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Special Report Roundtable - April 13

FOX News Special Report With Brit Hume


DICK DURBIN (D-IL), SENATE JUDICIARY CMTE: I think it's important that we get to the bottom of this. It undermines the confidence of people in our Department of Justice.

CHARLES SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE JUDICIARY CMTE: A good lawyer will tell you that when the story keeps changing and there's no one fact pattern that seems to emerge when you interview a bunch of witnesses that oftentimes people are hiding something, so do we have proof at this point? No.

JON KYL (R-AZ), SENATE JUDICIARY CMTE: But none of that I think goes to any underlying unethical or illegal or overtly political activity. That is still the smoking gun that the Democrats keep looking for, hoping with this fishing expedition they can find.


ANGLE: OK, here's some members of Congress, we'll get to the Imus and Nifong discussion in a moment, but first today, another 2,000 plus e- mails went from the administration to Congress which has asked for those and other e-mails. There's, well, we'll introduce the panel here. Now, some analytical observations from Fred Barnes executive editor of the Weekly Standard; Mort Kondracke, executive editor of Roll Call -- I just met him this afternoon; and syndicated columnist, Charles Krauthammer -- FOX NEWS contributors all.

Now Charles, a couple of references to a fishing expedition there - - the fishing expedition is well underway, all the boats appear to be in the water. Where are we in this saga?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: It's not a fishing expedition it's a whaling expedition, and Chuck Schumer is Captain Ahab and the great white whale here is, as always Karl Rove. Schumer and others are very upset that they weren't able to nab him in the CIA leak case and they want to get him on this.

And it has to do the complicated issue of separate e-mail accounts, some of which are required by law that Rove had and whether he deleted e- mails that were important here.

Now you've an innocent explanation and a sinister explanation. The innocent explanation is the one that Rove's lawyer gave which is that he turned all of this stuff -- all these e-mails, from all the accounts over to Patrick Fitzgerald, the prosecutor in the leak case and he didn't have any complaints, any problems with erasures or deletions.

The sinister explanation that Schumer and others are implying is that Rove might have deleted e-mails that had to do with improper activity regarding the firing of these attorneys and the Department of Justice. The problem is there's no evidence of that and also that Schumer and others have been giving sinister explanations for all of these firings for the last month, have had thousands of documents dumped on their desk and they haven't shown anything.

So if you're offered with the evidence today, and is a innocent or sinister explanation, you have to say that on the basis of what we have today that there's no reason to accept or believe the sinister explanation that the Democrats are offering.

ANGLE: Now Mort, this whole thing with the Hatch Act, which prevents you from using the government resources for purely partisan political purposes, requires people to have two Blackberries and two e-mail accounts and even two telephones.

MORT KONDRACKE, ROLL CALL: Right. And there's only a teeny little minority of the people in the whole executive office...

ANGLE: Twenty-two out of 1,000 political appointees.

KONDRACKE: Right. And as you said, they're required to do it. The question is, were some of these e-mails deleted and were some of those deleted e-mails -- were they -- were the smoking gun there that said, ah- ha, we'll fire a U.S. Attorney "Y," because he is investigating the Republican Congressman "X." They don't know that. They've never had one hint that there's anything -- any such smoking gun to be found. We keep using the Watergate references; this is all Watergate without a burglary.

You remember, in Watergate there was actually -- people were arrested for doing something illegal, in this case everybody's chasing shadows.

FRED BARNES, WEEKLY STANDARD: Yeah, not only Watergate without the burglary, it's without the cover-up. And they turning over all these documents, I mean, deleted e-mails, who cares? Look, I would say contrary to what Senator Schumer -- who's a very smart guy -- what he said, that there -- has some conflicting stories that have led them to believe that there's something there. And truth is that they're operating from a simple premise and that is -- that is -- there is -- there is criminal activity here and we just haven't found it yet and if it doesn't show up in the e- mails we've gotten, it has to be in the other ones because they're just hiding it.

The truth is that this is a bogus investigation, it's a total fishing expedition and I really wonder why the White House keeps turning over these e-mails to them.

I guess they don't mind because they're innocent, but there's no reason to do it. If it is -- if it is a fishing expedition, which it is, that makes it, I think, prima fascia, unethical and I noted -- I noted, Jim, here's one of the things they found, I read from an A.P. Story. "One newly released document is touted by Democrats as evidence that the prosecutors' conservative credentials were important to the Justice Department." No kidding. I hope they were. I'm sure that if it's a Democratic administration the Liberal credentials would be important. Nothing wrong with that.

KRAUTHAMMER: And whenever Schumer comes up dry, to mix another metaphor here, he says, well, we're looking at this because of inconsistencies in the stories. There were dozens of people involved in these decisions, they were complicated decisions over a long period of time, which happened a year, a year and a half ago, two years ago and we're surprised that you actually have inconsistencies in the memories. If you asked a dozen people who had breakfast this morning to give stories, you would get inconsistencies on this. There's nothing unusual on that and there's nothing to indicate impropriety really impropriety at all.

ANGLE: Now Mort, one of the interesting things was that Senator Schumer said a few days ago, it's been so confusing that we no longer have to prove that the official something wrong, they have to prove they didn't do something wrong. Can Gonzales do that when he goes before Congress?

KONDRACKE: I meant, this is a hanging jury, you know, they're looking for somebody to stick their head in the noose and then -- and they'll -- they'll drop the...


KRAUTHAMMER: Right into the boom.

KONDRACKE: It all smells bad.


ANGLE: OK, Mort, you want to go into the deep in of the metaphor pool there?

BARNES: You know, they like it to be Alberta Gonzales. Look, I don't think you don't fire someone just because he's handled a bogus investigation columnisly.

ANGLE: OK, we'll talk about the Imus controversy and what will happen with the prosecutor in the Duke case when the panel returns.



MIKE FRANCESCA, RADIO SHOW HOST: Our parent company is CBS and they -- instead of standing up to the pressure they hid under their desks when the pressure came. When the rain came, they hid under their desks.

AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: We must deal with the fact that "ho" and the word "B" and the nigger word and any of those words are wrong from anybody's lips.

JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW PUSH COALITION: They gone keep on march April 28, they gone keep on marching until we in fack (ph) are sured dignity and equality.


ANGLE: OK, there's a sampling of the opinion today. As you saw the beginning of a bit of backlash over what amount to the -- what may be the professional death penalty, Mort, for Don Imus, though he could obviously go somewhere else at some point. The interesting thing was here is that both Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton said they were not "gloating" but Jesse Jackson's continue to have a march though Imus has been taken of the air and the basketball team is apparently, at least tentatively, accepted his apology.

KONDRACKE: Well, I mean, marching is what Jesse Jackson does. You know, this is, at least in part a power trip by Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and they've got their scalp in this case. They -- we're going to do more metaphors.

ANGLE: Folks, we're banning metaphors from this panel, I don't know how well it's going to hold, but we're going to try.


KONDRACKE: But look, I mean, where are they going to march? Who are they going to march on? CBS has done what it has to do with Imus, I mean, if they want to march someplace they should march in front of the offices of recording studios that play rap, you know, misogynistic rap music. I mean, that's the real cancer here, the real cultural cancer that's affecting the black community.

ANGLE: Well, in fact, Fred, I mean Reverend Jackson said today that rappers didn't start all of this, but they're part of the problem and they ought to be part of the solution.

BARNES: Yeah, well look, Don Imus didn't start it either, for that matter, yet he's out the door and they had a lot to do with pushing him out the door. I agree, look, if they can go after music companies, I mean, look, are they going to picket Chris Rock's house because he's used some of the words that Al Sharpton correctly says should not be part of the public vocabulary? I doubt it I mean, they just don't know what else -- they don't know what else to do. I mean, so they march.

ANGLE: Now you also had today, Charles, Mike Nifong of the famous Duke rape case or the case that alleged a rape, and he is fighting disbarment for -- or a proceeding that could lead to his disbarment. Today they were arguing over the fact that he didn't provide some exculpatory evidence to the defense and so forth, you know, these two cases are different in some respects but they're also similar in some ways.

KONDRACKE: Well, I think what's involved in both cases is racial offenses and in the case of the prosecutor in the Duke case, I think that was a racial felony. He had a incendiary case involving race and sex and class and after a few weeks or days, he knew as everybody looked that the honestly, you'd know that this was a hoax and a fraudulent accusation and yet he continued with an indictment of young men whose lives he was destroying, knowing all this in order that he would win re-election based on the racial resentments of his constituency, some could be justified, but not in this particular case. That's a serious offense.

Imus did a misdemeanor. He plays with the racial stereotypes and the racial taunts, he does it, he says, for amusement and it's not in the same category, but you still don't do it. We've got a long history of racial oppression in the country, where on the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's breaking into (INAUDIBLE) league ball, you don't want to use the modern variations of the taunts and insults that he had suffered.

KONDRACKE: And if the parallel applies, Nifong should get a punishment much more severe than Imus. Imus got fired, Nifong, it seems to me, ought to face at least the possibility of criminal charges, partly because of the treatment that they gave to this...

ANGLE: Well, let me ask you something real quick, we only have 30 seconds. He had a taxi driver who was an alibi witness arrested -- arrested on a two-year old bogus charge and the officers in the car tried to shake him from his testimony.


BARNES: Nifong also knew all along that he couldn't put the accuser on the stand because she had changed her story so many times that any lawyer would have shredded it.

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