Purgegate Update

PURGEGATE UPDATE….Why was Alberto Gonzales mad at his deputy, Paul McNulty, after McNulty spilled the beans about U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins being fired to make room for a pal of Karl Rove’s? Was it because he thought McNulty had the story wrong? Not really, according to Time magazine:

During a private interview with Judiciary Committee staffers [Kyle] Sampson said three times in as many minutes that Gonzales was angry with McNulty because he had exposed the White House’s involvement in the firings — had put its role “in the public sphere,” as Sampson phrased it, according to Congressional sources familiar with the interview.

Right. But why is everyone so hellbent on pretending the White House had nothing to do with the attorney firings? Here’s how the Time piece ends:

McNulty has told Congressional investigators that he was troubled to learn of the extent of White House involvement when Sampson told him March 8. That afternoon Sampson went to McNulty’s deputy, a forty-year Justice Department veteran named David Margolis, and read him e-mails showing the White House role. In an interview with Judiciary committee staffers, Margolis said he was stunned by the revelations, Congressional sources tell Time.

Sampson then went to McNulty’s office to read him the e-mails directly. Monica Goodling then came into Margolis’ office and proceeded to break down and cry for 30-40 minutes, sobbing that she had only wanted to serve the President, the Administration and the Department. Days later, Sampson and Goodling resigned.

Since the White House clearly has the legal authority to be as involved as it wants to be in the hiring and firing of U.S. Attorneys, there’s only one reason to try to cover it up: because something about that involvement was improper. When Goodling finally testifies, maybe we’ll find out what that was.

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation