The Spokane (Washington) Spokesman-Review reports Saturday on a speech given by former U.S. Attorney John McKay to the Federal Bar Association:
McKay said he was summoned to Washington, D.C., in June and questioned for eight hours about possible reasons for his firing by investigators with the Office of Inspector General, who will forward their final report to Congress. “My best guess is it will be released sometime next month,’’ and likely will include recommendations for criminal prosecutions of Gonzales and maybe others, McKay said.
Gonzales “lied about” reasons for the firings when questioned under oath in July by the Senate Judiciary Committee and now has hired a lawyer and is refusing to answer questions from the Inspector General, McKay said. The White House said McKay was fired for poor performance ratings of his office, but the ex-U.S. attorney said he and his office got exemplary reviews just three months before he was fired.
“The chief law enforcement officer for the United States should not lie under oath,’’ McKay told the bar association. It was reported last week that Gonzales has now retained a high-profile defense lawyer, and apparently is refusing to answer questions from the Inspector General, which could signify the investigation is nearly complete, McKay said.
“When it lands … it is going to be an extremely negative report on President Bush’s Justice Department,’’ McKay told the packed conference room, which included federal prosecutors and judges.
“There was a conspiracy to politicize the Justice Department,’’ the former U.S. attorney said, “and they did not get away with it.”
McKay also discussed the dismissal of the U.S. Attorneys in San Diego, Nevada and New Mexico. He noted that each of them had been lied to by Gonzales or his senior operatives. Among other things, McKay said, each had been told that he or she was the only U.S. Attorney who was being fired. “The Attorney General should not lie,” McKay stated. He went on to speculate that the Inspector General would conclude that Gonzales had told a number of lies under oath, and might recommend that criminal charges be brought against him. He linked this to Gonzales’s recent engagement of a prominent criminal defense attorney in Washington.