Gonzales Chief Of Staff Rebuts Rove Claim That Clinton Purged Prosecutors Too

At a speech last week in Little Rock, Karl Rove described the Bush administration’s purge of federal prosecutors as “normal and ordinary,” claiming that Clinton did the same thing. “Clinton, when he came in, replaced all 93 U.S. attorneys,” Rove said. “When we came in, we ultimately replace most all 93 U.S. attorneys — there are some still left from the Clinton era in place. … What happened in this instance, was there were seven done all at once, and people wanted to play politics with it.” Watch it:

But in an e-mail to Harriet Miers on Jan. 9, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s chief of staff Kyle Sampson (who resigned yesterday) admitted that the Clinton administration never purged its U.S. attorneys in the middle of their terms, explicitly stating, “In recent memory, during the Reagan and Clinton Administrations, Presidents Reagan and Clinton did not seek to remove and replace U.S. Attorneys to serve indefinitely under the holdover provision”:


Former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta previously told ThinkProgress that Rove’s claims that the Clinton administration also purged attorneys is “pure fiction.” He added, “Replacing most U.S. attorneys when a new administration comes in — as we did in 1993 and the Bush administration did in 2001 — is not unusual. But the Clinton administration never fired federal prosecutors as pure political retribution.”

(The Gavel has more.)