Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Send Out The Subpoenas (Part II)

Now we're talking:

The House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales today seeking hundreds of pages of new or uncensored records related to the firings of eight U.S. attorneys last year, officials said.

It is the first subpoena to be issued in connection with the dismissals and escalates the confrontation between Democrats and the Bush administration, which has resisted demands for more documents and for public testimony from White House aides about the dismissals.

"We have been patient in allowing the department to work through its concerns regarding the sensitive nature of some of these materials," Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the judiciary panel's chairman, wrote Gonzales in a letter that accompanied the subpoena. "Unfortunately, the department has not indicated any meaningful willingness to find a way to meet our legitimate needs."


The subpoena demands that Gonzales turn over the material by Monday at 2 p.m., according to a copy released by the committee. It does not require Justice to reproduce copies of documents, totaling nearly 4,000 pages, that were turned over in recent weeks, except in cases where the previous versions were censored.


Even as the House committee ratcheted up the pressure on Gonzales, Senate Democrats took another step today to expand the scope of an ongoing probe beyond the dismissals themselves. Wisconsin's two Democratic senators, Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl, joined others in demanding records and other information about a disputed federal public corruption prosecution in that state, according to a letter to Gonzales.

A federal appeals court in Chicago last week ordered a former Wisconsin state employee released after overturning her conviction in the case, which one judge criticized as based on thin evidence. The case was cited prominently by Republicans during an unsuccessful challenge of Wisconsin's Democratic governor last year.

The original firings of the 7 attorneys will seem like quaint old news by the time the Democratic Congress gets finished investigating just how much the Bush administration corrupted the Department of Justice, learns why the Bush administration outsourced much of its email correspondence to RNC servers to bypass the federal record preservation laws, and finishes looking at all the actions of the various players in this expanding scandal.

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