Friday, March 16, 2007

Two Best Posts on Rove Firings

The two best posts on the Rove firings. Fred

I enjoy these threads where I get to see the most naive people on the internet commenting. The irony in this USA issue is that after all the complaining about Bush’s illegal acts, the one time he does something perfectly legal and not requiring Senate confirmation (albeit the provision making what he did without requiring Senate approval was a last minute addition… and the Senators voted for it w/o reading the altered bill…. too funny) their are subpoenas issued and hearings held.
Politics are local all right. Hearings about a legal act and nothing about all the other stuff from NSA to Iraq.

Comment by TJM

this article did not prove that Rove changed these attornies due to political retribution, it was because of policy. Clinton changed most of the attornies, not for poor performance, but for POLICY (who would prosecute what). John Podesta’s comment, “But the Clinton administration never fired federal prosecutors as pure political retribution” is framing the argument in terms that are not fair to Republicans. Many other comments, cursing and swearing like children, are obviously not looking for anything other than the old Bush=Bad formula. They see nothing else.

Comment by jon


Clinton’s former chief of staff John Podesta told ThinkProgress that Rove’s claim is “pure fiction.” The Clinton administration never fired federal prosecutors as political retribution:

Mr. Rove’s claims today that the Bush administration’s purge of qualified and capable U.S. attorneys is “normal and ordinary” is pure fiction. 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. These U.S. attorneys received positive performance reviews from the Justice Department and were then given no reason for their firings.

We’re used to this White House distorting the facts to blame the Clinton administration for its failures. Apparently, it’s also willing to distort the facts and invoke the Clinton administration to try to justify its bad behavior.

E-mail indicates Rove role in firings
By LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 2 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - White House political adviser Karl Rove raised questions in early 2005 about replacing some federal prosecutors but allowing others to stay, an e-mail released Thursday shows. The one-page document, which incorporates an e-mail exchange in January 2005, also indicates Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was considering dismissing up to 20 percent of U.S. attorneys in the weeks before he took over the Justice Department.

The e-mail exchange concludes with Gonzales' top aide warning that an across-the-board housecleaning "would certainly send ripples through the U.S. attorney community if we told folks they got one term only."

E-mails released by the Justice Department indicate that Gonzales and his then-chief aide, Kyle Sampson, suggested replacing 15 percent to 20 percent of federal prosecutors they identified as underperformers.

Sampson resigned this week over the department's handling of the firings of eight U.S. attorneys and the agency's misleading of Congress about the process.

The White House maintains that Rove remembers first hearing about the idea to replace all 93 prosecutors from Harriet Miers, a top White House aide designated at the time to follow Gonzales as the president's counsel. "He has not said who the idea originated with," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Thursday evening.

But earlier Thursday, Rove told journalism students in Alabama that the decision to fire each prosecutor "was made at the

Department of Justice on the basis of policy and personnel."

"We're at a point where people want to play politics with it," Rove told students at a journalism seminar at Troy University.

Democrats have sought to pin down Rove's role in the dismissals to prove they were politically motivated.

A midday e-mail between two White House staffers, dated Jan. 6, 2005, was titled, "Question from Karl Rove."

"Karl Rove stopped by to ask you (roughly quoting), `How we planned to proceed regarding US Attorneys, whether we were going to allow all to stay, request resignations from all and accept only some of them, or selectively replace them, etc.,'" Colin Newman, a legal aide in the White House counsel's office, wrote deputy counsel David Leitch.

Leitch immediately forwarded that message to Sampson. Three days later, on Jan. 9, Sampson sent back a lengthy reply.

"Judge and I discussed briefly a couple of weeks ago," Sampson wrote, referring to Gonzales, a former Texas state Supreme Court justice. He said the Justice Department was looking at replacing "underperforming" prosecutors. "The vast majority of U.S. Attorneys, 80-85 percent, I would guess, are doing a great job, are loyal Bushies, etc., etc.," he said.

Sampson noted that, at the time, all 93 prosecutors were in the middle of their terms. "Although they serve at the pleasure of the President, it would be weird to ask them to leave before completing at least a 4-year term," he wrote.

Politically, Sampson said the firings would upset home-state senators who recommended the prosecutors who lost their jobs. "That said, if Karl thinks there would be political will to do it, than so do I," Sampson wrote.

Democrats have asked that Rove, Miers and other White House officials appear before Congress for questioning and are considering subpoenas if they refuse to.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said the e-mails "show conclusively that Karl Rove was in the middle of this mess from the beginning."

The new document also indicates that Gonzales was considering firing prosecutors before he became attorney general on Feb. 3, 2005.

Justice Department spokeswoman Tasia Scolinos said "discussions of changes in presidential appointees would have been appropriate and normal" after the midterm elections.

She said Gonzales "has no recollection of any plan or discussion to replace U.S. attorneys while he was still White House counsel."


Associated Press writer Phillip Rawls in Troy, Ala., contributed to this report.


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