Coming in June
In 32 minutes, the Attorney General of the
would be murdered. United
The Attorney General pulled his 6 foot 4 frame out of his chair, stood up and stretched. He looked around his small paneled office and sighed. Tomorrow he was scheduled to appear again before the Senate subcommittee that was investigating alleged money laundering on the part of the President’s election campaign. He could feel the noose tightening.
For the umpteenth time, he thumbed through the thick briefing book his staff had prepared for the hearing and shook his head. When is this going to end, he thought.
He slammed the binder shut and told Louise Barry, his longtime secretary, as he walked out of his office. “I’m calling it a night.”
“I’ll phone the FBI detail to let them know you’re ready.”
The detail accompanied the Attorney General wherever he went, inside or outside of the building. Even when he was home, they stood guard outside his house.
“Steve, I’m leaving.” He stuck his head into his aide’s office across the hall.
Steve Cunningham was another one of the loyalists who had come to the Justice Department with the Attorney General. He had served as his chief of staff when he was on the Hill and now served in the same capacity at DOJ. “What are you working on?”
“Your Senate subcommittee remarks.”
Attorney General Jim McCarthy could feel his back tensing up. “I thought they were good to go.”
“Just need to polish it a bit more. I’ll drop it off at your house when I finish.”
McCarthy sighed and swept back a lock of his curly graying-red hair that had fallen over his eyes. “Polishing doesn’t matter. It’s what happens after you give your opening statement when they bombard you with questions you weren’t prepped on. That’s the part I wish we could be ready for in advance. I know you guys try to put together possible questions and answers, but they always throw in a few we didn’t think of. If I had my way, it would be a long time before I had to go up there one more time.”
“Don’t worry, “Cunningham smiled. “We’ll have you prepped for any possibility.”
James Peter McCarthy hadn’t shown much interest in politics until school busing became a hot issue in the 1970s. His daughter attended a neighborhood school, but under the district’s proposed plan was going to be bused to attend classes practically on the other side of
McCarthy started attending school board meetings. He was incensed that the members had acquiesced without a fight to the federal government’s order to integrate the school district by busing children. He felt it was wrong to force children to go to schools so far away from their homes in order to integrate classes. The issue gave him the impetus to run for the board, as did a number of like-minded parents.
He was elected by a wide margin and led an effort to fight the Justice Department’s order in court. The school district fought the order all the way to the Supreme Court and lost.
Despite the defeat, his taste for political office and the power that went with it grew. A year later, he ran for city council and won. After four years on the council, he ran for an open congressional seat and when the votes were all counted, McCarthy was headed for
In Congress, McCarthy made a name for himself as a conservative Democrat, who voted a lot of the time with the other side of the aisle. Because of his voting record, McCarthy won the trust of the Republicans and eventually he caught the eye of the President.
McCarthy was a surprise pick for Attorney General.
It was poetic justice when he was nominated to head the department he detested.
“What is the President up to?” the talking heads who populate
television asked. “Did the President owe
McCarthy a favor? Does the
administration have a hidden conservative agenda even though he told the
electorate during the campaign that he was a centrist? Is he scared of McCarthy? Does McCarthy have something on him?” Washington
There were many questions, but the only answer came from the President. “I believe he’s the best person for the job.”
The political junkies in
believed McCarthy was a one-term Attorney General. They also believed the President
felt he needed him to keep the small right-wing faction in the party in his
column for the re-election. The would-be
experts also thought it was a tactic to woo some of the conservatives from the
Republican Party to his side or at least neutralize them. Washington
The President told his inner circle exactly why he nominated Jim McCarthy; he was a lightning rod for the administration. “No matter how bad I might screw up, I always have McCarthy to deflect the criticism.”
While most people in the country couldn’t name any of the other cabinet members, they all seemed to know Jim McCarthy. The most recent opinion polls said that Attorney General McCarthy was the most despised member f the administration.
“You ready, Mr. Attorney General?” FBI agent Carl Vinovsky asked.
McCarthy nodded as he reached for the thick, black briefcase that Louise had filled with papers for his review at home. Never a free moment, he thought.
The two men walked out the door to the fifth floor corridor where their footsteps echoed in the emptiness of the late evening. They walked past the portraits of former Attorneys General and a wall scroll of Justice Department employees who fell during World War II.
A second agent fell in with them as they turned in the direction of the law library’s entrance.
Jim McCarthy hated the constant protection, never being left alone, even in his own agency’s supposedly secure building.
The A.G. and the two FBI agents arrived at the elevator near the entrance to the law library. Agent Mallory McCormick was waiting and held the elevator doors open, then joined the others as it made its way down to the building’s courtyard where the black SUVs would be waiting.
10th & Penn