Thursday, March 15, 2007

Prosecutor Purge Update

ABC reports stunning news tonight about Karl Rove's role in the prosecutor purge:

New unreleased e-mails (TPMmuckraker has a copy of one of the emails here) from top administration officials show that the idea of firing all 93 U.S. attorneys was raised by White House adviser Karl Rove in early January 2005, indicating Rove was more involved in the plan than the White House previously acknowledged.

According to a senior White House official who has seen the e-mail exchange the Justice Department is preparing to release, "It does not contradict what we have said and it's not inconsistent with what we have said."

The e-mails also show that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales discussed the idea of firing the attorneys en masse weeks before he was confirmed as attorney general.

The e-mails directly contradict White House assertions that the notion originated with recently departed White House counsel Harriet Miers, and was her idea alone.

Two independent sources in a position to know have described the contents of the e-mail exchange, which could be released as early as Friday. They put Rove at the epicenter of the imbroglio and raise questions about Gonzales' explanations of the matter.

The e-mail exchange is dated early January 2005, more than a month before the White House acknowledged it was considering firing all the U.S. attorneys. On its face, the plan is not improper, inappropriate or even unusual: The president has the right to fire U.S. attorneys at any time, and presidents have done so when they took office.

What has made the issue a political firestorm is the White House's insistence that the idea came from Miers and was swiftly rejected.

White House press secretary Tony Snow told reporters Tuesday that Miers had suggested firing all 93, and that it was "her idea only." Snow said Miers' idea was quickly rejected by the Department of Justice.

The latest e-mails show that Gonzales and Rove were both involved in the discussion, and neither rejected it out of hand.

Earlier today, Karl Rove defended the prosecutor purge.

Rove should finally come clean on just what he knew about the purge and when he first knew it. And the same goes for officials in both the DOJ and the White House.

These stories from the administration just keep shifting and every time new emails or information gets released, previous White House and DOJ statements are rendered inoperative.

POSTSCRIPT: Talking Points Memo links to this USA Today story that says Senator Gordon Smith has become the second Republican to call for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' resignation, joining Senator John Sununu.

I just love, Love, LOVE this scandal! It's going, to quote our President, "nukuler"! And all because they keep digging themselves a deeper hole.

The plain fact is that Bush is right. It is within his purview to fire all 93 prosecutors if he wants. Has it ever been done before, except as a prelude to a new administration, no. But Bu$hCo has so thoroughly bungled the response, that nobody cares at this point.
But why are they so screwing up the response? Is it simple incompetence or are they really hiding something?

Don'tcha kind of get the feeling their hiding something really really bad with this? Otherwise, why so bungled?
Maybe it'll be revealed that the rumor--the whole was concocted as a pretext to getting rid of Fitzgerald and quash the leak investigation--will turn out to be true. Then the cover-up issue might get linked into the leak investigation, and perhaps that's were the damanging revelation really is.

Could it be the failure to investigate the leak on the part of the WH?
But then why didn't they quash the CIA leak investigation? No, I think that was one that got away from them. And remember, that goes back to Ashcroft (pre-Gonzo) and Fitz answered to James Comey, deputy A.G. that people in both parties say is on the up and up.
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