White House, DOJ, Domenici Stonewalled IG On Iglesias Firing

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The just-released IG report on the US attorney firings lists the removal of David Iglesias as the “most troubling” of the eight. But it notes that thanks to stonewalling by the White House, DOJ officials, and the office of Sen. Pete Domenici, investigators didn’t have access to the complete range of information on the reasons for the firing.

The report concludes that Iglesias was removed as a result of complaints brought to DOJ by New Mexico GOP members of Congress and party activists, and shows that Karl Rove knew in advance of the decision. It reveals that at a meeting on November 15, 2006, Rep. Heather Wilson told Rove: “Mr. Rove, for what it’s worth, the U.S. Attorney in New Mexico is a waste of breath.” Rove’s response: “”That decision has already been made. He’s gone.”

But it states that IG investigators were unable to determine how Rove knew this (Iglesias wasn’t notifed until December 7), and what his possible role in the decision was, because Rove and White House counsel Harriet Miers refused to cooperate with the investigation.

Similarly, it notes that Kyle Sampson, who as chief of staff to Alberto Gonzales took the lead in bringing about the firings, gave “misleading after-the-fact explanations for why Iglesias was placed on the list.” The report concludes: “[W]e question whether Sampson provided us the full story about Iglesias’s placement on the list, as well as the reasons for other U.S. Attorney removals.”

And: “Our investigation was also hindered by the refusal of Senator Domenici and his Chief of Staff to agree to an interview by us.” (In April, Domenici, who is retiring this year, received a “qualified admonition” from the Senate ethics committee for his role in the firing.)

Looks like the across-the-board effort to withhold information from the IG investigators was perhaps at its most intense in regard to the Iglesias firing.