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The former U.S. Attorney for Little Rock Bud Cummins was going to step down, and Karl Rove's former aide Timothy Griffin was just the logical one to replace him -- that's the story Sara Taylor told today, under questioning from Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA).
You can see her lay it out here:
It all sounds so harmless. But there's a number of problems with that. First, if Bud Cummins had long planned to step down, no one told him that. Taylor cited press accounts that Cummins was looking to retire as U.S. attorney, but Cummins had not informed his superiors at the Justice Department that he was leaving and had not requested to be replaced. And when Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last February, he said that Cummins had been fired in order for Griffin to take his place.
Taylor couldn't account for that discrepancy, only saying that everything would gone better (it was "awkwardly handled") if there had been "better communication."
But there's another problem with that, which Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) pointed out in her questioning.
Taylor had written in an email to Kyle Sampson after the firings that Cummins was "lazy," which was "why we got rid of him in the first place."
Taylor apologized to Feinstein for that "unnecessary comment" and said that she'd "heard that," but that it was not a fair comment.