Friday, March 30, 2007

Thank God Sampson Remembers Not to Remember

After reading this Dana Milbank story in the WaPo about Kyle Sampson's testimony yesterday, one thing has become clear: members of the Administration have remembered not to remember anything.

"I can't pretend to know or remember every fact that may be of relevance," he warned at the start -- and he wasn't kidding. He used the phrase "I don't remember" a memorable 122 times.

It may have been a tactical effort to limit his risk of perjury, but Sampson displayed the recall of a man who recently fell off a ladder.

"Since the 2004 election, did you speak with the president about replacing U.S. attorneys?" Leahy asked.

"I don't ever remember speaking to the president after the 2004 election," he said. (He later remembered that he had.) "Did you have further communications with the White House regarding the plan to regard and replace several U.S. attorneys?"

"I don't remember specifically."

"I wish you did remember," Leahy finally said. "I would hope that you would search your memory as we go along."

Sampson searched. He came up empty.

After Schumer elicited three consecutive I-don't-remembers, John Cornyn (R-Tex.) objected to the questioning style.

Leahy overruled him. "We're trying to find what in heaven's name he does remember," the chairman said.

Schumer persisted, eventually asking the witness a question about Rove's role. "I don't remember," Sampson said. "I don't remember anything like that. I don't think so. I don't remember. I don't remember."

Sampson is no fool. Remembering anything will set him up to be Scooter Libby'd. This witch hunt will deserve every "I don't remember" that it gets from its witnesses. Worse than the stupidity of the Iran-Contra scandal, I am hopeful that watching Patrick Leahy try to bully witnesses will turn Americans' stomachs enough to turn out this disgusting bunch in 2008.