Saturday :: Apr 14, 2007

Clearing the Decks


by Mary

Abu Gonzales and Karl Rove conspired to corrupt the Justice Department. After all, it was Karl's idea to fire all the US Attorneys in order to hide the fact that they needed to get rid of a few problem attorneys - most likely US Attorneys who had the most real integrity and the ones that would kick up the most fuss if they saw criminal activity on the part of the Bush Administration. When Kyle Sampson said that logistically it would be a real problem to do that, he came up with a few ideas on what they should do instead. As I wrote earlier:

First, note that Kyle Sampson's email describing the problem of firing all the US Attorney's and what might be workable was written on January 9, 2006. Here's what he said again (pdf: page 20, emphasis mine):

There are practical obstacles to removing and replacing U.S. Attorneys. First, wholesale removal of U.S. Attorneys would cause significant disruption to the work of the Department of Justice. Second, individual U.S. Attorneys often were originally recommended for appointment by a home-state Senator who may be opposed to the President's determination to remove the U.S. Attorney. Third, a suitable replacement must be found in consultation with the home-state Senator, the difficulty of which would vary from state to state. Fourth, a background investigation must be completed on the replacement -- a task often complicated if the outgoing U.S. Attorney stays in office. Fifth, after nomination, the Senate must confirm the replacement.

None of the above obstacles are insuperable. First, a limited number of U.S. Attorneys could be targeted for removal and replacement, mitigating the shock to the system that would result from an across-the-board firing. Second, the Department of Justice's Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA) could work quietly with targeted U.S. Attorneys to encourage them to leave government service voluntarily; this would allow targeted U.S. Attorneys to make arrangements for work in the private sector and "save face" regarding the reason for leaving office, both in the Department of Justice community and in their local legal communities. Third, after targeted U.S. Attorneys have left office or indicated publicly their intention to leave office, then the Office of the Counsel to the President can work with home-state Senators and/or other political leaders in the state to secure recommendations for a replacement U.S. Attorney. Finally, after background investigations are complete and the replacement candidate is nominated, the Attorney General can appoint the nominee to serve as interim U.S. Attorney pending confirmation, thereby reducing the time during which the leadership of the office is uncertain.

Notice how nicely the little provision added to the Patriot Act helped smooth out some of the problems he noted?

Let's look at suggestion number 2 again:

Second, the Department of Justice's Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA) could work quietly with targeted U.S. Attorneys to encourage them to leave government service voluntarily; this would allow targeted U.S. Attorneys to make arrangements for work in the private sector and "save face" regarding the reason for leaving office, both in the Department of Justice community and in their local legal communities.

So how many USAs left for better opportunities since that January 2006 note? Laura Rozen got a tip about how that the fellow who had been considered the best replacement for Carol Lam found his spot as the leader of the Washington DC office.

It seems apparent that Taylor was placed in to his position to specifically frustrate any Congressional oversight effort.

So how is it that the US Attorney for the District of Columbia spot so conveniently became open at such a critical time? ...

Ken Wainstein was the US Attorney for the Districty of Columbia prior to Jeffrey Taylor. ...

He was in office only six months before being kicked upstairs to become the first Assistant Attorney General for the new National Security Division at the Justice Department.

Who else was offered a deal that was too good to pass up? Who recommended James Comey, Jr. for that job with Lockheed Martin? Or Debra Wong Yang for the job with Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher? And doesn't this make it clear that every US Attorney appointed after the 2004 election must be reviewed whether they are part of the Rove conspiracy to steal elections and prosecute Democrats for being Democrats?

Postscript: Has anybody remarked on the fact that it seemed to take Kyle Sampson a year to answer Karl Rove's question about replacing the US Attorneys? Here's Sampson's email from January 9, 2005. The email I reference above is dated exactly one year later. What was he working on for that year?

Mary :: 11:49 AM :: Comments (9) :: Digg It!