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May 25, 2007

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Posts like this are why I love blogs.

Great post!

Agreed with the others, publius - these are matters that I'm seldom explicitly and consciously aware of, and I love knowing more.

DAVIS: Was there any part of that conversation that made you feel uncomfortable?

GOODLING: Yes.

I generally agree with Publius, but there's something more to note in the exchange above. Davis immediately, and quite unexpectedly, asks about whether "any part of that conversation that made you feel uncomfortable". The question looks like it came out of the blue, but it almost certainly didn't. Davis already knows that some part of the Goodling-Gonzales conversation made Goodling uncomfortable, or he wouldn't have asked the question in that way. Likely, Davis has a document (or some testimony from another witness) which already has Goodling stating that the conversation made her feel "uncomfortable" -- "uncomfortable" would have been Goodling's choice of phrase, not Davis'. A good cross-examiner -- and Davis is one -- only asks questions that (1) he or she already knows the answer to or (2) he or she doesn't care what the answer is, because any answer is helpful.

Interesting post, publius.

In the interests of wasting as little precious time as possible, Conyers in his position as the House Judiciary Committee chair should immediately put Artur Davis (joined, if necessary, by another experienced prosecutor) in charge of training and organizing questioning of future witnesses.

I know that's not how things usually work, but the group result is so much more important than the opportunity for individual grandstanding that just this once the not-easily-herded cats have to work as a team.

This isn't a game, but an effort to unravel the corruption of the entire Department of Justice for political ends.

Getting that kind of organization on the Senate side is much, much harder -- but in the case of the Sen. Judiciary committee, there's the saving grace that several members are former prosecutors. Whitehouse is the best at the process Publius helpfully analyzes here.

I just don't get a post like this one. How is the comment thread supposed to devolve into an abortion argument? This simply will not work.

All kidding aside, ditto on the praise.

I just don't get a post like this one. How is the comment thread supposed to devolve into an abortion argument? This simply will not work.

All kidding aside, ditto on the praise.

i had been singing 'Dumb' for the past 24 hours, but now i get to switch to 'Pennyroyal Tea'. thanks, publius !

It's been years since I took anything any Continuing Legal Education related to trial work, but I remember the first two rules of cross-examination (Mr. Davis' questioning wasn't exactly C-X, but it was somewhere in between that and direct):

(1) Never ask a question unless you know the answer beforehand.

(2) If someone is hedging, ask the question over and over again. If somebody objects on the basis of something being "asked and answered," you get to read back the testimony to show how it wasn't.

I haven't seen the video, but I assume that the aimlessness of most of the other committee members was due to their not being prepared, which generally comes from actually reading the material that's been subpoenaed beforehand.

This is why I love me my Publius. I learn stuff.

von -- apparently Davis was tipped off by Goodling's lawyer that she had felt "uncomfortable" during a conversation with Gonzales. (via Carpetbagger Report)

Interesting.

Hmmm.

So, just how did Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.) know to ask all those probing, dramatic questions about the mid-March meeting between Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and Monica Goodling?

Her lawyer told him to ask, that's how.

Jinx.

von -- apparently Davis was tipped off by Goodling's lawyer that she had felt "uncomfortable" during a conversation with Gonzales. (via Carpetbagger Report)

That's absolutely fascinating, and confirms my impression that Goodling is one of the best witnesses I've seen. Goodling intentionally serves up Gonzales and McNulty, while parrying everything else.

My bet is that the White House has made the calculation that Gonzales won't go, but they can't ask him to step down -- so they're going to deliver the last of the thousand cuts through Goodling, but have Goodling do it without inflicting collateral damage. Goodling was the ultimate smart bomb. I suspect she will have no problem finding donors to her legal defense fund.

Just as Publius was correct to say that the Democrats actually won the War Funding debate, I think history will judge that the WH decisively won this round.

von -- if Gonzales goes, we're all winners.

Second, the preparation of the Democratic committee members was disgraceful. They were woefully unprepared, and apparently unaware of those strange little creatures sometimes called follow-up questions.

I know, it's hard to believe that most Congress critters were lawyers. You'd think that they would have seen Younger's Ten Commandments of Cross Exam (video).

You'd at least think that they'd know enough to call Bush's stuid bluff on the Iraq funding bill.

Excellent comment. The House Judiciary Committee illustrates the difference between the GOP and the Dems.

The GOP stayed on message, ignored damaging admissions, and heaped praise on unpraiseworthy, even illegal behavior. They focused their efforts on a single point: this is a fine young girl and public servant whom Congress is trying to make look like a Texas whore.

The Dems were all over the place, as if Conyers only had the energy and interest to clue in a few of his confidantes into what the committee was there for that day. Most of them were disgracefully unprepared; they wouldn't last a round in debate. Thankfully, two or three yielded time to Davis, but that should not have been necessary.

If they think a landslide victory in 2008 is inevitable, they are fools.

Adding again to the praise. . .not only is the lawyerly angle appreciated, but someone with the time and energy to watch testimony and read transcripts is a great asset to my lazy self.
Thanks.

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