Friday, March 30, 2007

Testimony increases problems for Gonzales

Testimony before a Senate Committee by his former chief of staff Thursday proved damaging to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
Judging from what was said by Kyle Sampson, it appears Gonzales has been playing fast and loose with the truth and while the choice of U. S. attorneys belongs to the executive branch, the firings of eight federal prosecutors had much more to do with ongoing investigations of GOP corruption than was initially indicated:

Sampson's testimony also shows that, along with Rove, other senior White House aides were more closely involved in the dismissals than has previously been disclosed. It adds to evidence that some of the firings were influenced by GOP political concerns and that the selection process was not based on hard data.

Sampson said he even suggested firing U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald of Chicago while Fitzgerald was prosecuting Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff for perjury. Sampson said he immediately dropped the idea, which he raised at a White House meeting last year, when he received negative reactions from then-White House Counsel Harriet E. Miers and her deputy, William Kelley.

Among those fired was Bud Cummins of Arkansas, who was asked to resign while he was in the middle of an investigation into how Missouri Governor Matt Blunt was awarding lucrative license fee offices.


slarrow said...

I'd be interested in your take on this piece on the prosecutors saga.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about Randy, but I thought he/she/it sort of has faulty logic. For one thing, you don't discuss a process without first having a reason for the process. The reason you use defines "who" goes and "who" stays. Ergo, "who" goes and "who" stays has already been decided before any discussions of the process takes place.

The 93 lawyers Clinton fired were done at the beginning of his first term not the middle of his second term. That is the difference.

And if you've been listening to the evening news at all, other than Fox, you'd know that what Bush and Gonzales did is unprecedented. In simple terms, no president before Bush has EVER mass fired his own federal prosecutors in the middle of a second term.

slarrow said...

anonymous, for what it's worth: your worries about the reason are addressed in the first two points of Big Lizards' timeline. (Big Lizards, by the way, is a sci-fi author named Dafydd ab Hugh.) The reason: the administration gets complaints in 2004 (around an election), Bush tells Gonzales to do something, it takes a long time. I don't see why any more digging is necessary.

As for the rest, I do not see any significant difference about the timing taking place other than the beginning of the first term. If the president has the power at the beginning of the term, he has the power at any point in his term. If it is politically based at the beginning, it is politically based now. Nor am I impressed overmuch by the claim that it's never been done before (which I do not accept as true just because the evening news said it, just as I do not accept the firing of 7 or 8 prosecutors to be a "mass firing".