Attorney General Michael Mukasey has appointed a prosecutor to pursue possible criminal charges against Republicans who were involved in the controversial firings of U.S. Attorneys. His move follows the leading recommendation of a Justice Department investigation that criticized Bush Administration officials, members of Congress and their aides for the firings, which certainly appear to have been politically motivated. Results of the investigation, which are now public information, singled out the removal of U.S. Attorney David Iglesias of New Mexico — among nine prosecutors who were fired — as the most troubling. Republican political figures in New Mexico, including Senator Pete Domenici and Rep. Heather Wilson, had complained about Iglesias’ handling of voter fraud and public corruption cases. The report concluded that these complaints are what led to his firing.
Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine and Office of Professional Responsibility Director Marshall Jarrett believed a prosecutor was needed because “serious allegations involving potential criminal conduct have not been fully investigated or resolved.” Potential crimes described in their report include lying to investigators, obstruction of justice and wire fraud. The Attorney General named Nora Dannehy, a career prosecutor, to direct the probe.
The report says former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales “bears primary responsibility” for the process of firing the prosecutors and the turmoil that followed. Gonzales “abdicated” his leadership role and was “remarkably unengaged,” according to the report. The report also concluded that Gonzales’ chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, was the person most responsible for coming up with the plan to fire the prosecutors. Sampson’s comments to Congress, the White House and others were found to be misleading. Hopefully, the investigation will be a real attempt to get to the bottom of this sordid mess. Anybody who violated the law in this matter should be held accountable and prosecuted if that is deemed to be necessary.
Source: USA Today
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