NPR reports, “According to someone who’s had conversations with White House officials, the plan to fire all 93 U.S. attorneys originated with political adviser Karl Rove. It was seen as a way to get political cover for firing the small number of U.S. attorneys the White House actually wanted to get rid of. Documents show the plan was eventually dismissed as impractical.”
On March 5, 2007, then-Gonzales chief of staff Kyle Sampson forwarded the opening statement of Associate Deputy Attorney General William Moschella to key White House and Justice Department officials for their review. The White House recommended that this line:
Second, the Department has not taken any action to influence any public corruption case, and would never do so.
be replaced with:
Second, the Department has not asked anyone to resign to influence any public corruption case, and would never do so.
Seriously, Politico, what’s the deal with this? The facts, as best I can tell, are this:
- Klaus Scharioth, Germany’s ambassador to the United States, is trying to meet the major presidential candidates.
- A guy named Frank Loy who’s active in US-German issues and the Obama campaign, arranged for Scharioth to attend an Obama fundraiser without contributing to his campaign.
- Politico‘s Kenneth Vogel heard about this, decided he smelled smoke, and thought he’d poke around for fire.
At this point, Vogel came up with absolutely nothing. But instead of not writing the story, he wrote an exhaustive account of a dozen different things that might have been improper or politically damaging about this. None of these things, however, are actually true. But rather than admit that he has no story, Vogel chose to write it up as if he’s unconvered something and then — bam! — his story becomes the lede item on the site further implying there’s something here.
On March 29, former chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Kyle Sampson told the Senate Judiciary Committee, under oath, that he had no replacements in mind before the Justice Department fired the U.S. attorneys in Dec. 2006:
SCHUMER: 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.
SAMPSON: 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.
But a new e-mail released to the House Judiciary Committee shows that on Jan. 9, 2006 — a year before the prosecutors were fired — Sampson recommended replacements for almost every one of the U.S. attorneys on the administration’s hit list, suggesting that these prosecutors were fired to make way for partisan loyalists.
One of the suggested replacements who has received relatively little attention is Rachel Brand, whom Sampson recommended to take the place of Margaret Chiara as U.S. attorney for the Western District of Michigan. Brand has been the Justice Department’s Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Policy (OLP) since June 2005. She helped push through the Bush administration’s controversial Supreme Court nominees, and ran the “murder boards” for Alito, Miers, and Roberts. Brand was also a member of the right-wing Federalist Society, which appears to be a consideration for all U.S. attorney candidates.
At Brand’s May 2005 nomination hearing, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) raised concerns that Brand was too inexperienced and unqualified to be Assistant Attorney General for OLP:
Unfortunately, it appears she brings very little depth of experience to a position that is instrumental in setting out DOJ priorities and recommending new judges. By way of comparison, Eleanor Acheson, President Clinton’s nominee for the same position, had practiced law for 19 years prior to her appointment, and Viet Dinh, President Bush’s first nominee to head OLP was a professor at Georgetown University Law Center who had published several scholarly articles and op-eds and had held several congressional positions by the time of his appointments.
It is unlikely that less than a year working at the Justice Department had suddenly made Brand qualified to be a U.S. attorney.
(TPMmuckraker has more.)
The latest federal report on abstinence-only programs shows that they have had “no impacts on rates of sexual abstinence.” RH Reality Check has more analysis of the failures of the Bush’s administration’s failed sex ed policies.
Jonah G. complains about it. I’ll confess to having a certain special dislike for people who are in the habit of implying that I’m an anti-semite while simultaneously lacking the balls to even admit that this is what they’re doing. If this has led to “derangement” and a consequent inability to appreciate the subtle wisdom of his propaganda, I apologize.
In its report documenting the White House’s destruction of five million emails, CREW also reminded us that in January 2006, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald informed the Scooter Libby defense team that some of Rove’s emails from his White House account in 2003 were not saved as required by federal law. The key portion of Fitzgerald’s letter:
CNN’s Ed Henry talked to Rove lawyer Robert Luskin today about the missing emails. Luskin admitted, “There was a gap there. … I have no reason to doubt Patrick Fitzgerald.” Watch it:
The controversy surrounding Rove this week has involved his RNC email account. The RNC acknowledged that, while they instituted a new policy in 2004 to preserve emails, there appear to be no records from White House senior political adviser Karl Rove until 2005, leaving open “the possibility that Rove had personally deleted the missing e-mails.” According to the RNC, the Committee took action specifically and singularly against Rove in 2005 to keep him “from deleting his e-mails from the RNC server.”
With respect to Rove’s White House account, federal law requires the preservation of all such messages. Missing emails could be a violation of the Presidential Records Act. The revelations first reported by Patrick Fitzgerald, now given new life because of the firings of eight U.S. attorneys, raise questions about whether the public is getting the full story on these or other White House scandals.
John Aravosis details how The Hill (and several leading cultural conservative groups) have published the work of David Cameron, who heads an organization labeled a “hate group” by the respected Southern Poverty Law Center. Some of what Cameron espouses:
He told the 1985 Conservative Political Action Committee conference that “extermination of homosexuals” might be needed in the next three to four years. He has advocated tattooing AIDS patients in the face, and banishment to a former leper colony for any patient who resisted. He has called for gay bars to be closed and gays to be registered with the government.
Much more HERE.
New docs provide extremely firm evidence that Al Gonzalez lied to congress: “A Justice Department e-mail released on Friday 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.” I dunno how this works. Can we have him locked up already? Does he need to be impeached first?
UPDATE: A correction. It was Sampson — not Gonzalez — who lied: “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.”
From today’s document dump, an email from Justice Department spokeswoman Tasia Scolinos to Bush counselor Dan Bartlett and Cheney aide Cathie Martin on 3/6/07, one day before several purged U.S. Attorneys testified before Congress:
Right now the coverage will be dominated by how qualified these folks were and their theories for their dismissals. We are trying to muddy the coverage up a bit by trying to put the focus on the process in which they were told — I suspect we are going to get to the point where DOJ has to say this anyway. First, it is true. Second, we are having morale problems with our other U.S. attorneys who understand the decision but think that these folks were not treated well in the process.