Karl Rove's involvement in the U.S. attorney firings has always been questioned, but additional information on a March 2007 meeting mentioned in the Inspector General's report today suggests that at the very least, Rove and other White House officials played an active role in crafting the release of information on the firings to the public.
Shortly after the U.S. attorney removals, when the DOJ was grappling to explain the justification behind the firings, communications between Alberto Gonzales' former chief-of-staff, Kyle Sampson and White House officials increased.
With former Assistant Attorney General William Moschella's testimony before Congress fast approaching, a group of DOJ and White House officials convened on March 5, to discuss "what Moschella should say in his testimony about the removals," as well as whether to testify to the specific reasons for the removals of the U.S. attorneys.
The meeting was called by Deputy White House Counsel William Kelley and was attended by Sampson; Paul McNulty, the deputy Attorney General; Moschella; Michael Elston, McNulty's chief of staff; White House Counsel Fred Fielding; Michael Battle, director of EOUSA; Associate White House Counsel Michael Scudder, and perhaps most importantly -- Karl Rove.
From page 84 of the report:
According to several witnesses, Rove came in to the meeting for only a
few minutes and then left. Battle said Rove spoke at the meeting but he could
not recall what he said. McNulty said that he could not specifically recall
either, but thought Rove said something to the effect that Moschella's
testimony should explain why the U.S. Attorneys were removed. None of the
witnesses said they could recall specifically what Rove said at the meeting,
although all agree that the discussion generally centered on what Moschella
should say about the reasons for each U.S. Attorney's removal.