US attorney firings

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Probe Finds Bias in Justice Dept. Hiring

Perceived Democratic ties sank applicants for prestigious programs

(Newser) - The Justice Department screened applicants to its internship and recruitment programs for conservative attitudes and credentials, rejecting applicants with liberal-sounding resumes, the Washington Post reports. Today's report by the department’s inspector general details a history of partisan hiring practices beginning in 2002 and concludes that the process "undermined... More »

US Attorney Probe Moves Forward

Justice Dept. wants grand jury to hear perjury evidence

(Newser) - For the first time since it came to light 2 years ago, the US attorneys scandal has gone beyond the investigative phase. The Justice Department has asked for a grand jury to hear evidence as it weighs perjury charges against a former interim US attorney, the Wall Street Journal reports.... More »

Conservative Pearce Wins GOP Primary for Domenici Seat

Dems predict an easier win for Tom Udall

(Newser) - New Mexico Rep. Steve Pearce edged out Rep. Heather Wilson in the GOP primary for retiring Sen. Pete Domenici's seat yesterday, Politico reports. The results pleased Democrats, who predict that Pearce, who ran as an unapologetic conservative, will be a weaker opponent to Democratic Rep. Tom Udall in November than... More »

Executive Privilege Goes to Court

Ruling in lawmakers' challenge could cement power grab

(Newser) - The civil suit brought by Congress as it investigates the 2005-06 firings of US attorneys is becoming a groundbreaking constitutional tussle that could decide the true scope of executive privilege. The precedent that could be set in the ruling from a US district court is now more significant than the... More »

Congress Prods Justice Dept. on Secrecy

Dems accuse Mukasey, underlings of stalling on requests

(Newser) - Congress is redoubling its efforts to get info from the Justice Department, the Washington Post reports. Requests for classified documents have languished for as long as 3 years, and the contretemps between Congress and Alberto Gonzales over their disclosure has improved little under the new AG, Michael Mukasey. "We... More »

House Sues Bush Aides Over Subpoenas

Lawsuit calls on Miers, Bolton to talk about fired prosecutors

(Newser) - Lawmakers sued two top Bush aides today to make them testify about the sacking of federal prosecutors in 2006. The House Judiciary Committee suit seeks to enforce subpoenas against White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten and former Bush counsel Harriet Miers, who have refused to testify or supply subpoenaed... More »

Mukasey Nixes Bush Aides Contempt Case

AG rejects House request, saying no crime was committed

(Newser) - A  showdown over executive privilege got more likely yesterday when Attorney General Michael Mukasey said he wouldn't pursue contempt charges against two Bush aides, Reuters reports. Mukasey rejected the request from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to refer the case to a grand jury, arguing that they had committed no crime... More »

Blogger Wins Award, Vindication

Talking Points Memo founder captures Polk Award

(Newser) - The blogosphere is rejoicing in the news that “local boy” Joshua Micah Marshall garnered a George Polk Award for legal reporting. Marshall's Talking Points Memo blog is the first Internet-only operation to win the award, and many bloggers see that as validation, reports the New York Times. Marshall won... More »

House Holds 2 Bush Aides in Contempt

Dems vote against Bolten, Miers, while GOP walks out

(Newser) - The House voted today to hold two Bush insiders guilty of contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate in last year's US attorneys scandal, the AP reports. Angry  Republicans boycotted the vote and walked out in protest. Democrats censured chief of staff Josh Bolten and former Bush counsel Harriet Miers... More »

2007's Biggest White House Whoppers

Slate runs down the Bush team's most dubious legal claims

(Newser) - In her second annual roundup of the Bush administration's most egregious legal arguments, Dahlia Lithwick of Slate offers her top 10 doozies:
  1. The United States does not torture
  2. State-secrets privilege used to shield almost anything.
  3. Almost anything Alberto Gonzales said.
  4. The nine US attorneys were fired for cause.
  5. Anyone who
... More »

Committee Votes to Hold Rove, Bolten in Contempt

Act challenging executive privilege may stall before full Senate

(Newser) - The Senate Judiciary Committee voted to hold Karl Rove and Josh Bolten in contempt today, the AP reports, for ignoring subpoenas on the US attorneys scandal. The White House, however, says the citations will likely die on the Senate floor. “I vote knowing that it’s highly likely to... More »

Bush Can't Protect Rove, Senator Says

Executive privilege doesn't hold; ex-aides ordered to testify

(Newser) - President Bush’s attempts to protect Karl Rove from testifying about the firings of US attorneys were shot down today by the Senate Judiciary Committee, meaning Rove will likely face contempt charges unless he complies with congressional subpoenas, the Associated Press reports. Bush had cited executive privilege, which protects advisers,... More »

Gonzales Could Face Charges

DOJ report may recommend criminal prosecution for former AG

(Newser) - Alberto Gonzales might soon find himself on an unlikely side of the law if a pending DOJ report recommends criminal charges against the former AG for lying under oath. Pending prosecution may even explain Gonzales' unexpected departure, Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick speculates. Now he’s hired a criminal-defense attorney and... More »

Mukasey Courts the Hill

Attorney general nominee meets with lawmakers to prep for hearings

(Newser) - Mukasey mingled today with the Dems who will make or break his chance at becoming the next attorney general. If they're worried about him taking on the job, none showed it, Bloomberg reports. Even Senator Leahy, who wants the White House to fork over documents on its surveillance program before... More »

Justice Dept. Will Investigate Whether Gonzales Lied

US attorney firings probe will expand

(Newser) - The Justice Department will investigate whether Alberto Gonzales gave misleading testimony to Congress, including whether he lied about the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program and the US attorney firings. Inspector General Glenn Fine has alerted Congress to an expanded internal probe into the actions of the lame-luck AG, the Washington Post ... More »

Bush Lashes Out at Gonzales Critics

Prez says AG's 'good name was dragged through the mud'

(Newser) - Remaining loyal to his old Texas pal, President Bush fiercely defended Alberto Gonzales today despite grudgingly accepting his resignation. Bush said the AG suffered "unfair treatment" and that his "good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons." Some Republican lawmakers echoed Bush's statements while others... More »

Alberto Gonzales Resigns

Attorney general steps down after months of criticism over politicized Justice Department

(Newser) - Alberto Gonzales has resigned, the White House told CNN today, after months of calls for his replacement—and even impeachment—from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle worried that the Justice Department was becoming overly politicized. The AG told President Bush of his intention to step down Friday, following... More »

Bush Aide Stonewalls Senators

Rove snubs Judiciary Committee; 29-year-old staffer pleads for sympathy

(Newser) - Karl Rove didn't show up, but the White House sent a 29-year-old aide to field Senate Judiciary Committee questions about the US attorney firings today. Scott Jennings, the first administration figure to testify while still in office, followed the path laid out by ex-boss Sara Taylor in refusing to answer... More »

Justice Faces Blank Slate in Gonzo Probe

Few precedents for special prosecutor to investigate dept. boss

(Newser) - Solicitor General Paul Clement has a tough decision to make: whether to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate his boss Alberto Gonzales' testimony to Congress. Four Senate Democrats have written to Clement requesting a special counsel to determine if Gonzales concealed the truth in his testimony in the US Attorney... More »

Senate Sends Rove Subpoena

Adviser called over role in attorney firings as Dems urge perjury charges for AG

(Newser) - The Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenaed presidential strategist Karl Rove today, over his role in the 2006 US attorney firings. Chairman Patrick Leahy said he’d “exhausted every avenue seeking the voluntary cooperation" of Bush's Brain, and was left no option but to force him to appear. More »

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