One of the Bush administration’s excuses for its prosecutor purge is that the U.S. attorneys weren’t aggressively investigating voter fraud cases. Last week, President Bush said, “We did hear complaints and concerns about U.S. attorneys. Some complained about the lack of vigorous prosecution of election fraud cases.”
This line has been exposed. The right wing’s pursuit of voter fraud is “code for suppressing the votes of minorities and poor people,” the New York Times wrote. McClatchy News reported it is part of a broader strategy of voter suppression implemented by Karl Rove.
Yesterday, FBI Director Robert Mueller confirmed some of these details under questioning from Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY). Mueller said that since 2001, there have been no FBI investigations related to election fraud that “should have resulted in an indictment but did not.” He also confirmed that he was never consulted about the performance of the fired prosecutors. Watch it:
More on Mueller’s testimony at TPMMuckraker.
SCHUMER: It’s been widely reported that both the White House and the Justice Department have said that some of the fired U.S. attorneys didn’t pursue voter fraud prosecutions aggressively enough for this administration’s taste. And President Bush, by his own admission, passed along to Attorney General Gonzales complaints about certain prosecutors in New Mexico and other states who were perceived as being lax in fighting voter fraud.
So I just want to examine that perception with you for a minute.
First let me ask you: Since 2001, have there been any FBI investigation related to election fraud which you believe should have resulted in an indictment but did not?
MUELLER: Not to my knowledge.
MUELLER: And nothing has come to my level.
Have you ever heard from your agents about any election fraud case where there were no indictments when they thought that there should have been?
MUELLER: I have not.
SCHUMER: Has any special agent in charge ever brought such a case to your attention?
MUELLER: No, sir.
SCHUMER: And have you ever asked FBI personnel about election fraud cases in which indictments should have resulted but did not?
Have you ever been asked by officials at the DOJ or elsewhere in the administration about the FBI’s view on how a specific election fraud case was handled by prosecutors?
Were you consulted in any way about the performance of any of the fired U.S. attorneys with respect to election fraud cases?
SCHUMER: Did you ever talk to Kyle Sampson, the attorney general’s former chief of staff, about the performance of the fired U.S. attorneys?
MUELLER: I can’t recall having any specific — I certainly was not consulted. And I cannot recall any specific conversation I may have had with him.
And to the extent that I had any conversation, it probably was with regard to San Francisco, because I was the U.S. attorney there. And I believe that that U.S. attorney was one of those who…
SCHUMER: Mr. Ryan…
MUELLER: … was asked to leave. And so I’m not discounting the possibility of some conversation, but I have no recollection.
SCHUMER: You don’t recall any conversation.
MUELLER: No. No.
SCHUMER: And how about any conversation about these fired U.S. attorneys and their performance with the attorney general?