Addington Is A Very Good Lawyer, Bad Explainer
Nadler asks Addington: did you help draft in the infamous August 1, 2002 Bybee/Yoo memo?
“No… Didn’t have nothing to do with it, but you asked if I had a hand in drafting it.” So what was your role with the memo, sir? “Assuming you and I are talking about the same opinion, my recollection is Mr. Yoo coming over to see the president, and saying ‘here are the subjects I’m gonna address’ [in the memo] and we say good, and he goes off and drafts the memo…” He says all he actually advocated was the basic decision for Yoo to write an assessment of these topics. (You know, torture and the law.)
Addington, naturally, is being legalistic and careful. Can president violate statutes during wartime? “As a general proposition, no, … but facts matter for a lawyer.” Which facts would justify the president violating such a statute? Addington says he won’t answer. He’s combative, and good. Could self-defense be such a case? “I haven’t expressed an opinion… I haven’t researched the statute.” Says on FISA, “there is a serious constitutional question that Congress might… try to block the president’s power.”