No Comment — June 13, 2007, 1:24 pm

U.S. Attorneys Scandal – Little Rock: All Roads Lead to Rove

I’ve now heard from several sources within the Administration that a significant part of the documents which are being withheld–both by the Department of Justice and the White House–demonstrate Karl Rove’s on-going dabbling in the internal affairs of the Justice Department, including the management of cases under investigation or being prosecuted and the process of removing and appointing various U.S. attorneys. I also continue to hear that Fred Fielding has argued in favor of disclosure of at least a large part of these documents, but that Alberto Gonzales and Karl Rove himself are absolutely adamant about withholding them–for fairly obvious reason that they would tend to incriminate both Gonzales and Rove.

Last night there was another fairly modest document dump by the Department of Justice. The new documents include a group of emails from February 2007, in which Rove’s senior adjutants react to the initial disclosures Tim Griffin–a Rove protégé–had been installed as the federal prosecutor in Little Rock. Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty had acknowledged that Cummins was moved out to create a vacancy for Griffin. The documents tie Rove’s office firmly to the decision to remove Cummins and to orchestrate a cover-up. The documents can be examined here, and they contain some small, rough gems. For instance, a deliberation of whether or not to attack the departing U.S. attorneys, some rage over their discussion with the press of the circumstances for their departure, and a lot of concern about Griffin, who (transparently) is being groomed for high political office. The most important thing revealed, however, as properly flagged in this McClatchy article, is the rage against Paul J. McNulty for disclosing a little bit of the truth.

The White House’s former political director was furious at Justice Department officials for disclosing to Congress that the administration had forced out the U.S. attorney in Little Rock, Ark., to make way for a protege of Karl Rove, President Bush’s political adviser, according to documents released late Tuesday. Then-White House political affairs director Sara Taylor spelled out her frustrations in a Feb. 16 e-mail to Kyle Sampson, then the chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

She sent the message after Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty told the Senate that unlike other federal prosecutors, U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins wasn’t fired for performance reasons, but to make way for former Republican political operative Tim Griffin. Griffin, serving as the interim U.S. attorney, then announced that he wouldn’t seek confirmation to the Arkansas post, but would remain until the Senate confirmed someone else. Griffin has since resigned.

“Tim was put in a horrible position; hung out to dry w/ no heads up,” Taylor lashed out in the e-mail, which was sent from a Republican Party account rather than from her White House e-mail address. “This is not good for his long-term career.”

Taylor has since departed, and it seems reasonable to assume that this and other documents were held up from release at least until she could be separated from the White House.

It’s simply amazing that the Judiciary Committee has not let loose the cache of subpoenas which have long been authorized. The pattern of deception and evasion is now clear, and the tiny dribble of documents can hardly justify their inaction. Against this background, Senator Leahy’s statement is curiously restrained:

These documents, which should have been released by the Department long ago, provide further evidence that White House officials like former Political Director Sara Taylor were deeply involved in the mass firings of well-performing prosecutors. The Department of Justice should not be reduced to a political arm of the White House. We need an end to the White House’s stonewalling of our investigations so we can learn the truth.

The answer, Senator, is to issue the subpoenas and raise the pressure for compliance. The displays of goodwill up to this point have been very one-sided.

Share
Single Page

More from Scott Horton:

From the April 2015 issue

Company Men

Torture, treachery, and the CIA

Six Questions October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm

The APA Grapples with Its Torture Demons: Six Questions for Nathaniel Raymond

Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.

No Comment, Six Questions June 4, 2014, 8:00 am

Uncovering the Cover Ups: Death Camp in Delta

Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

July 2015

One Day Less

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Dressed to Kill

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Wrong Prescription?

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Travel Day

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Fugue State

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Avian Voices·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The mockingbird’s bath is an orgy of thrashing and writhing about. When he has finished, one of the innocents alights on the rim of the basin and looks with disbelief at the thimble of water remaining.”
Illustration by Eric Hanson
[Browsings]
Before the War·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“I’m worried that what the Houthis did to push Yemen into a civil conflict in September 2014, the Saudis may end up doing again when they end their campaign by eliminating the Houthis.”
Photograph by Alex Potter
Article
The Speakeasy·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“In order to understand how Marty’s could survive as an institution, I returned a year after my first visit to spend a week at what was sure to be the world’s bleakest comedy club.”
Photograph by Mike Slack
Post
The Lost Land·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“I had first encountered some of these volumes—A Swiftly Tilting Planet, The Giver—as a child, and during adolescence, they registered as postcards from a homeland recently abandoned.”
Photograph by the author
Article
Wrong Prescription?·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Whatever the slogans suggested, the A.C.A. was never meant to include everyone.”
Illustration by Taylor Callery

Estimated cost of the environmental damage caused each year by the world’s 3,000 largest companies:

$2,200,000,000,000

Two thirds of U.S. teenagers experience uncontrollable rage.

Beekeepers began extracting 1 million honeybees living beneath the siding of a house in New York State.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Subways Are for Sleeping

By

“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”

Subscribe Today