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Senator McConnell On Potential Jeffords, Judges, and Subpoenas

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The Senate’s Republican Leader Mitch McConnell was my guest yesterday.  Mostly we talked about the Democrats’ budget resolution which manages to break every major promise made to the public in the fall, but we also covered some other topics:

HH: Any conversations underway, Senator McConnell, with any of those three Democrats about possibly pulling a reverse of the Jim Jeffords jump?

MM: Even if we had had conversations, I really wouldn’t want to talk about it publicly. We’re not anticipating the Senate flipping, but it is close, and certainly at least one of their members is exceedingly independent, particularly on the Iraq issue, and that’s Senator Lieberman.

HH: Now today, the President has announced that Karl Rove and Harriet Miers will be made available to the Senate for conversations, but not under oath, and not with transcription occurring. Is that going to be enough?

MM: I don’t know whether the Democrats will settle for that proposal, or whether they really just want to issue subpoenas and have a confrontation. If I were a betting man, I’d bet the latter.

HH: Now do you believe that those subpoenas have to be complied with?

MM: Well, it’s a big argument between the branches. It’s gone on for years under both parties. I think that kind of thing would probably ultimately be decided in the courts, and I don’t have a clue which way the courts would go. Typically, these things are worked out, but the Democrats are in such a froth. And of course, any time they hear the word Karl Rove, it inspires them to take the most extreme positions, and we’ll see. I think the administration’s made a reasonable offer to give them the information that they say they want, and we’ll see if they’re willing to take that.

HH: And so it’s your expectation that subpoenas will issue?

MM: I’d…yeah, I’d be surprised if they don’t do that.

HH: Last week, a 3rd Circuit judge was confirmed by the Senate. Is the Judiciary Committee doing its job, according to your expectation, Senator McConnell?

MM: So far, so good. We’ve gotten two circuit judges. We hope to get a third one shortly. I’ve mentioned to you before what I think the definition of fair is for the last two years of the Bush administration at 17. I’m not going to start complaining unless we don’t seem to be making progress. And so far, so good.

HH: I think that’s fair. Is Peter Keisler still doable?

MM: I believe he is, yes.

Read the rest here.


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