Mukasey Silent on Torture, Vocal on Spying

AG nominee's testimony a "massive hedge," says Democratic senator
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2007 8:31 PM CDT
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., right, talks with Attorney General-designate Michael Mukasey on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2007, following Mukasey's...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Michael Mukasey remained mum today on whether interrogation methods such as waterboarding constitute torture. But the president’s nominee for attorney general spoke out in favor of the White House’s eavesdropping program, the NY Times reports, frustrating and confusing Democrats on the second day of his confirmation hearings. Mukasey argued the president’s constitutional authority may allow him to supersede congressional law.

Democrats weren’t convinced: Pat Leahy responded, “I see a loophole big enough to drive a truck through,” later wondering if the White House pressured Mukasey into defending its views.  Mukasey denied the charge, and after he repeatedly refused to label waterboarding torture, another senator branded his testimony a “massive hedge.” Despite the rift, Mukasey is expected to win Senate confirmation.