Wednesday, May 24, 2006

royality chooses no sides

Since when does the average american have this type of power, or vocalise the thought they they can bring law enforcement to its knees. Get over it Dennis the "crook" was caught with his fingers in the cookie jar(so to speak) now let the JUSTICE system run its course.
Kudo's to AG Gonzales for letting the pompous elected representative they AREN"T above the law and aren't above reproach.

district 139

Hastert demands FBI return documents

By LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press Writer 21 minutes ago

House Speaker Dennis Hastert demanded Wednesday that the FBI surrender
documents it seized and remove agents involved in the weekend raid of
Rep. William Jefferson (news, bio, voting record)'s office, under what
lawmakers of both parties said were unconstitutional circumstances.

"We think those materials ought to be returned," Hastert said, adding
that the FBI agents involved "ought to be frozen out of that (case) just
for the sake of the constitutional aspects of it."

The Saturday night search of Jefferson's office on Capitol Hill brought
Democrats and Republicans together in rare election-year accord, with
both parties protesting agency conduct they said violated the
Constitution's separation of powers doctrine.

"Not anyone here is above the law," Pelosi told reporters Tuesday, as
she prepared to meet with the House speaker. But, she added, "I think
you've seen abuse of power of the executive branch over this weekend."

A day earlier, Hastert, R-Ill., complained personally to President Bush
about raid. Other House officials have predicted that the case would
bring all three branches together at the Supreme Court for a
constitutional showdown.

But while most leaders of both parties stand together in opposition to
an executive branch raid of a legislative branch office, party leaders
are acting on different political agendas.

Democrats, hoping to exploit Republican scandals on Capitol Hill and
regain control of Congress, are making it known that Jefferson, of
Louisiana, is no longer welcome on the House's most prestigious panel,
the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.

For his part, Jefferson, who has denied wrongdoing, remains defiant.

"I will not give up a committee assignment that is so vital to New
Orleans at this crucial time for any uncertain, long-term political
strategy," Jefferson said Tuesday. "If asked, I would respectfully decline."

His spokeswoman, Melanie Roussell, added that Jefferson will not resign
from Congress.

Republicans are being careful to avoid defending Jefferson while
standing up for the separation of powers in an increasingly tense
relationship with the White House over its use of executive power.

In April, Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., personally
told Bush that "the president doesn't have a blank check" during a
discussion of Bush's domestic wiretapping program.

Hastert kept up the drumbeat after the FBI's raid of Jefferson's office.

"My opinion is that they took the wrong path," Hastert said after
meeting with Bush in the White House. "They need to back up, and we need
to go from there."

The developments are the beginning of what lawmakers predict will be a
long dispute over the FBI's search of Jefferson's office last weekend.
Historians say it was the first raid of a representative's quarters in
Congress' 219 years.

FBI agents searched Jefferson's office in pursuit of evidence in a
bribery investigation. The search warrant, signed by U.S. District Court
Judge Thomas Hogan, was based on an affidavit that said agents found
$90,000 in cash wrapped and stashed in the freezer of Jefferson's home.

White House officials said they did not learn of the search until after
it happened. They pledged to work with the Justice Department to soothe

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales tried to strike a conciliatory tone,
saying, "We have a great deal of respect for the Congress as a coequal
branch of government." But he also defended the search: "We have an
obligation to the American people to pursue the evidence where it exists."

Officials said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had
discussed Jefferson's situation with several fellow senior lawmakers and
there was a consensus that he should step aside, preferably voluntarily,
at least until his legal situation was clarified. It was not clear
whether she or an emissary approached Jefferson. The officials who
described the developments did so on condition of anonymity, citing the
delicacy of the situation.

Justice Department officials said the decision to search Jefferson's
office was made in part because he refused to comply with a subpoena for
documents last summer. Jefferson reported the subpoena to the House on
Sept. 15, 2005.

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