POLITICAL FRIDAY CONTINUES
“I would never, ever make a change in a United States Attorney position for political reasons, or if it would in any way jeopardize an ongoing serious investigation. I just would not do it.”
Alberto Gonzalez testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee January 18, 2007
Gonzalez’s Chief Of Staff D. Kyle Sampson ranked every United States Attorney for purposes of considering who to fire and replace. Chicago US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald was ranked in the group of US Attorneys who “have not distinguished themselves.” Ask Scooter Libby about Fitzgerald’s abilities as a prosecutor.
The Senate renewed the Patriot Act containing a little known item allowing the President to appoint US Attorneys without Senate confirmation. This month the senate voted to revoke that provision of the act.
David Iglesias, US Attorney for New Mexico, was fired after complaints by US Senator Pete Domenici that Iglesias was not quick enough to complete election fraud investigations of several democrats before the last election in November. Iglesias said Domenici called him at home to discuss the pending investigation before the November election. Iglesias refused to discuss the matter. Domenici complained to President Bush several times. No Democrats were indicted before or after the election. When New Mexico State Republican Party chairman Allen Weh mentioned Iglesias to Karl Rove, Rove replied “he’s gone.” Iglesias was one of the 8 fired US Attorneys. Iglesias recently wrote an Op Ed piece for the NY Times in which he stated that his office had a 95% conviction rate, had filed a record number of prosecutions, and had conducted and prosecuted the largest political corruption cases in New Mexico’s history.
San Diego US Attorney Carol Lam was fired for not being loyal enough. Lam’s political investigation put long time Republican Congressman Duke Cunningham in jail for massive fraud with, and kickbacks from, defense contractors. Lam was continuing the investigation into other Republican lobbyists and donors at the time she was fired.
US Attorney Chris Christie of New Jersey was not fired. Just before the November elections, Christie announced a high profile investigation into Democratic Senator Bob Menendez. The Republicans would have held the senate if Menendez has lost the election. The announcement of the investigation was quickly incorporated into last minute attack ads by Republicans against Menendez. Had the ads been successful, the Democrats would not be in the position of having the Senate Judiciary Committee issue subpoenas into the US Attorney scandal.
We are witnessing the politicization of the federal prosecutors office on a scale never seen before. Not content with awarding prominent Republicans with US Attorney positions, the Bush administration has sought to influence the prosecutors appointed to those positions to conduct investigations against Democrats during election periods for the purposes of maintaining the Republicans grip on power.
The result is not just the current scandal, but the public’s loss of confidence in the integrity of the prosecutor’s office.
Scene: An airport in Africa. The fog is rolling in. An airplane roars and is about to take off in the midnight air.
Two men in trench coats face each other. One man (Major Strasser) is dialing a phone to stop the plane from taking off. The other man (Rick) tells Strasser to put down the phone. Strasser and Rick fire their weapons almost simultaneously. Strasser’s shot is wide, Rick’s is true, and Major Strasser falls down, mortally wounded.
Through it all, the local police Captain, Captain Renault witnesses the entire event. Seconds later Renaults officers arrive in force.
Renault: “Major Strasser has been shot.” Renault looks at Rick. Rick looks alarmed. Renault looks to his officers:
Renault: “Round up the usual suspects.” The police salute and hurry off.
This is what our Federal Prosecutors Offices are about to become- lackeys of the Bush administration who round up the usual suspects to placate the President and his Rove backed henchmen.
See You In Court – representing the usual suspects.