U.S. attorney timeline/April 10-June 11, 2007

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U.S. attorney timeline/April 10-June 11, 2007

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Contents

Summary of events from April 10-June 11, 2007

On April 10, 2007, the House Judiciary Committee served a subpoena to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. On April 19, 2007, Gonzales testified, saying he was unaware of the specific circumstances surrounding the firings, and repeating the phrase “I don’t recall” sixty-four times. During Gonzales’ testimony a number of Republican Senators called on him to resign, but following his testimony President Bush said he was even more confident in his Attorney General.

The White House acknowledged in April that its use of Republican National Committee email accounts rather than White House email accounts resulted in a loss of emails relating to the firings. The White House nonetheless urged the RNC not to supply its emails to the committees, in spite of Congressional subpoenas. The Senate did subpoena and receive other documents, however. Congress subpoenaed Rove emails, as well as White House and DOJ staff Sara Taylor, Monica Goodling with an offer of immunity, and James Comey, who testified and offered detailed accounts of two firings. The Senate Judiciary Committee also wrote to Bradley Schlozman, former head of DOJ’s Civil Rights Division who conducted voter fraud investigations while there and later took over for a ninth fired U.S. Attorney, Todd Graves. Congress also increased pressure on Senator Domenici, about whom they initiated an ethics investigation regarding his contacts to and about Iglesias prior to Iglesias’ resignation.

McNulty resigned on May 14, 2007, and the following day Gonzales said that McNulty was responsible for the firings. A week later Goodling testified. During her testimony, Goodling told the House Judiciary Committee that in an earlier meeting between her and Gonzales, Gonzales chronicled his own account of the late 2006 U.S. attorney dismissals, and asked if Goodling “had any reaction to his iteration.” Goodling told the committee that she did not respond to Gonzales, and that the conversation made her “a little uncomfortable.” In late May, Cummins’ replacement, Griffin, resigned.

Following Goodling’s testimony, the Department of Justice initiated its own investigation of Gonzales to discern whether he tried to influence Goodling’s testimony. Two House members offered a resolution calling for the firing of Gonzales, and Senators announced that they would hold a vote of “no-confidence” in the Attorney General. On June 11, 2007, the vote of “no-confidence” in the attorney general failed, with a number of Senators who had criticized Gonzales in the past voting against the “no-confidence” measure.

Timeline

April 10, 2007: Subpoena issued to Gonzales

On April 10, 2007, the House Judiciary Committee served a subpoena to Gonzales. The subpoena calls for the turnover of full text of all documents that had been partially or completely redacted in the Justice Department's document dump (see above). House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) stated in a letter accompanying the subpoena that "further delay in receiving these materials will not serve any constructive purpose." [1]

April 11, 2007: White House acknowledges emails lost in outside email accounts

On April 11, 2007, the White House acknowledged "that e-mails dealing with official government business may have been lost because they were improperly sent through private accounts intended to be used for political activities."[2]

April 12 and 13, 2007: Senate subpoenas, receives, additional documents

On April 12, 2007, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to authorize subpoenas for relevant White House documents, J. Scott Jennings, special assistant to the president and deputy director of political affairs, and William Moschella, principal associate deputy attorney general. Senate Democrats threatened to issue the subpoenas if Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was not forthcoming in his April 17 testimony before the committee. [3]

It was also alleged that White House staffers used their Republic National Committee email accounts in order to avoid scrutiny. On April 12, 2007, Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) of the House Judiciary Committee wrote a letter requesting the release of the related emails. [4] Despite the calls from democrats to release the emails, the White House urged the Republican National Committee to not turn them over. [5]

On April 13, 2007, the Department of Justice turned over more documents relating to the planning and handling of the firings. Included in these documents were the names of possible replacements for the dismissed attorneys, bringing statements made by Sampson in his testimony before Congress under question. [6]

Also included, but not made immediately public, were the names of other U.S. attorneys considered for replacement. According to a report by McClatchy Newspapers, the U.S. attorney for eastern Wisconsin, Steven M. Biskupic, was included on a list. Biskupic, as U.S. attorney, brought at least a dozen cases against Republican contributors or individuals with party ties as well as declining to prosecute several allegations of Democratic voter fraud pushed by Republicans. [7]

April 17, 2007: White House urges RNC not to turn over emails

The White House, in a letter dated April 17, 2007, urged the RNC to not turn over emails without prior White House review.[8]

April 17, 2007: Domenici subject of Ethics inquiry

The Senate Ethics Committee confirmed suspicions that Domenici was the subject of a "preliminary inquiry" in the language of a resolution passed on April 17, 2007. The "inquiry" is investigating alleged communication between Domenici and fired U.S. Attorney David Iglesias. [9]

April 19, 2007: Gonzales testifies

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He accepted responsibility for the firings, but said he was unaware of the specific processes surrounding each of the firings. According to the Senate, Gonzales says, “I don’t recall” sixty-four times.

  • Gonzales says that he never planned to use the changed Patriot Act to circumvent the Senate’s authority. But he cannot explain why, regarding Bud Cummins, his chief of staff Kyle Sampson planned to avoid Senator Pryor’s input at the same time that the Attorney General assured Pryor that he would be consulted.
  • Gonzales said he regrets saying that the eight US Attorneys had "lost his confidence" after acknowledging that he never investigated why the particular attorneys were fired before making the statement.
  • Gonzales expected Carol Lam to know the complaints Main Justice had with her performance, despite the fact that she was never contacted by the Department.
  • Gonzales acknowledges that the Justice Department should be sensitive to the timing of investigations that might hamper voter turnout.
  • Gonzales stands by his decision to fire the attorneys as the "right thing to do."

During the hearing, Republican Senator Coburn (R-Okla.) calls on Gonzales to resign, as do Senators Graham (R-S.C.) and Sessions (R-AL).[10]

Again, add separate page/list with calls for resignation, and calls of criticism, as well as those who voted against censure in spite of prior criticism

April 23, 2007: Bush more confident in Gonzales post-hearing

Following Gonzales' testimony, President Bush announced that he was even more confident in his Attorney General than he was before the testimony.[11]

April 25, 2007: Prior convinced Gonzales should resign

Even after meeting with Attorney General Gonzales, Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) reaffirms his belief that Gonzales should resign.[12]

April 25, 2007: Taylor and Goodling issued subpoenas

On April 25, 2007, the House Judiciary Committee voted to authorize a subpoena for Goodling with an offer of immunity.[13] The Senate Judiciary Committee authorized a subpoena for Sara Taylor.

May 1, 2007: Former Deputy Attorney General Comey issued a subpoena

On May 1, 2007, the House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena to former Deputy Attorney General James Comey. Comey served under Gonzales when discussions between the Department of Justice and White House concerning the removal of the eight U.S. attorneys occurred. Comey agreed to testify before Congress on May 3, 2007. [14]

In Comey's May 3 testimony he claimed to be unaware of the plans to fire the eight U.S. attorneys. In his further testimony he offered praise for seven of the fired eight U.S. attorneys' job performance. [15]

May 2, 2007: Rove emails subpoenaed

On May 2, 2007, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary issued a subpoena for all e-mails from White House adviser Karl Rove that relate to the firings of eight U.S. attorneys. [16]

May 3, 2007: Comey testifies

Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee, drawing contrasts between his interactions with the fired U.S. Attorneys and the Justice Department's descriptions. Comey also explains at length the firing process that took place for two Attorneys.[17]

May 7, 2007: Senate Committee writes Schlozman

On May 7, 2007, Sens. Leahy and Specter wrote Bradley Schlozman, the former deputy head of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, requesting cooperation in the Senate Judiciary Committee's investigation. It is alleged that Schlozman was at least partly responsible for the politicization of the Department's hiring process, tried minimize dissent within the Department by dismissing attorneys, as well as bringing a group of voter fraud indictments just before the 2006 election when he was the U.S. Attorney for Kansas City. [18]

May 8, 2007: Possible ninth fired attorney discusses his resignation

Amidst the investigation into Schlozman, the House Judiciary Committee decided to have the attorney who Schlozman replaced, Todd Graves, testify on May 15, 2007. In a statement issued on May 8, Graves suggests that he was asked to resign and, although he "loved every minute" of his work, complied in order to "take a graceful exit [rather] than to do something that you should be ashamed of." [19]

May 14, 2007: Deputy Attorney General resigns

Citing personal reasons, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty submitted his letter of resignation on May 14, 2007. His resignation would take effect later in the summer. [20]

May 15, 2007: Gonzales places firings' burden on McNulty

On May 15, the day after McNulty resigned, Gonzales said that "at the end of the day, the decisions reflected the views of the deputy attorney general. He signed off on the names" adding that McNulty still stood by the decisions after Sampson's testimony. Gonzales further stated that McNulty should have been more directly involved in the handling of the situation. [21]

May 15, 2007: Leahy berates Gonzales for not complying with subpoena

On May 15, 2007. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) sent a letter to Alberto Gonzales berating him for not complying with the Congressional subpoena for the release of Karl Rove's emails regarding the firing of 8 U.S. attorneys.[22]

May 16, 2007: Leahy threatens White House subpoeanas

On May 16, 2007, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) sent a letter to the White House, threatening subpoenas over the Bush Administration's involvement in the decisions to fire 8 U.S. attorneys.[23]

May 16, 2007: House Committee has ninth dismissed attorney testify

Amidst the investigation into Schlozman, the House Judiciary Committee decided to have the attorney who Schlozman replaced, Todd Graves, testify on May 15, 2007. In a statement issued on May 8, Graves suggests that he was asked to resign and, although he "loved every minute" of his work, complied in order to "take a graceful exit [rather] than to do something that you should be ashamed of." [24]

May 21, 2007: Resolution calling for the firing of Alberto Gonzales offered

On May 21, 2007, Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Artur Davis (D-Ala.) have introduced a resolution calling for President Bush to fire Attorney General Alberto Gonzales because he failed to "assure the public that the laws of the nation are being enforced in an independent, nonpartisan and judicious manner."[25]

May 23, 2007: Goodling details "uncomfortable" conversation with Gonzales

During her testimony, Goodling told the House Judiciary Committee that in an earlier meeting between her and Gonzales, Gonzales chronicled his own account of the late 2006 U.S. attorney dismissals, and asked if Goodling "had any reaction to his iteration."[26] Goodling told the committee that she did not respond to Gonzales, and that the conversation made her "a little uncomfortable." The Department of Justice division investigating Gonzales has the authority to refer matters for criminal prosecution if it finds sufficient evidence to do so.[27]

Late May, 2007: Cummins replacement, Tim Griffin, resigns

In late May, 2007, U.S. attorney Tim Griffin resigned from his post. Griffin was appointed to replace Bud Cummins after Cummins was fired in late 2006. At the time, it was expected that Griffin may join the presidential campaign of former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.).[28]

Late May, 2007: Senators announce Gonzales no-confidence vote

In late May, Senate leaders announced that a “no confidence” vote on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales would be held in June. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) justified the move, stating “Make no mistake about it: We are moving forward…When a situation becomes so serious that there’s a crisis in leadership of this magnitude, a Congress not only has the right to weigh in, we have a responsibility to take action. And we will.”[29]

Early June, 2007: DOJ begins own investigation into firings and Gonzales' action

Following congressional inquiry into the issue, the Justice Department began its own inquiry into the U.S. attorney firings. Following the May, 2007 testimony of former senior Gonzales aid Monica Goodling, in June, 2007 the Department began investigating whether Gonzales attempted to influence her testimony.

During her testimony, Goodling told the House Judiciary Committee that in a May 23, 2007 meeting between her and Gonzales, Gonzales chronicled his own account of the late 2006 U.S. attorney dismissals, and asked if Goodling "had any reaction to his iteration."[30] Goodling told the committee that she did not respond to Gonzales, and that the conversation made her "a little uncomfortable." The Department of Justice division investigating Gonzales has the authority to refer matters for criminal prosecution if it finds sufficient evidence to do so.[31]

The text of the letter from the Department of Justice to the Senate Judiciary Committee informing the committee of the department's investigation of Gonzales can be found here: "DOJ letter regarding investigation of Gonzales-Goodling meeting" [32]

June 8, 2007: Schumer announces date of Gonzales no-confidence vote

On June 8, Schumer announced that the vote would be held on Monday, June 11.[33]

June 11, 2007: Gonzales no-confidence vote fails

On June 11, 2007, the vote of no confidence failed to get the 60 votes needed for cloture despite widespread disapproval of Alberto Gonzales from both Republican and Democratic senators. Senate Democrats attributed the resolution's failure to Republican support for the President rather than their actual opinions on Gonzales' performance.[34] Republicans argued that the vote itself was just political theater, and that their time would be better spent on the immigration bill rather than criticizing Gonzales. President Bush commented, “This process has been drug out [sic] a long time, which says to me it’s political... And I’ll make the determination if I think [Gonzales] is effective or not.”[35]


Articles and resources

See also

References

  1. Laurie Kellman, "House panel subpoenas Gonzales documents," Associated Press, April 10, 2007.
  2. Michael Abromowitz and Dan Eggen, "White House E-Mail Lost in Private Accounts," Washington Post, April 11, 2007.
  3. Susan Crabtree, "Senate Dems warn Gonzales: We want real answers," The Hill, April 12, 2007.
  4. Paul Kiel, "House Dems Press for RNC Emails," TPMmuckraker, April 12, 2007.
  5. Paul Kiel, "White House to RNC: Don't You Give Those Emails to Dems," TPMmuckraker, April 17, 2007.
  6. Paul Kiel, "Sampson Suggested Replacements Revealed," TPMmuckraker, April 13, 2007.
  7. Margaret Talev and Marisa Taylor, "U.S. attorney asserts politics had no place in his decisions," McClatchy Washington Bureau, April 14, 2007.
  8. Paul Kiel, "White House to RNC: Don't You Give Those Emails to Dems," TPM Muckraker, April 17, 2007.
  9. John Bresnahan, "Senate Ethics Confirms Domenici Probe Over U.S. Attorney Firing," Politico, April 17, 2007.
  10. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  11. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  12. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  13. Paul Kiel, "House Committee Authorizes Subpoena for Goodling," TPMmuckraker, April 25, 2007.
  14. Jeremy Jacobs, "House panel subpoenas former Gonzales deputy," The Hill, May 1, 2007.
  15. " Ex-Justice official praises most fired U.S. attorneys," CNN, May 3, 2007.
  16. Klaus Marre, "Leahy issues subpoena for Rove e-mails," The Hill, May 2, 2007.
  17. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  18. Paul Kiel, "Senate Committee Wants to Hear from Schlozman," TPMmuckraker, May 7, 2007.
  19. Laura McGann, "MO U.S.A. Is Ninth Purged Prosecutor," TPMmuckraker, May 9, 2007.
  20. " No. 2 official at Justice Department resigns," CNN, May 14, 2007.
  21. Mike Soraghan, "Gonzales puts firings on McNulty’s shoulders," The Hill, May 15, 2007.
  22. Jeremy Jacobs, "Leahy, Specter slam Gonzales for bucking subpoena," The Hill, May 16, 2007.
  23. Klaus Marre, "Leahy threatens White House with subpoenas," The Hill, May 16, 2007.
  24. Laura McGann, "MO U.S.A. Is Ninth Purged Prosecutor," TPMmuckraker, May 9, 2007.
  25. Klaus Marre, "Schiff introduces Gonzales no-confidence resolution," The Hill, May 21, 2007.
  26. Dan Eggen, "DOJ Investigates if Gonzales Tried to Influence Aide's Testimony," Washington Post, June 14, 2007.
  27. Dan Eggen, "DOJ Investigates if Gonzales Tried to Influence Aide's Testimony," Washington Post, June 14, 2007.
  28. Michael D. Shear and Dan Balz, "Thompson Bid Would Stir Up GOP Race," Washington Post, May 31, 2007.
  29. Kara Oppenheim, “Senate to hold Gonzales no-confidence vote in June,” The Hill, May 24, 2007.
  30. Dan Eggen, "DOJ Investigates if Gonzales Tried to Influence Aide's Testimony," Washington Post, June 14, 2007.
  31. Dan Eggen, "DOJ Investigates if Gonzales Tried to Influence Aide's Testimony," Washington Post, June 14, 2007.
  32. Glenn A. Fine, "Inspector General Fine to Leahy and Specter," Talking Points Memo Document Collection, June 14, 2007.
  33. Jeremy Jacobs, "Schumer: Gonzales no-confidence vote Monday," The Hill, June 8, 2007.
  34. Elana Schor, "Gonzales cloture push falls seven votes short" The Hill, June 11, 2007.
  35. Elana Schor, "Gonzales cloture push falls seven votes short" The Hill, June 11, 2007.

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