Friday, April 13, 2007


...or perjury? You decide:

WASHINGTON, April 13 — A Justice Department e-mail released today shows that the former chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales proposed replacement candidates for seven United States attorneys nearly a year before those prosecutors were fired, in contrast to testimony last month in which the aide said that no successors were considered before the firings.

The e-mail written by D. Kyle Sampson, who resigned last month as the top aide to Mr. Gonzales, provides the first evidence that the Justice Department wanted to appoint its own candidates, despite the insistence of Justice Department officials in recent weeks that the eight prosecutors, with one exception, were removed in December 2006 for performance reasons, without regard to who might succeed them.


“Please treat this as confidential,” Mr. Sampson wrote, in a numbered summary of the seven prosecutors to be fired along with their possible replacements. The copy of the e-mail turned over to Congress was edited so that the identities of three of the prosecutors and their potential successors cannot be determined.

“If a decision is made to remove and replace a limited number of U.S. Attorneys, then the following might be considered for removal and possible replacement,” Mr. Sampson’s e-mail said.

But Mr. Sampson testified under oath on March 29 at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee that he had no candidates in mind to replace any of the fired prosecutors.

At one point in the hearing, Charles E. Schumer, a Democratic Senator from New York, asked Mr. Sampson, “Did you or did you not have in mind specific replacements for the dismissed U.S. Attorneys before they were asked to resign on December 7th, 2006.”

Mr. Sampson, who was testifying under oath, replied, “I personally did not. On December 7th, I did not have in mind any replacements for any of the seven who were asked to resign.”

An attorney for Kyle Sampson claimed in a rather lawerly response that there was no contradiction between the newly released Sampson email and Sampson's testimony before the Senate:

"Kyle’s testimony regarding the consideration of replacements was entirely accurate. In December 2006, when the seven U.S. Attorneys were asked to step down, no specific candidate had been selected to replace any of them, and Kyle had none in mind. Some names had been tentatively suggested for discussion much earlier in the process, but by the time the decision to ask for the resignations was made none had been chosen to serve as a replacement.”

The Times notes that the disclosure that Gonzales' deputy had considered replacements for the purged U.S. attorneys a year before he said they were considered is sure to be a focus of Gonzales's Tuesday testimony before Congress.

I bet.

UPDATE: Joe at AMERICAblog thinks perjury.

My weasel-to-English translator may not be working properly, but from what I understand the lawyer to have said, it could only have been purjury if the job had been formally offered (and perhaps acepted) by the replacements before the US attorneys were fired.

Help! I've fallen down a rabbit hole, and there's a rabbit with a pocket watch, and a man who makes hats, and a doormouse, and...
That's laugh out loud funny, kicksiron - where can I get a "weasel-to-English translator?

BTW, your translation of the lawyer's words seems about right to me.
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