Fired U.S. attorney says the orders came from Bush himself. (But how does he know?)

Journalist Greg Palast recently interviewed David Iglesias, one of the U.S. attorneys fired during Gonzales’ tenure as AG. From that interview:

If this is true we’re definitely into impeachable-offense territory, in fact we’re into criminal-offense territory – but how does Iglesias know W gave the orders, and for the reasons stated above? On the one hand, when an attorney that prominent and with Iglesias’ reputation makes a flat declaration of fact about something so important, we can be reasonably sure he’s not just talking out his ass; OTOH, what and where is this “evidence” he speaks of? WRT communications between Gonzales, Domenici and W, Iglesias presumably would have been out of the loop.

Yep. That’s a mighty big IF. It would be nice, but I’m not seeing any smoking gun. Where’s the paperwork or emails that could actually be, you know, evidence? So far it’s just one guy talking smack Put up or shut up, David. Produce something Congress can use to impeach, or go back to your knitting.

“…Domenici complained directly to President Bush. Bush then called Alberto Gonzales, the Attorney General, and complained about my alleged lack of vigorous enforcement of voter fraud laws.”

How is that illegal?

Is it a legitimate use of Justice Dept. power? And, if not, who gives a rat’s if its legal?

Because it was in furtherance of a conspiracy to commit malicious prosecution. Which I would argue is impeachable, even if not actionable (prosecuting attorneys are usually immune from suit for malicious prosecution).

Is what a legitimate use? Investigating voter fraud? Why wouldn’t it be?

Did you read the OP? That’s part of his thesis.

Who are you impeaching here? Bush, Gonzales or both?

There’s also the question of obstruction of justice, although I am not as confident as Palast seems to be that bringing a groundless and frivolous prosecution (or exerting political pressure for that purpose) can be made to fit within the definition of that crime. Then again, maybe:

Bush. Gonzales has already rendered himself unimpeachable by resigning.

Even more interesting/alarming, BTW, is this, from the same interview:

The last sentence is, of course, pure speculation on Palast’s part – but by no means groundless speculation.

That’s what I thought. You have no idea what Domenici said to Bush and what Bush said to Gonzales. All we know is the former called the latter, said “something” and then Bush called AG and said “something”.

Actually, no. He can be. Didn’t you participate in that recent debate? He can’t be removed from office, of course.

That was the point I made in the OP: How does Iglesias know the content of these communications? But I do say that if Iglesias has it right, that means Bush can and should be impeached for this alone.

I’ve participated in several debates touching on the possible impeachment of AGAG. AFAIK, there can be no impeachment procedure for a former official. (The House could, of course, return articles of impeachment before AGAG’s resignation is effective on September 17, but why would they? By the time the matter got to the Senate for trial, he would already be gone.)

Honest engine, John, tell me straight: this doesn’t stink to high heaven? Nothing here to be concerned about?

BrainGlutton, I’m confused – you posted on 8/25 that the firings of the prosecutors had to do with efforts to rig elections against Dems (someone else argued it was past elections, not future ones). Your post obviously predates this OP - were you talking about something that corroborates this OP, or were you referring to something else?

I have to admit some ignorance here - although I despise Bush, I never understood why firing those attorneys was a huge honking deal, I thought the President could fire/hire whomever he pleased for that kind of job. If there’s a scandal behind it, like voter fraud or election rigging, I think that’s been under-reported. (not that it isn’t MY responsibility to address my ignorance - just reflecting back that from a typical headline-readin 'merikun perspective, the soundbytes aren’t compelling).

I understood that the basic reason the attorneys were fired is that they were considered too slow to prosecute Dems, or unwilling to prosecute Dems on trumped up charges, and willingto prosecute Repubs when they, um, broke the law. This is illegal I believe. If it’s legal, they really oughtta give that department a name other than “Dept. of Justice” – that’s way too doublethink. How about, “Dept. of Selective Prosecutions”?

Well, yes, they do serve at the pleasure of the President. That point seems to have been adequately stressed by our journalistic watchdogs, such that sufficient awareness of that fact has been achieved. And, just as you note, the elections under ah, scrutiny were indeed past elections. What some find questionable is that the actions under scrutiny were either innocent, tirival, or otherwise laughable. And that the AGs were urged to bring indictments at such a time as to impact impending elections. One in particular can best be desribed by the technical legal definition of “bullshit”.

What appears is a pattern on the part of the Bushiviks to implant loyal apparartchiks in positions to harrass Dem candidates, and to further Republican efforts to suppress voter registration amongst undesirable citizens, whose loyalty is suspect. It has been noted that Sen Dominici called one such SAG to inquire as to progress in one such case, which is non-kosher to the point of illegality. (See…)

As he puts it “to ask about an ongoing corruption probe of Democrats, but said he 'never pressured him nor threatened him in any way.” Simply a friendly Sunday afternoon call, talk about the weather, how are the kids, are you going to bring charges in time for the next election, that sort of chit chat.

And there’s more, lots more. Great hulking gobs more, and that’s just what they’ve let us know so far. There are huge gaps. E-mails that have mysteriously evaporated, memory lapses most commonly associated with a 5 bong a day pot habit. Stuff like that.

“Huge honking deal”? Speaking as a lifelong honky, yeah. Hugh Betcha. A honka honka burning funk.

Did I mention that they serve to pleasure the President? Good, didn’t want to overlook that crucial point…

Yeah, I know – I googled a bit and now hang my head in shame. It’s out there. Too bad the Republicans are so much better at getting their points into press, they had me going. Makes me wonder if Craig took it up the butt for the good of the party, so to speak.

Palast’s use of Saddam and Stalin is an effective tool (got my attention anyway). I hope it works.

Not a bit of it! You have performed your first duty as a citizen. * Jay Voosaloot!*

It did not have to be a big deal, but given the ham-handed manner in which this administration has tended to carry out its actions, they made it a big deal.

First, it was only noted in passing that the administration had done something vey odd. This was the first time in history that a president had fired multiple Attorneys General (particularly of his own party) in the middle of his presidency. While it is not against any laws, it had never happened in the previous 217 years of the Republic.

Now, it might have passed by as simply a quirk of the administration, raising a few eyebrows and finding itself recorded as a trivia note for historians. However, rather than simply saying, “They serve at the pleasure of the president and he decided to make changes,” the administration made the claims that each of the AGs had been removed for poor performance.
This, of course, irritated the various attorneys who decided they would not simply sit by while their names were smeared. So they responded, each of them pointing out that they had excellent fitness reviews, making the “poor performance” claims look like the (unnecessary) smear campaign they were.

As the adminstration sputtered around trying to paint them as incompetent boobs who had been fired for cause, they began coming forward with their own versions of the events that preceded their firings. Among the stories told by at least six of the eight, were narratives that they had each received pressure to behave in manners that were directly contrary to Department of Justice guidelines. Specifically, the DoJ has rules that the attorneys are supposed to deliberately postpone trials and investigations within a fixed number of weeks prior to an election if the news of the investigation or the trial would have a probable effect on the election. Depending on the specific attorney, sometimes they were pressured to go to trial when they told the administraion flack that they did not have enough evidence and sometimes they were told to “push forward” the investigation in ways that would sap resources in their office from the pursuit of more serious criminal matters–often for matters that were the Federal equivalent of a third degree misdemeanor, but which would show up in the news media as a major complaint. Since this was “only” a violation of Department of Justice regulations, it might not have qualified as breaking the law, but it would clearly violate ethical standards. (In a parallel incident, an AG who was not fired was found to have brought a bullshit claim to court that was so flawed that the judge personally reamed the attorney for idiocy as the judge threw out the case. Of course, the actual dismissal of the case occurred just after the election which the Democrat had lost, with most observers noting that news of the criminal indictment swayed much of the electorate.)

News of this deliberate effort to interfere with elections caught the attention of the news media, who then began poking around looking at other actions. Among the points discovered were that several of the attorneys fired were replaced by less qualified attorneys with better records as party flacks. (Using a political test to determine those appointments is against a law.) When the (now Democratic) Congress began investigating the issue, just about every top official in DoJ who testified was caught in one lie or another, several of them have now resigned under a cloud.

Has there been massive activity that was unlawful? Possibly not, with a few lesser laws bent or broken. However, there is substantial evidence that there has been massively unethical behavior in the DoJ–behavior about which Gonzales has “failed to remember” the details or about which his testimony has been contradicted by just about everyone else involved in the scandal.

(On preview, I see that the question has been answered, but I typed this so I’m posting it. )

As to the OP, here. It looks pretty pointless. One disgruntled former Attorney General has linked President Bush directly to his termination using claims that provide the president with completely plausible deniability. (If Domineci told the president only that Iglesias was failing to pursue cases of election fraud, then the president would have been obligated to order Gonzales to make sure that the AG was admonished or replaced. So even if the president happened to be in the loop that Iglesias has described, the president’s actions, as described, were appropriate.) And we really have no way to know whether or not Iglesias made up the entire conversations. So we are basically being asked to speculate on the ramifications of a conversation that may not have occurred and, if it did occur might have said many things diffferently than how we might speculate.

It involves past and future elections and a great deal besides. For background and gloriously ugly spectacle, go to this thread. See posts #28, 34, 36, 37, 59, 60, 62, 70, 74, 76, 78, 86, 93, 108, 109, 110, 119, 129, 148, 158, 173, 194, 198, 202, 204, 205, 207, 212, 216, 219, 221, 226, 229, 231, 237, 241, 242, 249, 250, 251, 259, 260, 263, 269, 274, 275, 305, 338, 359, 361, 363, 365, 367, 380, 385, 386, 389, 393, 402, 409, 421, 432, 451, 457, 458, 459, and links therein. See also this thread, this one, this one, and this one.