This looks like a job for Josh Marshall, but maybe he hasn’t finished his coffee yet

by John Holbo on December 15, 2005


President Bush said yesterday he is confident that former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) is innocent of money-laundering charges, as he offered strong support for several top Republicans who have been battered by investigations or by rumors of fading clout inside the White House.

Now help me finish this thought by providing links to ALL those occasions when the President has not been so forthcoming. Mr. Google gives pretty good hits in response to “Bush won’t comment on ongoing investigations”.



paul 12.15.05 at 9:00 am

Statistically speaking, knowing that Bush has said he is confident that P, where P is a matter under dispute, is a decent reason to believe not-P. Long before Bush wouldn’t comment, for example, his press secretary reported that he knew for a certainty that certain of his aides had not done what we now know them to have done.

What I’m wondering is whether there’s any value to trying to parse the relative evidentiary values of “is confident”, “is certain”, “believes”, “alllies have learned” and so forth, or whether they all mean the same thing.


KCinDC 12.15.05 at 10:00 am

“Rafael Palmeiro is a friend. He testified in public and I believe him,” Bush said Monday. “He’s the kind of person that’s going to stand up in front of the klieg lights and say he didn’t use steroids, and I believe him. Still do.”


The Heretik 12.15.05 at 12:10 pm

Some investigations are more “ongoing” than others


goatchowder 12.15.05 at 1:14 pm

Actually it depends on what your definition of “ongoing” is.


Matt Weiner 12.15.05 at 1:16 pm

Isn’t the real scandal that Bush said he likes Tom DeLay?

Oh, check this Google correction. (Nothing to do with DeLay, I realize.)


california_reality_check 12.15.05 at 2:14 pm

Well, to be completely fair. It’s a trial. The investigation has been completed.


Thomas 12.15.05 at 2:20 pm

Of course, the context is different. It may be that the president doesn’t believe he should comment on ongoing federal investigations, but that he believes he has no reason to refrain from commenting on state investigations.


kharris 12.15.05 at 2:51 pm


I’m wondering whether Bush saying he is confident in D’s innocence when D’s innocence is in dispute is a decent reason to believe pardon-D, on the condition that avoids dragging any other Republicans down with him.


Matt Weiner 12.15.05 at 6:33 pm

The official explanation is presidential prerogative, which seems to amount to “I don’t feel like I have to explain myself.” (via iocaste)

Actually it looks like crc nailed it in 6:

McClellan denied there was any inconsistency between the president’s remarks in the DeLay case and the White House’s “no comments” in the CIA matter because the CIA case involves a continuing investigation and the DeLay matter is further along in the legal process.

And I assumed you were joking.


rdb 12.15.05 at 6:36 pm

firedoglake: Um, hello??!?? The President of the United States and former Governor of the State of Texas says he thinks that Tom Delay is innocent to a national news outlet after a presiding judge has just ruled that the charge stands as proper to be tried by a jury of Delay’s peers. Did he or his staff even stop to think about the consequences of this public display of affection for Delay? Has anyone explained to the Preznit the meaning of the words “jury tampering?”


california_reality_check 12.15.05 at 7:19 pm

Well, no one seems willing or able to call these people to task. They are really good at what they do. Sound bites, damage control and spin. That’s what it is all about in politics today. I quess the only solution is to try to put as many as possible in jail.


Uncle Kvetch 12.15.05 at 8:41 pm

The official explanation is presidential prerogative, which seems to amount to “I don’t feel like I have to explain myself.”

Well, that’s nothing new:

I’m the commander. See, I don’t have to explain why I say things. That’s the interesting thing about being the president. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don’t feel like I owe anybody an explanation.

The only thing surprising is that there are still people in the United States in December 2005 who think they’ll get something more meaningful from this administration than “Because I said so.”


Thomas 12.15.05 at 9:22 pm

rdb, would you be so kind as to explain the charge of “jury tampering” and its relevance to this comment? Thanks!


rdb 12.15.05 at 10:57 pm

This link to should work.

Read the posting. Do you think that someone the president proclaimed as guilty, before or during a trial could get a fair trial?


abb1 12.16.05 at 2:18 am

…after a presiding judge has just ruled that the charge stands as proper to be tried by a jury of Delay’s peers…

That was a crackpot-runaway-partisan-junkyard-dog judge! And probably gay too.


RETARDO 12.16.05 at 4:06 am

this has happened before, and somebody with the research skillz out to find out what John Marshall said about it.

thomas jefferson did the exact same thing during the burr trial. i know john adams publicly rebujed jefferson for it, but i dont know, or remember, what Marshall said.


RETARDO 12.16.05 at 4:07 am

ought, rather. sorry. tired.


california_reality_check 12.16.05 at 3:04 pm

Ya know, I think rdb has something here. What about it you legal eagles? Jury tampering?

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