Tuesday, March 13, 2007

SURPRISE! Bush and Gonzales Lied

The Prez and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales were up to their necks in compiling a hit list of US prosecutors to be fired. Until the story broke yesterday that the idea for dismissing US prosecutors originated in the White House, the WH had been saying that Bush’s aides approved the firings only after the hit list was compiled. However, back in February 2005, then-White House counsel Harriet E. Miers made a suggestion that was so stupid it absolutely guaranteed President George W. Bush would want her on the Supreme Court. Which he did. He nominated her for that high position in October 2005. It was Miers who told Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s Chief of Staff D. Kyle Sampson that ALL 93 US prosecutors should be dismissed and replaced immediately and forthwith. That suggestion, of course, was called impractical and was rejected by Gonzales. But it led to the subsequent firing of seven US attorneys on December 7, 2006. One US attorney had been fired earlier with no explanation from the Justice Department. So what was the reason for these firings? Mainly, it was because the US attorneys weren’t heartily and enthusiastically kissing each and every Bush administration ass. But an ostensible reason was that the US attorneys were not prosecuting enough voter fraud cases. Now you may think that sounds right and proper. You may think that the US attorneys should have been getting to the bottom of the fraud that had put George W. Bush in the White House. But it wasn’t Republican voter fraud cases that Harriet Miers, Kyle Sampson and Alberto Gonzales believed needed to be prosecuted. Miers, Sampson and Gonzales were upset that voter fraud in the Democratic Party wasn’t being prosecuted. This morning’s Washington Post says, “Sampson sent an e-mail to Miers in March 2005 that ranked all 93 U.S. attorneys. Strong performers ‘exhibited loyalty’ to the administration; low performers were ‘weak U.S. attorneys who have been ineffectual managers and prosecutors, chafed against Administration initiatives, etc.’ A third group merited no opinion. “At least a dozen prosecutors were on a ‘target list’ to be fired at one time or another, the e-mails show.” The WaPo article went on to say: “In January 2006, Sampson sent to the White House the first list of seven candidates for dismissal, including four who were fired at year's end: Chiara, Cummins, Lam and Ryan. The list also recommended Griffin and other replacements, most of whom were edited from documents viewed by The Post. “In September, Sampson produced another list of firing candidates, telling the White House that Cummins was ‘in the process of being pushed out’ and providing the names of eight others whom ‘we should consider pushing out.’ Five on that list were fired in December; the others were spared. “Iglesias, the New Mexico prosecutor, was not on that list. Justice officials said Sampson added him in October, based in part on complaints from Sen. Pete V. Domenici and other New Mexico Republicans that he was not prosecuting enough voter-fraud cases. “Sampson also strongly urged bypassing Congress in naming replacements, using a little-known power slipped into the renewal of the USA Patriot Act in March 2006 that allows the attorney general to name interim replacements without Senate confirmation.” This morning the New York Times quotes from a Sampson e-mail: “’Prepare to Withstand Political Upheaval,’ he wrote in describing what to expect as a result of the firings. ‘U.S Attorneys desiring to save their jobs aided by their allies in the political arena as well as the Justice Department community, likely will make efforts to preserve themselves in office. You should expect these efforts to be strenuous.’” White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said White House political adviser Karl Rove had an early conversation with Miers about the idea of firing all chief prosecutors and did not think it was wise. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) says if WH advisor Karl Rove does not appear voluntarily to testify re US prosecutor dismissals, Schumer will get a subpoena to force him to appear. Stay tuned re the United States attorney dispute. It will be aired on the Senate floor this week during the debate over rolling back an antiterrorism law provision that allows President Bush to appoint interim United States attorneys indefinitely.

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