BUSH AND THE PURGE….The New York Times has the latest on Purgegate:
The White House was deeply involved in the decision late last year to dismiss federal prosecutors, including some who had been criticized by Republican lawmakers, administration officials said Monday.
Last October, President Bush spoke with Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales to pass along concerns by Republicans that some prosecutors were not aggressively addressing voter fraud, the White House said Monday.
But which voter fraud are we talking about? Presumably one of the cases is that of John McKay, the Seattle U.S. Attorney who was insufficiently zealous in digging up dirt that might have helped defeat the Democratic candidate in a tight governor’s race in Washington in 2004. Are there any others? Any cases of being insufficiently zealous in uncovering alleged Republican voter fraud?
I’m guessing not. But as long as they’ve told us this much, let’s hear the whole story. Which cases of voter fraud are we talking about? Once they’ve told us, we can all make up our own minds about whether this affair is as nonpartisan as the White House claims.
UPDATE: The Washington Post has an even better story tonight based on emails and documents they’ve viewed. One tidbit:
The documents also provide new details about the case of [Tim] Griffin, a former Rove aide and Republican National Committee researcher who was named interim U.S. attorney in Little Rock in December.
E-mails show that Justice officials discussed bypassing the two Democratic senators in Arkansas, who normally would have had input into the appointment, as early as last August. By mid-December, Sampson was suggesting that Gonzales exercise his newfound appointment authority to put Griffin in place until the end of Bush’s term.
“There is some risk that we’ll lose the authority, but if we don’t ever exercise it then what’s the point of having it?” Sampson wrote to a White House aide. “(I’m not 100 percent sure that Tim was the guy on which to test drive this authority, but know that getting him appointed was important to Harriet, Karl, etc.).”
Important to Harriet and Karl! Inquiring minds want to know why. Read the whole thing.
UPDATE 2: Robert reports that the final line (in parentheses) is now missing from the Post story. That’s peculiar. It might have just gotten cut for space in the print edition and then cut to match online, but it seems like an unusually juicy quote to get rid of.