Stuart, you asked me to say more about the evidence of crimes related to the 2006 U.S. attorney firings. The best source document is the official report into the scandal by DoJ’s Office of Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility. It carefully documents the “sleazy and unethical conduct” that you mention and specifically refers to a possible false statement that former Gonzales chief of staff Kyle Sampson made before Congress. It also says that “those seeking Iglesias’ removal” may have obstructed justice. (See Page 198 for all of this.) The report further details possible wire fraud by those who “sought to pressure Iglesias to take partisan political considerations into account in his charging decision.” (That’s on Page 200.)
Who was seeking my “removal”? The term could refer to Republican activists in New Mexico, members of the New Mexico congressional delegation, or White House officials. The report laments the fact that Sen. Pete Domenici and his chief of staff, Steve Bell, did not cooperate with the investigation. Neither did former DoJ staffer Monica Goodling. The White House refused to produce some documents and e-mails related to our firings. This is precisely why Dannehy will likely, if she hasn’t already, issue grand jury subpoenas to get the documents that the White House failed to voluntarily produce.
As I wrote this summer in Slate, I am waiting with great anticipation to see whether the vastly overused executive privilege will be trotted out again in this criminal investigation. Take a look at the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Nixon. It is well-settled that executive privilege cannot be used to shield the president’s staff members from criminal liability.
Click here for the next entry.