Sunday, March 11, 2007

White House Admits Rove Was Involved In Prosecutor Purge

From McClatchy:

WASHINGTON - The White House acknowledged on Sunday that presidential adviser Karl Rove served as a conduit for complaints about federal prosecutors as House investigators declared their intention to question him about any role he may have played in the firing of eight U.S. attorneys.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Rove relayed complaints from Republican officials and others to the Justice Department and the White House counsel's office. She said Rove, the chief White House political operative, specifically recalled passing along complaints about former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias and may have mentioned the grumblings about Iglesias to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Iglesias says he lost his job as the top federal prosecutor in New Mexico after rebuffing Republican pressure to speed his investigation of Democratic officials in the state.

Rove said he did not suggest that any of the U.S. attorneys be forced to resign, Perino said.

The new details about Rove's involvement in the firings emerged as the top Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee declared their interest in talking to him. The committee is trying to determine whether the firings were part of an effort to exert political influence over federal prosecutions.

Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., and Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., confirmed their plans after McClatchy Newspapers reported that New Mexico's Republican Party chairman, Allen Weh, had complained to Rove and one of Rove's deputies about Iglesias. Iglesias was fired Dec. 7.

"Mr. Conyers and Ms. Sanchez intend to talk with Karl Rove about any role he may have had in the firing of the U.S. attorneys," said Sanchez spokesman James Dau.

"From what we've been hearing for weeks it seems he might have relevant information," he said. "He's clearly one of the White House officials we've been intending to question. The revelations from Mr. Weh certainly give us something else relevant and salient to talk about."

This scandal is breaking faster and faster. Can't wait to see Rove up there testifying under oath before the House Judiciary Committee.

This scandal is breaking faster and faster. Can't wait to see Rove up there testifying under oath before the House Judiciary Committee.

This one just keeps going from bad to worse--like some kind of seedy novel. It's delicious.
A good analogy, kvatch. Especially now that Rove's grubby fingerprints are all over it.
One of President Clinton’s very first official acts upon taking office in 1993 was to fire every United States attorney then serving — except one, Michael Chertoff

You guys are so led around by the media you have forgoten to look for the truth
As an incoming president, Clinton had the right to do that. As a matter of fact, George W. Bush also had the right to clean house of U.S. attorneys when he arrived in 2001. He also has the right to replace U.S. attorneys as he sees fit.

Here's where the funkiness and/or illegal activity comes in: if political pressure was placed on prosecutors to only indict Dems and/or to pull out indictments on Dems at politically expedient times, that's a problem. If political pressure was placed on prosecutors to NOT indict Repubs, that's a problem. Finally, using the federal justice system to punish enemies and reward friends is problematic. The Justice Dept. is supposed to be independent, not another political entity for the WH and the RNC.
So you don’t think that Clinton had all the U.S. Attorneys terminated and his own installed to escape a Whitewater investigation?

Can you substantiate any of the pressures that you talk of?
Can I substantiate any of the political pressure? Have you followed the story at all? A senator (Domenici) and a congresswoman (Wilson) called up one prosecutor (Iglesias) to pressure him to indict a New Mexico Democrat before last year's midterms. If I remember correctly, Domenici called more than once. A prosecutor in Washington (McKay) is fired because he doesn't open up an investigation into alleged voter fraud in the governor's race even though he says there was not enough evidence to open an investigation. A prosecutor in San Diego (Lam) is fired because she nails Randy Cunningham on corruption charges and was looking into other alleged Republican crooks like Rep Jerry lewis and the Bush administration Defense Contract scandals.

And that's just three of the eight prosecutors fired. Even Republicans like Arlen Specter are outraged by the administration's conduct in this matter.

As for Clinton and Whitewater, don't put words in my mouth. I said it was in Clinton's right to replace the U.S. attorneys when he first became president just as it was in Bush's right to replace them when he became president. They can also replace them during their terms. What they cannot do is use the attorneys to nail political enemies or put political pressure on the attorneys NOT to nail their political friends who are involved in wrongdoing.

The other change between Clinton and Bush, of course, is that the Patriot Act allowed Bush to replace prosecutors without having to go to the Senate for confirmation. Thus Karl Rove's assistant was going to replace Cumins in Arkansas (until they pulled that back last week and decided that was too overtly political.)
If you want more evidence of the political pressure the administration (including the preznut) placed on prosecutors, see the following front page articles in today's Times and Post:
Sorry, I didn’t mean to put words in your mouth, I just don’t recall any president prior to Clinton dismissing ALL (but one) United States attorneys, and it seems a great deal more suspect to me than the termination of 8 incompetent ones.
Here's the problem with thinking that all the attorneys fired were let go because of incompetence - they weren't.

Of the 8, 5 had received exemplary ratings. I mean exemplary. Plus they were favorites of the GOP establishment until right around the 2004 and 2006 elections when they wouldn't take actions that would help the GOP. In John McKay's case in Washington, that's when he refused to open a case into voter fraud in the 2004 governor's race that he thought was non-existent (his quote was something like: "Why should I bring innocent people into a Grand Jury for a crime that never happened?") In David Iglesias' case, that's when he refused to pull the trigger on an indictment of a Dem before the '06 midterm.

The other 3 may have received less than exemplary ratings BECAUSE they weren't doing as the admin wanted on a number of issues that shouldn't have been politicized. Take Lam of San Diego - there is some evidence to show that she was given poor ratings because she was going after Duke Cunningham (R-CA), Dusty Foggo (#3 guy at the CIA), Jerry Lewis (R-CA) and other GOPers.

Frankly, the incompetence thing is just a dodge. NOBODY gets fired from this administration for incompetence. NOBODY - not at least until they absolutely have to (i.e., like Michael Brown.) For them to say they were firing these 8 attorneys because they were incompetent is bunk.
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