Do you remember the godfather scene where Michael Corleone shows up to visit his just-shot dad to find out the guards have been dismissed and there are hitmen on the way to finish the job? Well it turns out that's almost exactly what went down four years ago when a hospitalized John Ashcroft refused to recertify Bush's illegal wiretapping program. Watch Comey's testimony, as he struggles to describe what happened:
Comey had to get F.B.I director Mueller to instruct his agents to prevent him from being ejected from the hospital room. And after facing down Gonzalez and Andrew Card, Comey didn't think it was safe to visit Card at the whitehouse without bringing a witness. For a written account of his testimony, check Glen Greenwald's analysis here. Basically, everyone knew the program was flagrantly illegal. And when Ashcroft refused to renew it, the White House tried to strong-arm him while nearly incapacitated. It's the Plumbers all over again (except, of course, that Gonzo isn't nearly as striking to watch as G. Gordon Liddy).
Tipplometer: Take two bourbons to salve burning eyeballs.