With two stories out today, one from the New York Times and the other from the Washington Post, we learn that everything the Justice Department told Congress was factually-impaired. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez claimed that there was nothing political about the firings, except that the President's Counsel Harriet Miers and the President's chief political operative created the list of Attorney's to axe and Justice was in discussions all along. In the beginning the White House wanted to fire all 93 Attorneys only to scale back this plan when it was deemed by Rove to be politically impossible. (For those paying attention that would have included U.S. Attorney for the District of Illinois (Northern) Patrick Fitzgerald, the guy prosecuting a case against the Vice President's right-hand man.)
One Attorney, David Iglesias, did not make it onto the list of Attorney's to be fired until late in the game after Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) asked the White House to include Iglesias in the purge. Here's the relevant part from the Post article:
Iglesias, the New Mexico prosecutor, was not on that list. Justice officials said Sampson added him in October, based in part on complaints from Sen. Pete V. Domenici and other New Mexico Republicans that he was not prosecuting enough voter-fraud cases.
On the day of the Dec. 7 firings, Miers's deputy, William Kelley, wrote that Domenici's chief of staff "is happy as a clam" about Iglesias.
A week later, Sampson wrote: "Domenici is going to send over names tomorrow (not even waiting for Iglesias's body to cool)."
"Not even waiting for Iglesias's body to cool" and "happy as a clam". Domenici can't be sitting easy as these revelations continue. Now, of course, the key here is that "Justice officials said Sampson added him in October". Domenici called Iglesias, a call which Iglesias considered to put pressure on him to bring down indictments, on or about October 25th or 26th. Did this call come before or after Iglesias was added to the to-be-axed list? What about Heather Wilson's call two weeks earlier? When did New Mexico Republicans, particularly Domenici and Wilson, ask the White House and Justice to axe Iglesias and when did they know that the White House was in the process of axing Attorneys throughout the country?
The Times article states that Domenici was "among the politicians who complained directly to the president". So who are these other politicians? Who complained about Carol Lam, the Attorney investigating former Appropriations chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA)? Did Doc Hastings complain about John McKay, the Attorney in Washington? These are huge questions that need to be answered. This could go well beyond Domenici and Wilson into numerous instances of obstruction of justice committed by Members of Congress.