Schumer, Dems Don't Fall for Bush Admin. Trap, Maintain Focus on Rove
by Jonathan Singer, Thu Mar 15, 2007 at 03:24:08 PM EDT
With a second Republican Senator (both of whom are unsurprisingly up for reelection in blue states next fall) joining the call for Alberto Gonzales to resign as Attorney General, the effort by Republicans and the Bush administration to designate the Justice Department and its chief as the fall guys for the prosecutor purge scandal is now clearly in full swing. Unfortunately for the White House and the GOP, Democrats just aren't taking the bait. Per a release from the office of Senator Chuck Schumer:
"New emails show conclusively that Karl Rove was in the middle of this mess from the beginning. It is now imperative that he testify before Congress and give all the details of his involvement both in the proposal to fire the 93 U.S. Attorneys in the beginning of George Bush's second term, and his involvement in the firing of the individual eight U.S. Attorneys who were fired throughout 2006. If the White House prevents Karl Rove from testifying, it will be thumbing its nose at the American people and at the rule of law. The reason it's so imperative that people testify under oath is that every time new information comes out, it proves that the White House was not telling the truth in their previous statements. Statements from those involved have proved to be false, false, false, time after time after time."
-U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer
Jan Crawford Greenburg has the details of this new document dump for ABC News.
New unreleased e-mails from top administration officials show that the idea of firing all 93 U.S. attorneys was raised by White House adviser Karl Rove in early January 2005, indicating Rove was more involved in the plan than the White House previously acknowledged.
According to a senior White House official who has seen the e-mail exchange the Justice Department is preparing to release, "It does not contradict what we have said and it's not inconsistent with what we have said."
The e-mails also show that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales discussed the idea of firing the attorneys en masse weeks before he was confirmed as attorney general.
The e-mails directly contradict White House assertions that the notion originated with recently departed White House counsel Harriet Miers, and was her idea alone.
Two independent sources in a position to know have described the contents of the e-mail exchange, which could be released as early as Friday. They put Rove at the epicenter of the imbroglio and raise questions about Gonzales' explanations of the matter.
Now in writing above that there is an effort to shift attention out of the White House and into the DoJ, I do not mean to suggest that there is not a need for Gonzales and those who work under him to be held accountable for their actions. They certainly have done wrong on their own. But at the same time, attention on their misdeeds should not cause people to overlook the important fact that, as evidenced by these emails as well as previous revelations, those in the White House -- and Karl Rove, in particular -- are very culpable for the improprieties that surrounded the purge and attempted partisanization of United States Attorneys. So kudos to Schumer for keeping the heat on Rove at exactly the right time.