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Four Color Politics

Mainly the Quotes of the Morning, with occasional Other Crap.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: The Mystery of the Fired U.S. Attorneys

“Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Tuesday he relied heavily on his deputy to oversee the firings of U.S. attorneys, appearing to distance himself from his departing second-in-command.
Gonzales' comments came the day after Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty said he would step down by the end of summer, a decision that people familiar with his plans said was hastened by the controversy over last year's firings of nine U.S. attorneys, including Seattle's John McKay.
‘At the end of the day, the recommendations reflected the views of the deputy attorney general. He signed off on the names,’ Gonzales told reporters after a speech about Justice Department steps to curb rising violent crime.”
-Associated Press, May 16, 2007

“Good news everyone! The ‘Mystery of the Fired U.S. Attorneys’ has been solved. Apparently it was Old Man McNulty. And he’d have gotten away with it to if it weren’t for that blasted Congress. Well, the story is over. Please go watch something else now..”

“The Justice Department considered dismissing many more U.S. attorneys than officials have previously acknowledged, with at least 26 prosecutors suggested for termination between February 2005 and December 2006, according to sources familiar with documents withheld from the public.

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales testified last week that the effort was limited to eight U.S. attorneys fired since last June, and other administration officials have said that only a few others were suggested for removal.
In fact, D. Kyle Sampson, then Gonzales's chief of staff, considered more than two dozen U.S. attorneys for termination, according to lists compiled by him and his colleagues, the sources said.
They amounted to more than a quarter of the nation's 93 U.S. attorneys. Thirteen of those known to have been targeted are still in their posts.”
-Washington Post, May 17, 2007

“I said that this story is over. Stop paying attention.”

“The Justice Department on Wednesday told an angry Senate Judiciary Committee chairman it does not have documents described in a subpoena that demands all materials relating to Karl Rove's possible involvement in the U.S. attorney firings.
Instead, it said, Rove's lawyer must have them. Rove is the chief political adviser for President Bush.
The response from a top Justice Department official came just hours after the chairman, Vermont Democrat Sen. Patrick Leahy and the panel's top Republican, Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, chastised Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in a letter for ignoring the subpoena's Tuesday deadline.
‘You ignored the subpoena, did not come forward today, did not produce the documents, and did not even offer an explanation for your noncompliance,’ the two senators wrote in the letter, sent Tuesday night.
‘The committee intends to get to the truth.’
A top Justice Department official responded Wednesday, saying a further Justice Department search yielded only two documents -- internal communications sent to Rove and others about a planned news conference in New Mexico by dismissed U.S. Attorney David Iglesias.
The newly released memo shows that Rove aide Scott Jennings was concerned about allegations Iglesias was politically pressured to resign.
Jennings told Rove and others he doubted ‘they can make an allegation such as this go away so easily.’
In the subpoena, Leahy had demanded all documents in the possession of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who investigated Rove in connection with the disclosure of the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame.
But Assistant Attorney General Richard Hertling, Gonzales' top link to Congress, told Leahy a search was conducted and turned up nothing.”
-CNN, May 17, 2007

“You don’t understand. The Justice Department doesn’t have to supply that information any more. Didn’t you hear? It was Paul McNulty, and he stepped down, so the story is over. Stop looking into this stuff.”

“McNulty does not plan to leave until later this summer, which means he remains in charge of the day-to-day operations of the Department while having one foot out the door and congressional investigations still at full throttle.

Monica Goodling, the former counsel to Gonzales who resigned her post and invoked her Fifth Amendment protections, has accused McNulty of trying to blame her for the inaccurate testimony provided to Congress. Goodling has been granted immunity and is expected to testify before Congress as early as next week; friends say Goodling is eager to tell her side of the story.”
-CBS News, May 16, 2007

“No, no, no.. No more testimony. This case has been solved. McNulty may not be gone yet, but he will be. Honest. Quit investigating!”

“Gonzales appeared to have weathered the storm in recent weeks, insisting with White House support at two congressional hearings that the firings were justified though mishandled.
But he faced a new criticism this week after a former aide testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey said while White House counsel in 2004, Gonzales paid a hospital visit to the seriously ill John Ashcroft, then attorney general, in a failed bid to pressure him to set aside concerns by his own Justice Department and reauthorize Bush's domestic spying program.”
-Reuters, May 18, 2007

“Hey.. Would you cut it out? You’re making Gonzales look bad, and I already told you that this is all McNulty’s fault. You’re making it look like they were trying to take advantage of John Ashcroft while he was wiped out on pain killers in the hospital. I’m telling you, this is all about McNulty. It doesn’t go any higher than him. It doesn’t go to Gonzales, and there is certainly no scandal involving Fearless Leader.”

“Eroding Gonzales' support was the revelation that in 2004 Gonzales, as White House counsel, went to a hospital and pressured then-Attorney General John Ashcroft to certify the legality of Bush's controversial eavesdropping program while Ashcroft lay in intensive care.
Ashcroft had reservations about the program's legality and refused, according to Senate testimony by former Deputy Attorney General James Comey
Asked twice during a news conference Thursday whether he personally ordered Gonzales to Ashcroft's hospital room, Bush refused to answer.”

-Associated Press, May 18, 2007


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