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MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript

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<BR>MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript

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SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Karl Rove is at it again, twisting the facts to suit himself. Even after Turd Blossom‘s testimony and thousands of pages of e-mails showed that he played a big role in the firing of the U.S. attorneys back in 2006, he is still hoping he can weasel his way out of this situation. In a “Wall Street Journal” op-ed, Rove claims the evidence showed that he had little to do with the firings and he actually thinks he deserves an apology from the “New York Times,” the “Washington Post” and the House Judiciary Committee.

Chairman John Conyers says that he was responsible. All right. Now, let me bring in Congressman Adam Schiff of California. The Congressman sits on the House judiciary Committee, and led the questioning of Karl Rove earlier this summer. Well, Congressman, good to have you on. Are you ready to apologize to Karl Rove?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: It‘s great to be with you, Ed. And I think rove does deserve something, but an apology is not what I have in mind. Maybe a kick in the pants instead.

SCHULTZ: What do you make of this strategy of his? It just struck me that he‘s always been a political operative who always attacks where he‘s weak. What do you think?

SCHIFF: Absolutely. The op-ed that he wrote had a real kind of “Alice in Wonderland” quality about it. Up is down, right is left. Or in the Rove case, wrong is right. He seems to try to make a virtue out of the fact that years before he would acknowledge this, he was actively trying to get rid of certain U.S. attorneys, like David Iglesias, who was rated as a star performer by the justice department.

And why? Well, as his testimony and the documents reveal, because Iglesias wouldn‘t bring partisan oriented prosecutions right before the election, designed to influence the election, among other things. He calls Harriet Miers in an agitated state from New Mexico, after meeting with Republican operatives there, and basically says he wants Iglesias gone.

In fact, they make the decision in the White House, years before it becomes public, that he is toast. And, in fact, he ends up getting the boot.

SCHULTZ: So is Karl Rove lying when he says he had a minimal role? Because this is what he wrote in the “Wall Street Journal,” “judging from the evidence released, it uncovered facts that show my role in the U.S. attorneys issue was minimal and entirely proper. No fair-minded person can review the thousands of pages of documents and testimony and conclude that I drove the process.” Is he lying?

SCHIFF: Unfortunately, he is. This is I think a great illustration of fantasy land. Unless you consider minimal involvement being basically spreading the word this guy needs to be gone; he‘s not doing a partisan job on the Democratic candidate for Congress in New Mexico in this contested election; he‘s not bringing spurious voter fraud cases to help our candidate, our Republican incumbent. If you think those are legitimate basis to push a U.S. attorney out, then I guess everything he did was just hunky dory.

But if you consider what he did, as I do and many others, the worst politicization of the Justice Department in a generation, then I think you reach a very different conclusion.

SCHULTZ: And, Congressman, there‘s one other story that‘s floating big time tonight, and that is former Homeland Secretary Tom Ridge is saying that he was pressured by the Bush administration to raise the terror level threat after that Osama bin Laden tape came out a few days before the ‘04 election. How does that news strike you tonight?

SCHIFF: Well, it‘s deeply disappointing, but not that surprising when you consider the track record of the administration, not only the politicization of the Justice Department --

SCHULTZ: But is he just trying to sell a book, or do you think this is pretty serious?

SCHIFF: I think it‘s very serious. And again, it‘s part of the pattern. You remember, he had—there were people in the Education Department paying consultants to write puff pieces. There were doctored press conferences with the Department of Health and Human Services. So you have a whole history of politicizing each and every department and agency in the Bush administration. This being just one of the newest allegations and one of the most egregious, in my view.

SCHULTZ: Congressman, thanks for your time tonight. Appreciate it very much on THE ED SHOW.

SCHIFF: Thank you.

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