72% said yes. 72% of the American people, a bunch of blithering idiots who have no idea what they’re talking about, but yet they voted, so these polls matter, ‘72%, yes, you need to look into this, this is horrible, this is rotten, 72% of the people say the American system is broken when these US attorneys can simply be fired by the president,’ that is just an indication of so much ignorance out there, lack of civics education and what have you. Now, Matthews, just to show you they’re looking for Rove, Chris Matthews morning on PMSNBC, before the hearing started, Chip Reid’s talking with Amy Robach, and Matthews in on the mix. She says, ‘Chris, do you think that Sampson’s offering himself up as a scapegoat here, and how high do you think this goes?’ MATTHEWS: Watch Arlen Specter. He’s a tough prosecutor. He was DA of Philadelphia when I was growing up. This guy is going to try to nail and catch Karl Rove. I think they’re going after Karl Rove. I think he’s the big fish to be fried today because, if you read about the accounts of this, Rove is in the background. Specter said he understands that Rove always suggests intrigue. Well, Specter loves intrigue and I think he’s going to try to catch Rove involved in this. RUSH: You hear that? A Republican senator is going to try to catch Rove. The ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee is going to try to catch Rove. Rove cannot possibly have any role. There’s nothing criminal about what happened. But, see, one of Rove’s associates ended up as the US attorney in Arkansas. So? I’m just illustrating here for you how these talking points have gone out. These Democrats in the media and the Drive-Bys know exactly what the Democrats on the committee are going to do. So the next question, ‘What are some of the tougher questions you think Kyle Sampson will have to navigate today, Chris?’ MATTHEWS: I would zero in on three cases. Iglesias — I would ask him particular questions, all of which involve politics, and dare him to commit perjury. I think today will be one of those days, you know, like when Alexander Butterfield testified during Watergate, one of those days where a nobody, so-called, testifies but huge news is broken by say two or three this afternoon. RUSH: It’s all Watergate all over, I don’t care — these guys, they got Watergate on the brain. And Chris, you missed the memo. Sampson is not the sacrificial lamb. Sampson is going to end up looking good here. Like Alexander Butterfield. Here’s a little bit of Sampson, by the way, saying that the decision to fire US attorneys was perfectly proper and legal. SAMPSON: Contrary to some suggestions I’ve seen in the press, I was not motivated to resign by any belief on my part that I withheld information from department witnesses or intentionally misled either those witnesses or the Congress. Mistakes I made here were made honestly and in good faith. I failed to organize a more effective response to questions about the replacement process. But I never sought to conceal or withhold any material fact about this matter from anyone. The truth of this affair is this. The decisions to seek the resignations of a handful of US attorneys were properly made but poorly explained. This is a benign rather than sinister story, and I know that some may be disposed not to accept it. But it’s the truth as I observed it and experienced it. RUSH: There’s nothing there. And they knew he was going to say this. This is in the opening statement, they knew he was going to say it. The bombshell, quote, unquote, is Gonzales wasn’t being honest when he said he wasn’t involved. That’s where they’re headed. BREAK TRANSCRIPT RUSH: Senator Kennedy in the Boston Globe today accused President Bush of using the firings of these eight US attorneys to further the administration’s right-wing ideology. Senator Kennedy this is an absolute laugh. He said the veteran prosecutors were replaced by political operatives in key states to ensure that reliable partisans are in place in time for the 2008 presidential election. This is simply outrageous. This is another example of projection. The Democrats, in this case Senator Kennedy, accusing the Republicans of doing what the Democrats do by standard practice. They stack as many of these agencies as possible with partisan operatives, as many think tanks and 527s as possible. They stack the judiciary with partisan operatives, not judges. They go out and find legal people that are partisan operatives, they make ’em judges, district court judges, appellate judges, even Supreme Court nominees, if they can get there. They sit here and talk about this as though they are clean and pure as the wind-driven snow, never, ever governed by politics. It’s just more of an attempt to literally criminalize conservatism, is what’s happening. The Republicans say, ‘Well, we gotta get rid of Gonzales because it’s preventing our message from getting out.’ After getting rid of Rumsfeld, does anybody think this is going to change anything?
BREAK TRANSCRIPT RUSH: Chrissy Matthews is going to be fit to be tied because there was no Alexander Butterworth bombshell at the US attorney hearing today chaired by Leahy. The Republicans just objected to the whole thing, and the hearings were called off. The hearings have been brought to a screeching halt, and here’s how the Republicans did it. They did it on a procedural vote. When the House or the Senate, the House and Senate in session, which is the case today, the committees that meet can only go for a certain amount of time, and after that time has been reaped, anybody can raise an objection and cancel the whole thing. It goes back to the notion of what’s happening on the floor of the Senate is important and you can’t go to a committee meeting to avoid showing up there. So the Republicans have shut down — they were objecting to the line of questioning and a number of other things, too. So the hearing today has been called. So Chris Matthews is going to be slobbering, you’re going to see saliva down the chin there tonight if you watch this because he was expecting an Alexander Butterworth moment. He predicted it today on MSNBC or whatever, Today show. He said, ‘Yeah, we’re going to get some bombshell this afternoon. Around two or three o’clock, we’re going to get a bombshell just like Butterfield, some guy testifies, no big thing expected, is going to blow the whole thing like the taping system that Nixon had.’ Well, we got a bombshell all right, but it’s not what Chris imagined, and that is the Republicans shut down the hearing today, the committee meeting on the eight fires US attorneys. Used a rare, rare rule, and they invoked it.