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Fact Sheet on the Firings of U.S. Attorneys

Fact Sheet on the Firings of U.S. Attorneys

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Published by YourLeaders.org
House and Senate Investigations Revealed Significant White House Involvement In US Attorney Firings .
House and Senate Investigations Revealed Significant White House Involvement In US Attorney Firings .

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Published by: YourLeaders.org on Jun 30, 2007
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05/08/2014

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House and Senate Investigations Revealed SignificantWhite House Involvement In US Attorney Firings
 
Key White House political advisors Karl Rove and then-White House CounselAlberto Gonzales were involved from the beginning in plans to remove U.S.Attorneys. According to documents obtained from the Department of Justice andMr. Sampson’s testimony, Mr. Sampson discussed the plan with then-WhiteHouse Counsel Gonzales not long after President Bush’s re-election in late 2004.A January 9, 2005 e-mail released by the Department shows that Karl Roveinitiated inquires as to “how we planned to proceed regarding U.S. Attorneys,whether we were going to allow all to stay, request resignations from all andaccept only some of them, or selectively replace them, etc.” In his response toqueries from David Leitch, a White House official, Mr. Sampson expresslydeferred to the political judgment of Mr. Rove as to whether to proceed with plansfor the replacement of U.S. Attorneys, writing,“[I]f Karl thinks there would bepolitical will to do it, then so do I.”
 
Mr. Sampson, who has testified that he “aggregated” the list of U.S. Attorneys tobe fired, was in frequent contact with White House officials about multipleversions of proposed lists of possible U.S. Attorneys for dismissal and potentialreplacements over the course of nearly two years, sending draft lists for review inMarch 2005, January 2006, April 2006, and several drafts in September 2006through the firings on December 7, 2006.
 
According to documents and testimony, Sara Taylor, the head of the White Housepolitical operation and deputy of Karl Rove, and Scott Jennings, another aide toMr. Rove, were involved in the discussions and planning that led to the removalof Bud Cummins and bypassing the Senate confirmation process to install TimGriffin, another former aide to Mr. Rove, as U.S. Attorney in the Eastern Districtof Arkansas. They were part of a group that discussed using the AttorneyGeneral’s expanded authority under the Patriot Act Reauthorization to avoid theopposition of the Arkansas Senators by appointing Mr. Griffin as interimindefinitely. In one e-mail, Mr. Sampson described Mr. Griffin’s appointment as“important to Harriet, Karl, etc.” After the firing, writing from her RNC emailaccount, Ms. Taylor writes that “Bud is lazy – which is why we got rid of him inthe first place.”
 
Mr. Sampson testified that Ms. Taylor was upset when the Attorney Generalfinally “rejected” this use of the interim authority -- a month after telling SenatorPryor he was committed to finding a Senate-confirmed U.S. Attorney.
 
The evidence gathered so far also shows
significant White House involvement -- including by Mr. Rove -- in the decision to dismiss David Iglesias as U.S.Attorney for the District of New Mexico.
We have learned from the testimonyof the Attorney General and Mr. Sampson that Mr. Rove directly complained to
 
the Attorney General about concerns that prosecutors were not aggressivelypursuing voter fraud cases in districts in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and NewMexico. One of these districts was that of Mr. Iglesias, who was added after thatcomplaint to the list of U.S. Attorneys to be replaced. We have also learned thatMr. Rove’s aide, Mr. Jennings, set up a meeting between White House LiaisonMonica Goodling and New Mexico Republican officials in June 2006 to talk about the U.S. Attorney “situation” in New Mexico, describing it as “sensitive.”
Those officials also met with another aide to the Attorney General, MatthewFriedrich, told him that they were seeking Iglesias’ ouster and that they hadspoken to Karl Rove about the subject, according to Friedrich’s testimony tocongressional investigators.
 
Media reports and the White House Press Office have confirmed that Mr.Rove relayed complaints about Mr. Iglesias to the White House Counsel’soffice and to the Justice Department.
 
Press accounts and congressional testimony have also revealed that after themidterm election, Mr. Rove discussed the performance of Mr. Iglesias withSenator Domenici, who himself had called Mr. Igelisias before the election to ask whether he was bringing indictments against a Democratic official in the lead upto the election.
According to Allen Weh, Chairman of New Mexico'sRepublican party chairman, when he asked Mr. Rove during a holiday partyin 2006 “is anything ever going to happen to that guy?” -- referring to Mr.Iglesias -- Mr. Rove responded, “He’s gone.”
 
 
The concern by White House officials with purported voter fraud extends beyondNew Mexico. We have learned that Mr. Rove sent Mr. Sampson a packet of information related to Wisconsin. According to his testimony, Mr. Sampson gavethis packet to another Department official, Matthew Friedrich, and also asked himto look into the voter concerns in districts relayed by Mr. Rove to the AttorneyGeneral. The packet sent by Mr. Rove contains a 30-page report concerningvoting in Wisconsin in 2004 and also handwritten notes suggesting a concern withprosecution in numerous districts.
Some of these Wisconsin materials appearto have been viewed and printed by Mr. Rove in February 2005, just a monthbefore the US Attorney in the Eastern District of Wisconsin was place on thetermination list.
 
 
John McKay, former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington,testified that when he met with Ms. Miers and her deputy William Kelley inAugust 2006 to interview for a federal judgeship, he was asked to explain“criticism that I mishandled the 2004 governor's election,” in which Republicanswere upset with him for not intervening in that closely contested election.
 
Since the firings of these U.S. Attorneys for political reasons became public, therehas been an effort to minimize, and in some instances, cover up, the role of WhiteHouse officials. According to documents and the testimony of Mr. Sampson, the

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