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Wolfowitz Dictated Girlfriend's Pay Deal "World Bank President Paul D. Wolfowitz personally dictated the terms under which the bank gave what it called his "domestic partner" substantial pay raises and promotions in exchange for temporarily leaving her job there during his tenure, according to documents released by the bank's executive board yesterday. The board issued a statement saying it will 'move expeditiously to reach a conclusion on possible actions to take,' amid rising speculation over whether the embattled Wolfowitz will resign or be asked to step down." (Washington Post)

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The Justice Department has released Alberto Gonzales' written statement for Tuesday's hearing, which was provided today to the Senate Judiciary Committee. We've posted the entire section concerning the U.S. attorneys below.

The statement is long on promises and short on specifics, and Gonzales' narrative for how the firings occurred is a very simple one: he tasked Kyle Sampson with it, had a handful of conversations about it over the course of two years, and then eventually signed off on the firings.

Nevertheless, there are a couple of noteworthy passages.

First, Gonzales says again that (as far as he knows, at least) none of the U.S. attorneys were fired for "improper" reasons -- which would be "in order to impede or speed along particular criminal investigations for illegitimate reasons." But he says that "it is clear to me that I should have done more personally to ensure that the review process was more rigorous." That's an admission that's sure to open him up to some battering from senators on the panel.

Second, he again says that he "misspoke" at a press conference on March 13th when he said "I was not involved in any discussions about what was going on.” That statement, he says, "was too broad." He regrets the confusion, he says.

The entire thing is below....

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The firing of U.S. Attorney for New Mexico David Iglesias continues to smoke.

There's a lot that's new in this piece today in The Albuquerque Journal:

Former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias was fired after Sen. Pete Domenici, who had been unhappy with Iglesias for some time, made a personal appeal to the White House, the Journal has learned.

Domenici had complained about Iglesias before, at one point going to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales before taking his request to the president as a last resort.

The senior senator from New Mexico had listened to criticism of Iglesias going back to 2003 from sources ranging from law enforcement officials to Republican Party activists.

Domenici, who submitted Iglesias' name for the job and guided him through the confirmation process in 2001, had tried at various times to get more white-collar crime help for the U.S. Attorney's Office— even if Iglesias didn't want it.

At one point, the six-term Republican senator tried to get Iglesias moved to a Justice Department post in Washington, D.C., but Iglesias told Justice officials he wasn't interested.

In the spring of 2006, Domenici told Gonzales he wanted Iglesias out.

Gonzales refused. He told Domenici he would fire Iglesias only on orders from the president.

At some point after the election last Nov. 6, Domenici called Bush's senior political adviser, Karl Rove, and told him he wanted Iglesias out and asked Rove to take his request directly to the president.

Domenici and Bush subsequently had a telephone conversation about the issue.

The conversation between Bush and Domenici occurred sometime after the election but before the firings of Iglesias and six other U.S. attorneys were announced on Dec. 7.

Iglesias' name first showed up on a Nov. 15 list of federal prosecutors who would be asked to resign. It was not on a similar list prepared in October.

The Journal confirmed the sequence of events through a variety of sources familiar with the firing of Iglesias, including sources close to Domenici. The senator's office declined comment.

A couple things. The Journal story refers to Domenici's concern over Iglesias' performance prosecuting "white-collar crime." Was Domenici overwrought about corporate malfeasance? No -- it's a way of referring to public corruption cases, specifically two high-profile corruption cases Iglesias handled against New Mexico Democrats.

After Iglesias didn't jump fast enough with regard to the first case, an investigation into the Democratic state treasurer that dated back to 2005, Domenici's patience was apparently far too thin for the slow pace of the second investigation -- a kickback probe into New Mexico Democrat Manny Aragon.

The timeline couldn't be more damning. Sen. Domenici made the now infamous phone call to Iglesias on October 27. According to Iglesias' version of the conversation, Domenici asked him if an indictment would be filed against Aragon "before November?" When Iglesias said no, Domenici replied, "I'm very sorry to hear that," and then hung up.

According to the Journal story, Domenici made his move to get Iglesias fired -- a call to Karl Rove -- as soon as the election was over just a few weeks later.

Now, there's another level to this. According to earlier statements from the White House and Kyle Sampson's testimony, Bush and Rove had already complained to Gonzales about Iglesias when Domenici called in November. Those complaints had to do with Iglesias' insufficiently aggressive pursuit of (Democratic) voter fraud, and they were made -- by President Bush and Karl Rove -- in mid-October.

So we have two different streams of complaints from the White House -- the first in October about voter fraud and then another in November, stemming from Domenici's concern at Iglesias' failure to move certain cases. Of course, both of them at their base were about Iglesias' failure to prosecute enough Democrats.

No surprises here. From McClatchy:

A U.S. attorney in Wisconsin who prosecuted a state Democratic official on corruption charges during last year's heated governor's race was once targeted for firing by the Department of Justice, but given a reprieve for reasons that remain unclear. A federal appeals court last week threw out the conviction of Wisconsin state worker Georgia Thompson, saying the evidence was "beyond thin."

Congressional investigators looking into the firings of eight U.S. attorneys saw Wisconsin prosecutor Steven M. Biskupic's name on a list of lawyers targeted for removal when they were inspecting a Justice Department document not yet made public, according to an attorney for a lawmaker involved in the investigation. The attorney asked for anonymity because of the political sensitivity of the investigation.

It wasn't clear when Biskupic was added to a Justice Department hit list of prosecutors, or when he was taken off, or whether those developments were connected to the just-overturned corruption case.

As I detailed earlier this week, Biskupic was almost certainly put on the purge list in late October of 2006 -- as a result of complaints from President Bush and Karl Rove that he was too soft on voter fraud. The outstanding question, of course, is why he was taken off.

As I pointed out earlier, one of the documents released today apparently catches Kyle Sampson in another bind.

And during a conference call with reporters today, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that Sampson had not been fully honest with the committee last month. At issue is whether Sampson gave a false impression when he said that he didn't have "in mind any replacements" for any of the U.S. attorneys who were asked to resign.

"He left a clear impression that they did not have people in mind for a replacement," Schumer said, calling it "extremely troubling."

"The contradictions continue to pile up.... The issue of replacements now becomes central."

But Sampson's lawyer Bradford Berenson released a statement that there's no contradiction here:

"Kyle's testimony regarding the consideration of replacements was entirely accurate. In December 2006, when the seven U.S. Attorneys were asked to step down, no specific candidate had been selected to replace any of them, and Kyle had none in mind. Some names had been tentatively suggested for discussion much earlier in the process, but by the time the decision to ask for the resignations was made, none had been chosen to serve as a replacement. Most, if not all, had long since ceased even to be possibilities."

So it goes.

Some talking points are so good they just bear repeating.

As we've pointed out before, in brainstorming for reasons that the U.S. attorneys were fired, one Justice Department spokesperson suggested that since three of the U.S.A.s were from border districts, "you could make the connection that DoJ is unhappy with the immigration prosecution numbers in those districts."

The Justice Department took that ball and ran with it. From The Washington Post:

Another document--internal Justice Department "talking points" about the fired prosecutors--shows that Justice officials used identical language to describe alleged shortcomings in immigration enforcement by two U.S. attorneys.

About Carol S. Lam of San Diego, the memo said: "Regardless of what was done by the office in this area, she failed to tackle this responsibility as aggressively and as vigorously as we expected and needed her to do." The same sentence was used for David C. Iglesias of New Mexico, except that "her" was replaced with "him."

Those talking points seem to have been assembled by Monica Goodling, who forwarded them to department official William Moschella the day before he testified before Congress last month.

But in her zeal to demonstrate Lam's failure to take that responsibility aggressively and vigorously, Goodling seems to have gotten too creative. One of the other talking points, for instance, is that 19 members of Congress "complained about her 'catch and release' policies." The only problem with that, of course, is that her office didn't have such a policy.

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It's just become a routine of the U.S. attorney scandal -- pinpointing a contradiction between something Kyle Sampson wrote or said and something else Sampson wrote or said... and then watching him try to wriggle out of it.

Here for instance, is a mind-bending dodge from last month's hearing. He carefully explained why he wrote in an email last year that Timothy Griffin's appointment was "important to Karl" and then prepared a letter to Congress in February that said the department wasn't aware of Karl Rove having any role in Griffin's appointment. I'd summarize his answer here, but it's complicated.

And here we go again.

As I noted earlier, one of today's documents shows Kyle Sampson suggesting possible replacements for U.S. attorneys to be fired. And as Dan Eggen points out in The Washington Post....

During the March 29 hearing, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) asked Sampson whether he had specific replacements in mind for seven of the prosecutors before they were fired on Dec. 7.

"I personally did not," Sampson replied. "On December 7th, I did not have in mind any replacements for any of the seven who were asked to resign."

But, of course, there's an answer. From ABC News:

"There was some early brainstorming about possible replacements for one or more of the U.S. attorneys who were ultimately terminated. By the time they were let go in December 2006, no specific replacements had been identified or decided upon among any of the seven," one source with knowledge of the discussions about the firings told ABC News.

Nothing to see here.

Nobody is going to be shocked by this, but it's indicative nonetheless.

One of the documents released today by the Justice Department is a chart with information on all 93 U.S. attorneys -- it appears to date from early 2006. The document is broken down into two main categories: prosecution experience (years of experience in various offices) and political experience. One of the subcategories under political experience (along with years on the Hill, at the Justice Department, etc.) is whether the attorney is a member of the conservative law group, The Federalist Society.

It's been apparent that Federalist Society membership was all but a prerequisite to work in the Bush Justice Department. But apparently it really is.

Via Thinkprogress.

Whoops. From the AP:

Karl Rove's lawyer on Friday dismissed the notion that President Bush's chief political adviser intentionally deleted his own e-mails from a Republican sponsored server, saying Rove believed the communications were being preserved in accordance with the law....

"His understanding starting very, very early in the administration was that those e-mails were being archived," Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, said.

The prosecutor probing the Valerie Plame spy case saw and copied all of Rove's e-mails from his various accounts after searching Rove's laptop, his home computer, and the handheld computer devices he used for both the White House and Republican National Committee, Luskin said.

The prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, subpoenaed the e-mails from the White House, the RNC and Bush's re-election campaign, he added.

"There's never been any suggestion that Fitzgerald had anything less than a complete record," Luskin said.

Any e-mails Rove deleted were the type of routine deletions people make to keep their inboxes orderly, Luskin said. He said Rove had no idea the e-mails were being deleted from the server, a central computer that managed the e-mail.

Yesterday, I posted on CREW's revelation that there were as many as five million emails missing from the White House's system. These were emails totally separate from the emails on RNC-issued email accounts. They were in the White House system.

Today, during the White House press gaggle, Dana Perino gave an explanation of sorts:

But there was a conversion sometime between 2002 and 2003 to convert people that were using Lotus Notes when we first arrived to Microsoft Outlook. And I know that the tech people worked to get us all transferred over. We had to save our Word documents and all to make sure that they weren't lost in that transition.

I don't have a specific number for you. Again, I wouldn't rule out that there were a potential 5 million emails lost, but we'll see if we can get to you. If it was 5 million, I think that, again, out of 1,700 people using email every day, again, there was no intent to have lost them.

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