Those who are suspicious of U.S. Attorney for San Diego Carol Lam's firing just got a lot more cause for suspicion.
In her written answers to questions from Congress, Lam recounted a conversation with Justice Department official Michael Elston after she was fired in which Elston made it clear to her that she would be gone within "weeks" regardless of the fate of certain cases, and that this order came "from the highest levels of the government." Elston also told her that someone from outside her office would most likely to come in to take over.
Lam had good reason to be preoccupied about certain cases, of course. Her office was close to indicting Brent Wilkes, a defense contractor who allegedly bribed Duke Cunningham and possibly other Republican congressmen, and Dusty Foggo, the former executive director of the CIA.
But according to Lam, Elston told her that her appeals to stay on in order to deal with certain cases was "'not being received positively.'" She was to depart in "weeks, not months" and "these instructions were 'coming from the very highest levels of the government.'"
Lam also adds that Elston told her he "suspected" that the administration would be installing someone from outside her office as her successor, that there would be "no overlap" between Lam's departure and her successor's start date, and that her successor wouldn't have to be vetted by the committee of Republicans in California who had before been responsible for vetting U.S. attorneys in the state.
All of this will do much to increase suspicion that the administration intended to replace Lam with a "loyal Bushie" of their choice.
Lam also describes an odd conversation she had with Deputy Atttorney General Paul McNulty. After being told that she was being fired, Lam called McNulty for an explanation. McNulty declined to tell Lam why she was being fired:
He responded that he wanted some time to think about how to answer that question because he didnât want to give me an answer âthat would leadâ me down the wrong route. He added that he knew I had personally taken on a long trial and he had great respect for me. Mr. McNulty never responded to my question.
Lam's account of these conversations is below. You can read all of her answers here.
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