Transcript: Governor Don Siegelman, 17 June 2008

Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman returned to talk about his case.

Thom Hartmann interviews Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, 17 June 2008

[Thom Hartmann]: So our last greatest hope for bringing down the Bush regime, in my humble opinion, is exposing the crimes of Karl Rove and his buddies, and the best, again in my opinion, the best wedge, the best way to crack into this thing, to pry this thing open is to expose the prosecution, the politically motivated prosecution, of former Alabama governor Don Siegelman, the political prisoner of the Republican right wing. His web site or I encourage you to get over to that web site and help him out, his legal defense fund and what not. Don Siegelman is with us, governor, welcome to the program.

[Don Siegelman]: Oh, thanks, I'm glad to be with you, Thom. Thank you so much, and I wanted to comment on your introduction because, you know, I do believe that eventually all roads lead to Rove but this one, the one that starts with the Siegelman case, is the shortest route. And that is because we have a Republican lawyer who has placed Karl Rove at the scene of the crime.

[Thom Hartmann]: Right.

[Don Siegelman]: A Republican lawyer who has you said that she was on a telephone conversation with Rove's friend and political associate and business friend Bill Canary whose wife prosecuted me during this last campaign.

[Thom Hartmann]: And he was also the campaign manager of your opponent.

[Don Siegelman]: Right, he was also, that's right. The prosecutor's husband was serving as the campaign manager for my Republican opponent, who was recruited to run by Karl Rove, by the way.

[Thom Hartmann]: Right.

[Don Siegelman]: Recruited out of Congress to run against me. But it was settled in a telephone conversation by the prosecutor's husband that he would talk to Karl and Karl had gotten, talked to the Department of Justice and they were going to nail me. So this is the easiest way for Congress to put all of this together. The interesting thing is that now Rove is claiming executive privilege, which means that, it can't mean but one thing, and that is that he talked to the president about this.

[Thom Hartmann]: Right, this is...

[Don Siegelman]: If he's claiming executive privilege, he has talked to the president. Otherwise you can't claim executive privilege.

[Thom Hartmann]: Right. Just in the last couple months we've discovered, for example, that at the highest levels in Washington DC the decision to torture prisoners was made and specifics were discussed and that George Bush was informed about those things so I suppose they could claim executive privilege on that basis. But Rove's claim, has he actually used that phrase, 'executive privilege'? Has he actually invoked that?

[Don Siegelman]: Yes, yes...

[Thom Hartmann]: OK. So that's that's essentially an admission that George W. Bush is personally involved in political prosecutions, is it not?

[Don Siegelman]: It's either that or it's Rove way of trying to wiggle his way out of testifying before Congress. But, you know, we have got to enlist the help of your listeners to write and call and email their members of Congress and particularly the House Judiciary Committee because they're the ones who are pushing this thing the hardest, but to encourage them. They owe it to the American people to keep digging and fighting for the truth until the truth comes out. We have got to restore justice and we've got to preserve our democracy and we cannot let these, you know, these Rove-led operatives, whoever they may be, get away with this kind of stuff.

[Thom Hartmann]: Right.

[Don Siegelman]: And this is not about me or my case, as angry as I am about what they've done to my family and me, but this is about America, and our only hope and our best hope is with Congress.

[Thom Hartmann]: Yeah, absolutely, and in fact I encourage people to go, we set aside a page on our web site, will get you there, where we list all the toll free numbers that we've been able to find that redirect to the congressional switchboard. You can call any of those toll free numbers that you can find over at, and the regular number's there as well, and you will get the operator, the switchboard in Washington DC and if you're not sure who is your member of the House of Representatives, or you're not sure of the names of both your senators, and there's no shame in that, I mean, it would be good idea if you found out but, you know, some people are just getting back into politics after many years. Simply give them your zip code and they'll tell you, and then say would you please connect me with that person. And in particular members of the House of Representatives or you can ask for Congressman Conyers' office, he's the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, a number of other very good people involved with this thing. But any of the members of the House Judiciary Committee. But please be sure to call your member of the House of Representatives as well, to our listeners. And, go ahead.

[Don Siegelman]: Thom, I wanted to, there are a couple of questions that people immediately ask. They ask, 'why would Karl Rove be interested in Alabama?' Well, Karl Rove came from Texas to Alabama after he was basically fired from the Bush campaign in '92. And he was recruited over here by his friend and long time political associate Bill Canary. Bill Canary was a special assistant to President Bush, George W's father. He was the Chief of Staff of the Republican National Committee. He was the field director for the Bush / Quayle campaign. He was Andrew Card's deputy. He was somebody that the national Republican chairman said that was a political paratrooper whom you could drop in wherever you needed something fixed. He was said as someone who doesn't tolerate Democrats at any level. It was his wife, Bill Canary's wife, who prosecuted me.

[Thom Hartmann]: So why is John Conyers not subpoenaing Bill Canary?

[Don Siegelman]: Well, that's a very good question. Canary, just like Gravano was led to Gotti and John Dean led to Nixon, Bill Canary can lead to Karl Rove and Bill Canary cannot claim executive privilege.

[Thom Hartmann]: Right, exactly. So, you know, I don't get why John Conyers is not subpoenaing him. Is this something that we need to encourage him to do, or...?

[Don Siegelman]: I think we do need to encourage them to do this. While we're waiting on Rove to do something or the court to do something about Rove, there are people in Alabama like Bill Canary. Bill Canary's not just an Alabama yokel. This guy, he is a high level political operative of the Republican Party with better Republican credentials than just about anybody that I know. He happens to live Alabama because he married a girl from Alabama. Now, keep in mind, Karl Rove also married someone from Alabama and his house is on the Gulf Coast. Karl Rove has a connection to Alabama, that's why he was here, that's why he saw when I started defeating the toughest Republican candidates, that they needed to get rid of me.

[Thom Hartmann]: Right.

[Don Siegelman]: But again, this is not about Don Siegelman. This is about holding those people responsible who have perverted our Department of Justice and subverted our our constitution.

[Thom Hartmann]: Right, so again let us and encourage our listeners, all three million of you out there, if you are listening right now, two things to do: one, call Congress, call John Conyers' office and suggest that the Don Siegelman case be a top priority and that perhaps Bill Canary should be brought before Congress under oath, under subpoena. And, you can get the phone numbers.

And number two, go to donsiegelman, and I know you're not going to plug this but I will, go to or either one will get you there... and help out. Help out this effort, because this is not, you know, Don Siegelman is not, again, speaking on behalf of you but you can at least you agree or disagree with the factualness of this statement, you're not one of these multimillionaire Republican fat cat type, you can fund your own thing out of your own back pocket, guys.

[Don Siegelman]: No I'm not. I appreciate your help and I would appreciate your listeners' help. But again, we're surviving, we're doing good, we're fighting back and again, the most important thing is that we found out who hijacked the Department of Justice and hold those people accountable.

[Thom Hartmann]: Yeah, in fact, one of the folks in our chat room mentioned that the prosecutor in California who went after Duke Cunningham had previously gone after a number of Democrats, one of them had died from the stress, you know, freaked out, and they're now looking into those and seeing whether they were political prosecutions. I mean, this, I don't think that this is confined to Alabama and Bill Canary's wife Leura.

[Don Siegelman]: No, it is not and again the only reason why, and as you noted at the beginning of the show, that the reason why you're having me on is because this is the shortest route to Karl Rove.

[Thom Hartmann]: Yeah.

[Don Siegelman]: If there was an easier way to go I would be out there promoting that route but it just so happens that his fingerprints are all over this case. It's also interesting to note that when John Conyers wrote to Robert Luskin yesterday, Rove's lawyer, he said that the "proposal to separate the settlement case from the firings of the US attorneys is unacceptable". That means that Rove, they've been trying to separate this case from the US attorneys case. I'm not sure quite why, but it just adds to the intrigue, that we've got to get Rove before that committee under oath.

[Thom Hartmann]: Right, and again, like with all good criminal prosecutions, in particular the mob prosecutions, start at the bottom and work your way up. Let's get Bill Canary before Congress as well. Excellent. Governor Don Siegelman,,, check it out, help out. Governor, thank you so much for being with us today.

[Don Siegelman]: Thom, thank you.

[Thom Hartmann]: Great talking with you.

Transcribed by Sue Nethercott.

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