Elston Letter to Schumer, 6 Mar 2007
Elston's letter contains two incomplete denials, leaving open the option that Elston did intend to communicate it was "inappropriate" for the removed-US Attorneys to testify about firings and the phone calls to the US Attorneys.
Tbe incomplete denials are evidence that Elston intended to corruptly affect a Congressional proceeding. This forms the basis to begin a formal Elston Disbarment Investigation.
It remains to be adjudicated how this objective relates to allegations of war crimes, or other information related to violations of the Geneva Conventions.
Ref Schumer and Senate Judiciary Respond to Elston: [paraphrasing w/subpoena], "Get your rear end in here to explain this non-sense in your stupid, whiny non-denial denial-letter."
Let's start with some basics:
A. The letter is on official letter head
B. The type-font is kerned, indicating that this was something sent through staff,
C. Introduction is background material a witness would provide to Congress.
Notice all the information going back to 1999 is irrelevant: Despite that experience, Elston would have us believe that there's a good reason for his call. No, it's more likely the opposite: He knows he's got a problem.
Translation It doesn't matter what he did in Illinois or Missouri: The US Attorney's office knows better than to meddle in ongoing investigations in other districts. Elston, your background is irrelevant.
GOP has received word through NSA sources that Schumer was about to call Elston to explain himself. The letter was intended to be released and available to the open public for consumption.
___ Why was Elston, if he was doing nothing wrong, "worried" about the hearing enough to send letter only to the Chairman, and not personally offer to meet face to face with the Committee under oath?
___ If Elston thought something was "important" what prompted him to believe this?
___ Who inside the GOP wrote this letter?
___ When did the GOP Staff counsel discuss these issues with the White House and DoJ?
___ Did Elston get this letter before or after he wrote he own version?
___ Which outside counsel-lobbyist provided the e-mail with this information?
Phone Calls With Cummins
Fatal to Elston's statement is the feigned uncertainty over the number of phone calls. This something important.
When DoJ officials make calls, they have a phone log. The calls are tracked.
Elston, if he was hoping to clear up anything for Senator Schumer, should be specific with the calls he made; the times/dates; and provide the details of the phone logs.
There is no doubt how many calls Elston made: It is a finite number. Elston, in saying that he number was "three or four" shows that he's relying on memory, not on what Schumer should reasonably expect: Precision after having reviewed the record.
What Cummins says about Elston is irrelevant. This is Elston's letter. Cummins comments, in the record, speak for themselves; this letters summary of those comments are meaningless.
Cummins left the impression that Elston was doing something inappropriate, bordering on tampering with an official Congressional investigation. What Cummins or Elston intended to say, vs. what the reasonable conclusion is different.
Whether Cummins did or did not ask for inputs from Elston is meaningless: Elston is talking about conversations, not the original doubts about his competence as an Attorney.
Note Elston is precise with "two prior occasions" but vague with "Three or four".
Regardless what Elston says of the Cummins-Elston phone calls is meaningless. They're supposedly taking about what did or didn't happen; but this isn't under oath, and even if convoluted, means nothing about the US Attorney phone calls underlying intent, theme, and tone.
This letter is a smokescreen to adjust impressions of someone else's testimony. If this letter is valid, it should be introduced into evidence under oath, not in this format.
What Elston says in this letter is less credible that the opposite conclusions one might walk away with after hearing the testimony.
These assertions by Elston are for him to prove; whether he was concerned or not remains for him to convince others.
For purposes of the analysis, we assume all Elston's statements are false, with the intent to leave false impressions, and that the truth is something else. It is more likely that Elston has no interest in any issue; if he did, he would have immediately sent a letter to Schumer when this hearing was planned, and agreed to fully cooperate.
Elston appears to have adjusting his statements, impressions, and assertions based on information Schumer appears to have, not on what Schumer knows, but has not disclosed. That’s right: There's more to this.
Notice the concluding sentence: Elston is changing the focus form the original phone calls, to the resignations. This is an error. They didn't resign, but were forced out.
Denial of Wrong Characterization
Elston's last sentence denies something that is meaningless, but as worded is true: "I had no intention of communicating anything to him about what he or the other former US Attorneys should say or not say about their resignations."
The last sentence should read: "What he or the other former U.S. attorneys should say or not say about the inappropriate phone calls and their termination."
Denying having said something that is a mischaracterization of the problem is meaningless, and an incomplete denial.
This letter doesn't do anything but raise questions: Why would Elston write a letter denying something that, as written, is incomplete? It's a false denial.
We judge all statements in the Elston letter to be designed to mislead, not help, leave false impressions, avoid issues, and pretend reality is something else.
1. Elston is not writing voluntarily.
2. Elston has other reasons for writing, including mitigating a chance this US Attorney issue is going to expand.
3. The introductory statements about Elston's background have been coordinated with the GOP for purposes of litigating an important issue. DoJ Staff counsel connected with the White House have coordinated on a media strategy to explain the US Attorney firings, but the failure of the President to let DOJ OPR review these issues.
4. Elston's assertion that he thinks Senator Schumer should hear form him personally are not credible. If true, Elston would have voluntarily appeared at the hearing, willing to testify.
5. This note is not Elston's impression.
6. Senator Schumer does not need to hear details about Elston's background: This was known to Schumer through the Senate confirmation process. Nothing in the narrative helps to couch anything in Elston's letter, either by experience, relevant assignment, or anything.
7. Elston's communications with Cummins are of concern. Elston doesn't mention the indirect phone calls Elston and Cummins jointly shared with on the DOJ Conference call line. "Phone conversation" is not the same as "Elston calling Cummins." Elston is not talking about the phone calls DoJ AG makes; or in the same telecoms Elston and Cummins shared while they may have not been in direct communications.
8. Saying, "As far as I can recall" is meaningless. This is playing stupid. Even if he had spoken with Cummins on the job, this does not help us. Elston asserts a fact that, as crafted, is meaningless: "As far as I can recall, I did not have nay conversation with him on any subject while he as employed by the Department." Regardless whether this is true or false, Elston fails to explain the importance of this assertion.
9. Saying "All of them" met some standard is not credible. It was no appropriate for Elston to have done what he did. Asserting they were or were not professional does not mean anything.
10. "Shocked and baffled": How did Elston get Cummins e-mail?
11. Mid-February: why does Elston feel the need to not specify the date for the conversation?
12. Another meaningless denial -- "Had no intention" to leave that impression with Cummins: This is meaningless. The issue is what intention Elston had to communicate from Elston's perspective. "Leaving him with an impression" is different than saying, "I intended to communicate". Elston could have intended to communicate a crime, but hoped that Cummins would not be able to understand or articulate that recklessness.
13. "I do not understand how. . ." is meaningless.
14 ". . . could be construed as a threat" -- that is an assessment up to the Senate and public. Elston can be confused all day long, and that is not a defense. His experience should give him a clue.
15. "as a threat of any kind" . . .meaningless drivel.
16. "Certainly had not intention of leaving him with that impression. . .": Elston isn't denying having communicated; he's only sorry he's gotten caught; and that he wasn't able to intimidate Cummins to be silent.
17. "At no time did I try to suggest. . ." NO: He was indirect
18. "Should or should not say about their resignations" -- no, this is a denial of the wrong thing. The issue isn't resignations, but their firings and the original phone calls. Conclusion: Cummins was suggesting what the US Attorney should say about the phone calls and firings.
19. "Important and fair to note" -- Elston is picking and choosing; and this is not a fair comment. What Cummins may or may not have said is outside Elston's power to influence.
20. Whether Cummins and Elston did or didn't talk about the topics listed is irrelevant: They fail to address the issue of the firings, and the original phone calls. Whether Cummins called Elston and asked for something is unrelated to the issue of the original phone calls and termination issues.
21. Who did Elston speak to before responding to Elston testimony?
22. What issues did Elston have with the agreement to appear?
23. Is what Elston says of the conversation consistent with how Cummins recalls?
24. Which issues, outside the Elston letter, did Cummins raise; what were Elston's stated reasons for not mentioning these other issues in the letter to Schumer?
25. When did Elston call Cummins; when Elston says that Cummins "called him", is this another way of saying Cummins was returning a desperate call from Elston?
26. Why would Cummins ask Elston for advice on whether to respond, when Cummins indicated his interest in responding, regardless what DoJ said?
27. If the Department had "no position" On whether he should testify, why was Elston watching the Cummins testimony with interest, concern, and worry?
28. Why should anyone believe Elston's retelling of the conversations?
29. Elston leaves the impression that Cummins wasn't sure whether he should testify; yet, Elston also says Cummins called to ask about testifying. Why wasn't the issue of subpoenas raised?
30. When the DOJ Staff learned that there were going to be hearings, what prompted the US Attorneys to agree to testify, but only if there was a subpoena?
31. What was Elston's position on testifying before the issue of subpoenas surfaced?
32. How did Elston's view of the planned appearance change after subpoenas were raised?
33. Why is Elston leaving the impression that the prospective witness could have discretion on a matter; but the issue of subpoenas made that discretion irrelevant?
34. Was it Elston's position that the decision to testify or not testify was up to Cummins?
35. Why should we believe that Cummins would "ask" something that he had already decided: To voluntarily testify and cooperate with subpoenas?
If Elston truly respects the role of Congress, why didn't he freely appear?
We judge this letter is designed to leave false denials, and that the intent of Elston was to ignore the problem of subpoenas; and he had the intention to communicate to all the US Attorneys that they should not testify about their firings and the phone calls.
Elston has no apologized for making a threat. He has no shown contrition.
Elston's letter is a legal defense, not consistent with his actions, and fails to credibly show concern for the rights of others.
Elston's failure to appear at the hearing speaks volumes.
Elston's assertion that things were professional are meaningless.
Elston is shocked that his effort to intimidate did not work.
Elston is playing stupid.
Elston intended to communicate a threat, to affect an ongoing Congressional inquiry, and this letter serves as evidence of that ongoing intent.
Elston has denied making statements that are not fair representations of what Elston was doing; these are incomplete denials. We accept as true the original assertion which Elston has not completely denied.
Elston did suggest directly and indirectly that there would be adverse consequences if anyone testified to Congress by firings and phone calls.
The personnel transfer issues were incorrectly referred to as resignations when Elston knew they were deliberate efforts to retaliate for failure to coordinate with illegal efforts to use the judicial process to attempt to influence an election.
Elston is worried that the pre Sept 2006 election events will shed light on what did or didn't happen in the 2004 Presidential election.
What Elston says about Cummins is worthless. Pointing out what Cummins did or didn't say is meaningless: Elston did not say that he denied threats about testimony related to illegal activity.
Elston does not respect Senator Schumer. Elston may not have expressly communicated the intent to withhold information from Congress, but the goal of Elston was to dissuade others from doing what they had the right to do.
Saying "Never suggested to anyone that it would be appropriate" to do or not so something is not the same has having said the opposite: That it was "inappropriate" to provide full information.