Saturday, March 10, 2007

Investigation of US Attorneys now turns to White House & Miers

Democrats announced on Friday that they'll directly investigate the role of the White House in the firing of six US Attorneys. The House Judiciary Committee has sent a letter to former White House Counsel, Harriet Miers, requesting her testimony.

Democrats also revealed that the Committee is going to call other top administration figures, including Deputy Counsel William Kelley, current White House Counsel Fred Fielding, and some other as-yet unnamed WH officials. In addition, the Committee is requesting documents related to the firings.

This is a major expansion of the probe. Ask John Dean about what happens when investigations of a corrupt and lawless administration settle upon the White House Counsel.

read the whole post, but especially the part about the letter to new WH counsel Fred Fielding:

"Two of the fired U.S. Attorneys, Mr. Bogden and Mr. Charlton, testified that they were fired for political reasons in order to put others in those position so they could build their resumes, contrary to the claim by Justice Department officials that they were fired for "performance related" reasons. Many of the rationales for the terminations offered by Mr. Moschella at our hearing do not appear to hold up to scrutiny....

Mr. Iglesias and Mr. McKay testified that there were several efforts made to influence their prosecutorial decisions... This testimony raises serious issues concerning possible undue influence and obstruction of justice...

Mr. Cummins testified that he received a call from Michael Elston, Mr. McNulty's Chief of Staff [warning that any 'voluntary testimony' to Congress would be seen as 'a major escalation']... On its face, this testimony raises the possibility that the Department may have sought to obstruct Congress' efforts to ascertain the truth concerning these firings."

The letter goes on to request all documents relating to the firings and to the developing controversy, from both the White House and Justice Department, including emails, materials relating to meetings, communications within the WH and DoJ, and communications with the Attorneys before and after their termination.

Further, it requests copies of documents relating to communications about the subject with Members of Congress, and the names of any Members who were given advance notification of the firings (!). The letter also requests the names of all individuals in the WH who were involved in discussions of the issue. It asks that the documents and information be handed over by March 16.

The similar letter to Gonzales asks that he make available for interviews the following DoJ officials: Paul McNulty, Deputy AG; D. Kyle Sampson, CoS to AG; Michael Elston, CoS to Deputy AG; Michael Battle, Director of Executive Office for US Attorneys; Monica Goodling, Senior Counsel to AG and WH Liaison; and William Mercer, US Attorney for Montana.

Mercer of course is the friend who told the US Attorney from Nevada, Daniel Bogden, that the administration wanted to allow as many Republicans as possible to bolster their resumes in the next two years.

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