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This is just a big thank you to all the readers who've posted what you've found in our comment thread below. We've been reading them all and will continue to post on the findings tomorrow (and by the way, I'm sure it's not just us reading your comments for leads).

It looks like the House Judiciary Committee finally has all the documents up on their site now. We're still interested in what you might find, particularly on the documents put up later in the day (from 7 and up or so). So if you want to read some correspondence between Justice Department officials over your morning coffee, please let us know what you find.

Here's the takeaway from Bush's press conference just now, in which the phrase "political points" and "klieg lights" found frequent use, as opposed to his administration's "reasonable proposal."

"I hope [the Democrats] don't choose confrontation. I will oppose any attempts to subpoena White House officials."

He added that the Democrats would be "wasting time" by issuing subpoenas.

To the question, "Are you going to go to the mat in protecting the principle you talked about?... You'll go to the courts?" he answered, yes.

Here we go.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) is not happy. Not happy at all:

“I was glad to meet Mr. Fielding and I welcome the fact that these issues have his full attention.

“I don’t accept his offer. It is not constructive and it is not helpful to be telling the Senate how to do our investigation, or to prejudge its outcome.

"Instead of freely and fully providing relevant documents to the investigating committees, they have only selectively sent documents, after erasing large portions that they do not want to see the light of day. Testimony should be on the record, and under oath. That’s the formula for true accountability.“I hope the President will agree to be forthcoming. The straighter the path to the truth, the sooner we will finally know the facts.”


And from House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI):

"While we appreciate the White House's gesture, we will work with the Senate Judiciary Committee to create a counteroffer. We will move forward to authorize subpoenas for current and former White House and Justice officials, as well as documents. In short, the House Judiciary Committee will take whatever steps are necessary and within our Congressional authority to get to the bottom of what has become a horrible mess that is undermining American trust in our federal criminal justice system."


The House committee will vote to authorize issuing subpoenas tomorrow, and the Senate committee will vote on Thursday.

Just out from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV):

“After telling a bunch of different stories about why they fired the U.S. Attorneys, the Bush Administration is not entitled to the benefit of the doubt. Congress and the American people deserve a straight answer. If Karl Rove plans to tell the truth, he has nothing to fear from being under oath like any other witness.”

As we've noted before, the U.S. Attorney for Los Angeles Debra Wong Yang left her job shortly before two of the other U.S. attorneys in California was forced out.

Now Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) wants to hear more. From the AP:

"I have questions about Debra Yang's departure and I can't answer those questions right at this time," Feinstein, D-Calif. and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told reporters in response to a question. "Was she asked to resign, and if so, why? We have to ferret that out."...

About five months before Yang's departure her office had opened an investigation into ties between Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., and a lobbyist. When Yang left her U.S. attorney's job she went to work for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, the firm where Lewis' legal team works, but government rules required that she recuse herself from that case or any other she was involved with while a government prosecutor.


Yang told The Hill earlier this month that she could have stayed “as long as I wanted to" and that she left for financial reasons, adding that she's a single mother.

Here's the letter from White House counsel Fred Fielding laying out the White House's offer to the House and Senate judiciary committees.

In it, Fielding says that the documents and interviews from the Justice Department are providing Congress "a virtually unprecedented window into personnel decision-making within the Executive Branch." The interviews (private, no oath, no transcript) with White House officials, therefore, "should be conducted, if needed, only after Congress has heard from Department of Justice officials about the decision to request the resignations of the U.S. Attorneys."

Fielding also offers to provide certain documents related to the decisions, including White House documents between White House staff and third parties -- but not internal White House communications.

Update: Here's Sen. Chuck Schumer's (D-NY) summary of the problem with that document provision, via ThinkProgress:

So, if Karl Rove sent a communication to Harriet Miers and said, and this is purely hypothetical, “We have to get rid of US Attorney Lam. Come up with a good reason…” and the only communication we get is the good reason that Harriet Miers sent to the Justice Department.

All we know is that it will be a "statement about the U.S. attorney matter."

Update: From CNN just now: "What is expected from the president is that he will say that Attorney General Gonzales has his full, unyielding support."

President Bush called Alberto Gonzales this morning to "reaffirm his support." But listen to Tony Snow in this morning's press gaggle:

Q Is the President determined to insist that Gonzales stay on, even as his support on Capitol Hill erodes even among Republicans?

MR. SNOW: Well, I think you need to take a look at what happens over the rest of the day. You're asking yesterday's question, not tomorrow's question. And the point is, you've had two Republicans who have spoken publicly, but now you also have data available. You have evidence available. You have people who have an opportunity to take a good, hard look at the documentary record. Let's see where it goes from there....

Q All the documents that have been released suggest that whatever mistakes the President has admitted were made were confined to subordinates to Gonzales -- or does the President hold the Attorney General responsible for those mistakes?

MR. SNOW: I think I'm going to let you read the documents rather than having me characterize 3,000 pages. I've not had an opportunity to read them all.

According to MSNBC just now, White House counsel Fred Fielding offered Democrats interviews with Karl Rove and other White House officials, but the testimony would be unsworn, behind closed doors, and no transcript would be permitted.

Both House and Senate Democrats already plan to vote on issuing subpoenas later this week.

Update: On CNN, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) just told reporters that "[Fielding] said he wanted this to be a conversation rather than a hearing. A conversation's fine. But let's have a conversation under oath with a transcript so we can see what has happened and weigh the testimony of these particular witnesses against the others.... Mr. Fielding indicated that he did not want to negotiate, but that doesn't mean we're not going to try."

In April, 2004, times were different. U.S. Attorney for New Mexico David Iglesias hadn't yet drawn the ire of prominent conservatives by failing to indict a Democratic state senator shortly before the election or declining to pursue their pet voter fraud cases.

Then, he was in no danger of being fired. Rather, he was on the short list for being promoted to be the Director of the Executive Office of the United States Attorney. At least, that's according to an email from Kyle Sampson that listed U.S. attorneys who "might be enticed to leave their districts and come to Washington to run EOUSA."

Iglesias, who is Hispanic, appears on the list as a "diverse up-and-comer; solid."

Now, Iglesias, of course, didn't get the job. Michael Battle, formerly the U.S. Attorney for Buffalo (and, as an African-American, also "diverse") did. And irony of ironies, it was Battle who ended up making the call to fire Iglesias this past December. Battle tendered his resignation in January; his last day was Friday.

Ed. Note: Thanks to TPM Reader Matt for flagging this in the comments.

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