Bush: Mukasey for Attorney General or none at all
President Bush, fueling the effort to confirm the 66-year-old retired judge Michael B. Mukasey, emphasizes the need for the service of an Attorney General, particularly, he says, while the nation is at war.
Reports the New York Times, the President aired his grievances to a small group of reporters over Mukasey's treatment by the Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearings. Recently, Mukasey stood up for the equal treatment of gay and lesbian Department of Justice employees, but at the same time, has been heavily criticized for his refusal to provide a clear answer on whether or not the interrogation technique known as "waterboarding" is considered torture.
While President Bush denounced the grilling of Mukasey over a practice he says Mukasey hasn't been briefed on, Bush declined just the same to discuss "waterboarding," assuring his invitees that interrogation techniques are "within the law," performed by "highly trained professionals."
"That's what's important for America to know," he adds.
In a speech to the Heritage Foundation, Bush worked to imply that not confirming Mukasey would result in no Attorney General "during this time of war," guaranteed.
“They’ve been carefully reviewed by the Department of Justice and are very carefully monitored,” Mr. Cheney said of the techniques, in an appearance before the American Legion in Indianapolis. “The program is run by highly trained professionals who understand their obligations under the law. And the program has uncovered a wealth of information that has foiled attacks against the United States; information that has on numerous occasions made all the difference between life and death.”
Senator Edward M. Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat who is on the committee, said today that he would vote against the nominee, and only in part because of Mr. Mukasey’s refusal to answer directly whether he thinks waterboarding is torture. “I found little comfort in other areas as well,” the senator said, going on to say that he is dismayed by the nominee’s opinions about the extent of a president’s powers to order an American citizen detained without charges, and other areas of executive power.
“I therefore intend to oppose this nomination,” Mr. Kennedy said on the Senate floor. “Judge Mukasey appears to be a careful, conscientious and intelligent lawyer, and he has served our country honorably for many years. But those qualities are not enough for this critical position at this critical time.”
The entire New York Times article can be read HERE.