Aide: U.S. Attorney Firings Were Politically Motivated
According to prepared remarks obtained in advance of his testimony, Alberto Gonzales’ former chief of staff believes the eight U.S. attorneys were fired for political reasons: “A U.S. attorney who is unsuccessful from a political perspective … is unsuccessful.” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy warned that even Gonzales’ resignation would not derail his investigation into the firings.
“In case anybody’s thinking of shortchanging it that way, I have a message for them: We’ll finish this investigation before we’ll have any confirmation hearings for a new attorney general,” Leahy said Wednesday.
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AP via SFGate:
“The distinction between ‘political’ and ‘performance-related’ reasons for removing a United States attorney is, in my view, largely artificial,” said Kyle Sampson.
The aide, who quit because of the furor over the firings, is to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. A copy of his prepared remarks was obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.
“A U.S. attorney who is unsuccessful from a political perspective … is unsuccessful,” Sampson said.
Democrats have described the firings as an “intimidation by purge” and a warning to remaining U.S. attorneys to fall in line with Bush’s priorities. Political pressure, Democrats say, can skew the judgment of prosecutors when deciding whom to investigate and which indictments to pursue.
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