More On Those Fired US Attorneys

Kim posted earlier about the recent firing of the eight US attorneys. I have not blogged about it before now because I learned back in 1993 that it was no big deal when Bill Clinton fired 93 US Attorneys when he took office, including at least one that was working on investigations into his dealings in Arkansas. Even as weary as I am of the Clintons, when I heard a few US attorneys were fired that was the first thought that came to mind.

Followed, of course, by the remembrance of the firing of the White House Travel Office by the Clintons to make room for a Clinton cousin. It is hard not to immediately think of Bill Dale when the subject of White House firings is raised. (For those too young to remember Travelgate, check out Barbara Olson’s book, Hell to Pay.)

Pointing to the other side’s behavior does not constitute an argument in defense of the recent firings. I don’t know whether or not the recent firings were deserved, but it is the prerogative of the President to fire them if they were not performing to his satisfaction. The fact that few media reports include a reference to the Clinton firings is a much more important story, in my opinion, than the firings themselves. The breathless reporting of the (cue sinister music) firings gives the impression, to anyone who doesn’t know anything about politics or similar actions by previous administrations, that some horrible crime has been committed and that this is a serious scandal. The mainstream media is actively misleading their audiences by leaving out relevant information and context by refusing to reference activities of the previous administration.

When I hear a bunch of liberals in the political arena and in the media jumping up and down all indignant about something that pales in comparison to some of the things that went on during the previous administration, I have a hard time taking them seriously. If it was not deemed wrong when Bill Clinton did it, then I certainly don’t see how it can be viewed as wrong now. Sorry, but I am just not sensing any authenticity in this recent liberal/media outrage.

“Reality Check” found the following:

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales appeared on five broadcast and cable network TV morning shows to comment on the sudden media-manufactured “crisis” that the Justice Department fired eight U.S. Attorneys, political appointees of the President. None of the Gonzales interviewers – at ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and FNC – ever mentioned that the Clinton administration fired all 93 U.S. Attorneys in 1993. How can firing eight be a “crisis” and firing 93 be not worth a solitary mention?

Hillary Needs a Vacation looks at how ridiculously hypocritical (and bold) it is for Hillary Clinton to be critical of the firings.

Stories like this not only show the true bias of a media out to get the current President, but also show how secure those in the media and Democrats like Hillary Clinton are that their double standards and hypocrisy will not be exposed. Thanks to people like Brent Bozell and others in the new media, they are being exposed. Now the question is whether or not they will be exposed in the mainstream media or if the facts will remain hidden from the viewers of ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN.

Update: Patterico has a post about the emails which provide evidence that the firings were not motivated by a desire to affect political investigations.

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  • kim

    Herman, go read Patterico about this. You are welcome to your filtered version of the facts, but at least read some real emails.
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  • nogo postal

    Jo…you are absolutely right..Clinton did not leave office until 2001…can i assume you agree with my my other points?

  • Lee

    From the story linked by Adrian above:

    The e-mail exchange is dated early January 2005, more than a month before the White House acknowledged it was considering firing all the U.S. attorneys. On its face, the plan is not improper, inappropriate or even unusual: The president has the right to fire U.S. attorneys at any time, and presidents have done so when they took office.

    What has made the issue a political firestorm is the White House’s insistence that the idea came from Miers and was swiftly rejected.

    White House press secretary Tony Snow told reporters Tuesday that Miers had suggested firing all 93, and that it was “her idea only.” Snow said Miers’ idea was quickly rejected by the Department of Justice.

    The latest e-mails show that Gonzales and Rove were both involved in the discussion, and neither rejected it out of hand.

    According to the e-mails, Rove raised the issue with then-deputy White House Counsel David Leitch, prompting Leitch to e-mail Kyle Sampson, then a lawyer for the Justice Department. Sampson moved over to the Justice Department after working with Gonzales at the White House.

    Now what the hell was Rove doing getting involved in this business?

    And why did the White House lie and say it was Miers idea?

    And why did Miers resign abruptly?

  • drjohn

    Liberals are so daft it’s astonishing.

    Someone please explain to them what is meant by “Serves at the pleasure of the President.”

    The LAT had an article in which the reasons for the firings were explained.Bush was thinking of changing them all.

    Then again, it still doesn’t matter. Bush can release them at any time.

    Bush has handled this poorly (I know, I know, it’s nothing new). He ought to have come right out and told Leahy to shove it- or better yet had Cheney deliver another message to Leahy. Cheney knows how to handle Leahy.

  • kim

    Lee, why shouldn’t Rove have been involved in 2005? It was a good idea in 1993. Maybe this latest round was Miers’ idea. Maybe she thought she did it in clumsy fashion.
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  • jhow66

    You tell us all knowing “pucker puss” (lee lee) (RTP) (RM). You have the “ditto” key.

    To hansel2: 2 words–sock puppet. Heard that little didie before. How about carrots instead? (ps good to see you back under another name-wink wink)

  • Mike

    The Whitewater case didn’t save the first President Bush, although it was later revived as a costly pseudo-scandal. More pertinent today is what happened to Banks and Lewis–and the U.S. attorney’s office in Little Rock.
    The honest Banks forfeited his promised judgeship and returned to private practice with his political career ended. The incompetent Lewis appeared before the Senate Whitewater Committee, where she lied repeatedly before “fainting” under examination by the Democratic counsel. She then disappeared from public view until 2003, when the White House rewarded her with an important federal job. Those who had observed Lewis in action were astonished when she was named chief of staff to the Pentagon inspector general, at a salary of $118,000 a year.

  • jpe

    Bush will ultimately dump Gonzales, is my guess, but he will wait until the full boatload of shit hits the fan so that his dumping of Gonzales is at the conclusion rather than the middle of the brouhaha.

    I think he’ll ditch Gonzalez before it hits the fan, eg, next week before the DoJ staffers have a chance to testify.

  • To: kim
    Re: Paul’s deletion of comments

    Don’t take it personally with Paul. He’s just a strange control freak. However, it should be noted that comments only serve at the pleasure of the article’s poster. If they do not please him or meet his standards for any reason, they may be deleted as per wizbang posting policy.

  • Rob LA Ca.

    “Point in fact is, Rob, there’s always finesse to statistics unless you can provide a link to prove it otherwise.”

    Take that up with your fearless leaders Hilary Rotten and Fraud Kerry, I was merely regergitating their talking points.

  • OhioVoter

    Haven’t read all the comments, but have to ask about this one …

    Not totally true. First of all, firing an attorney who won’t investigate bogus charges and replacing him with one who will might fall under obstruction of justice (although admittedly a bit backwards).

    How do you know a charge is is “bogus” before investigating it?

    For example, *not* investigating the 2004 Washington state’s governor’s race would be considered a cover-up – not investigating it. Anytime the third recount changes the outcome of the first two, an investigation would be prudent even if it did nothing more than allay people suspicions that something was done incorrectly.

    Do you think it’s OK for him to fire an attorney who won’t give a job to Jenna? Do you think it’s OK for him to fire an attorney who won’t donate to Jeb’s next campaign? Do you think it’s OK for him to fire an attorney who is starting a criminal investigation into daddy Bush’s dealings?

    Historically, the answer to that question has been “yes” on the part of past presidents and their supporters.

    Recall the case of the woman who Monica Lewinsky spilled her guts to and who went public with the information? (Sorry, I can never remember that person’s name.) She was fired on the last day of the Clinton administration. You can’t seriously tell me that Clinton didn’t enjoy that.

    Why did she get fired? Because she refused to resign. She was part a huge class of federal workers who are expected to voluntary resign at the end of the term of the current president. Those who didn’t weren’t fired, of course, but they still were out of a job none-the-less. “Serve at the pleasure of the president” covers far more than just these attorneys being discussed.

    That’s why this comment is silly:

    In addition to ousting the fired attorneys because they didn’t sit up and bark when the Republican congressmen tried to jerk their chains, Bushco was sending a clear message to the remaining attorneys to toe the Republican Party line or lose your job.

    How scared can a group of lawyers, who already know they will be out of a job in less than two years, be about what Bush could do to them?

  • For example, *not* investigating the 2004 Washington state’s governor’s race would be considered a cover-up – not investigating it. Anytime the third recount changes the outcome of the first two, an investigation would be prudent even if it did nothing more than allay people suspicions that something was done incorrectly.
    So, if someone called up the US attorney to suggest that you should be investigated for multiple homicide, they should start an investigation? I think they only start investigating when presented with actual evidence of a crime. No evidence = no investigation. In Washington, the Republicans were upset that they didn’t win the recount, so they wanted to go fishing for voter fraud. Of course, they did file a case of their own and went to court over the decision:

    Judge Bridges’ ruling was seen as a comprehensive defeat for Rossi. The judge admitted nearly every piece of evidence the Republican Party offered and then wrote a thorough, tough opinion rejecting the Republicans’ claims (while criticizing the administration of the election, particularly in King County); Rossi was left with very little legal ground for a successful appeal. After receiving such a negative verdict, Rossi declined to appeal to the State Supreme Court, claiming that the political makeup of the Court would make it impossible for him to win, thereby ending all legal challenges to the election of Gregoire as the Governor of Washington.

    With all the recent blasting of Fitzgerald, I would think that McKay’s discretion in this matter would be appreciated, especially since the Republican challenge received its day in court and was determined to be without merit.

  • stop making thisridiculous comparison… Yes, Clinton fired all these people but GUESS WHAT? he got congressional approval for the replacements — WHICH IS THE LAW. he didn’t send out emails asking who’s loyal to him and then fire the ones who worked. he didn’t try and do it on the sly using the shady clause in the PATRIOT ACT in order to do it. This was just a test to see if the Bush Admin could get away with it. If they had, there’d have been more. Thank gawd we have whistle blowers now in the media. If they had balls before the Iraq War, things might have been slightly different.

  • Brian

    Recall the case of the woman who Monica Lewinsky spilled her guts to

    You’re equating some knucklehead who didn’t resign when it was customary to (as per my question) someone Bush would fire for not donating to Jeb’s campaign?

  • OhioVoter

    So, if someone called up the US attorney to suggest that you should be investigated for multiple homicide, they should start an investigation? I think they only start investigating when presented with actual evidence of a crime. No evidence = no investigation. In Washington, the Republicans were upset that they didn’t win the recount, so they wanted to go fishing for voter fraud.

    Joe, you are going to have to forgive my cynicism. I still see the election in Ohio in 2004 called “invalid” because of the length of time people reportedly stood in line in counties controlled by Democratic Board of Elections – the same Board of Elections who, post elections, sued the Secretary of State to stop any efforts on his part to alleviate the “alleged inequities” in their areas with new equipment. The same people who were screaming bias on election night in front of the world wanted nothing changed when the cameras were off.

    I’ve seen the 2000 election called fraudulent because people “just knew” who those voters who voted for no presidential candidate or voted for two candidates “reallly wanted” to vote for despite the lack of evidence to back of their claims. Given that we were the choice of two idiots in 2000, a “no vote” for president was an extremely understandable choice – none the less there were those rushing to deprive voters of the right to make that choice when it suited their purpose.

    It’s not my fault that the threshhold for what constitutes “voter fraud” in this country has been lowered to the point its virtually meaningless. It does, however, appear to be the rules of the game at this time. Now, I give you that, in a state election, it should be the state legal system investigating it, but I would also question – given the actions of King County in this matter – if a fair state hearing on the question was even possible.

    BTW, I am amused that you chose a WIKI source for your “proof”. Working for a college, I didn’t know anyone took them seriously anymore. Given their two recent – and extreme scandals about their veracity, I am even more surprised that you would use it.

    Given that you used it as “proof” and even it criticized the WAY THE ELECTION WAS RUN, I find it funnier.

    As to waiting for the public to come forward with evidence of election fraud ….. been there, done that, got the t-shirt. After my experience in 2006, I know that “evidence of election fraud” means the person making the complaint had to do their own investigation first. My local Board of Elections canceled thousands of voter registrations when the confirmation cards were returned to them despite the fact all the cards were from voters living on the same streets and no cards were marked in anyway as undeliverable by the post office. They never questioned why until I asked and plan no follow up inquiry afterward. No other agency or office has even responded to my inquiries.

  • OhioVoter

    You’re equating some knucklehead who didn’t resign when it was customary to (as per my question) someone Bush would fire for not donating to Jeb’s campaign?

    So you are fine with federal employees – who did not necessarily get their jobs from the current President – being told they had to resign or be fired when that President leaves office for no other reason than he is leaving office?

    You have not proven “why” these particular attorneys were fired. Therefore you question was a hypothetical one.

    You seem to fine with people who may have worked through 2 or 3 different administrations losing their jobs for no other reason than he wants them to resign.

    Truthfully, I assumed that you weren’t being serious in asking the question as a result.

    However, since you say you are …. ; – )

    By law, I believe that no federal employee can be fired for failing to donate to a particular campaign. Now, there was testimony given that John Conyers staff were required to spend time campaiging for his election despite the laws prohibiting such actions. Those testifying indicated that they felt their jobs were on the line if they didn’t. As I recall, the Ethics Committee of Congress gave Conyers a slap on the wrist and told him that he had “minunderstood” the rules. Accordingly, Conyers – in his 21st term in Congress – announced that he would modify his past actions in the future to fix his “misunderstanding”.

    Janet Reno remained Attorney General for all 8 years of the Clinton Presidency despite Waco. That alone indicates she was willing to do favors for someone to keep her job.

    She should have taken responsibility and resigned. Failing that, she should have been fired. Given the perespective that she survived that incident virtually without condemnation makes the actions of other Attorney Generals pale in comparision.

    As to failing to give someone a job…. *shrug* – well, we know the opposite was true. Several high ranking Clinton officials spent considerable time looking for a high paying job for Monica Lewinsky when it was helpful to the President. How many other federal employees did those individuals try to find jobs for? What happened to those who refused?

  • OhioVoter,

    Words are cheap. The 2004 and 2000 elections were both called invalid and fraudulent by some people, but both stood, neither was overturned, and, as far as I know, neither was investigated for voter fraud by a US Attorney (though I’m welcome to see evidence that they were, perhaps my memory is faulty here). Why is the 2004 Washington Governor’s election so special with its allegations? Or perhaps you’re saying that all of these should have had rigorous investigations by US Attorneys.

    The US Attorney in Washington was a Republican, appointed by George Bush. If there was any reason to investigate this, I’d think that he would have done so. I appreciate that he had the guts to tell people that he wasn’t going to waste his time on a political witchhunt. That kind of integrity is the sort of thing that will cost you in the modern world, especially if you are associated with the Bush administration.

    BTW, I am amused that you chose a WIKI source for your “proof”.
    I just used wiki as an easy source of information. If you have differing evidence, please present it. Otherwise, shooting the messenger makes you look like you’ve got nothing.

    As to waiting for the public to come forward with evidence of election fraud
    I believe that everything that the Republicans had in this case was allowed and presented in court. What it amounted to was not much.

  • OhioVoter

    Joe, did you read what you wrote?

    You admit that there was no official investigation.

    Then you say that ‘it’s OK’ because the Republicans were allowed to present all that they had and it wasn’t much.

    Had there been an investigation, then their ‘not having much’ would have meant something. Since there was no investigation, questions remain.

    As to your putting words in my mouth …

    “Or perhaps you’re saying that all of these should have had rigorous investigations by US Attorneys.”

    I have already answered that one.

    Are you saying that there was never a single time in the history of the US that the federal government investigated the legitimacy of a specific state or local election? Of course, you aren’t.

    Let’s stick to what is actually said here and not create something that hasn’t been said.

    I just used wiki as an easy source of information. If you have differing evidence, please present it. Otherwise, shooting the messenger makes you look like you’ve got nothing.

    So you used Wiki because it was “easy”?

    Actually, using Wiki makes you look like you have nothing.

    However, you are confused as to why I commented on it. The opinion in the opening sentence was what struck me as funny.

  • crazylibs

    You go on and on about eight people fired by the Bush administration, but how come you never mention that Bill Clinton and Janet Reno fired all 93 U.S. attorneys after taking office? The omission shows (or reaffirms) your bias and ignorance.

    The Chronicle’s legal affairs writer, Bob Egelko, has been made well aware of this point of view in the wake of the story he wrote on the affair earlier this week (‘Firings raise concern over Justice Dept. and politics’)

    Egelko’s response:

    The two situations aren’t really comparable, as the Washington Post, for example, pointed out in an editorial earlier this month.

    Clinton, like other presidents before him — and Bush after him — installed a new set of U.S. attorneys after taking over from a president of another party. The recent firings are different, and apparently unprecedented: They happened in mid-term, targeting prosecutors who had originally been appointed by Bush and who hadn’t been viewed as either corrupt or incompetent.

    Of the eight dismissals, only one — Northern California’s own Kevin Ryan — was even arguably for performance-based reasons, in the aftermath of Justice Department audits that cited high staff turnover and low morale.

  • Had there been an investigation, then their ‘not having much’ would have meant something. Since there was no investigation, questions remain.
    Just like they do over the possibility of you committing multiple homicide. By all means, let’s have an official investigation and see what we can find. Otherwise, “questions remain”…

    Are you saying that there was never a single time in the history of the US that the federal government investigated the legitimacy of a specific state or local election? Of course, you aren’t.
    No, of course I’m not saying that. Every case gets evaluated on its merits and ones that actually have merit get investigated. You raised the other examples where other people say that “questions remain”. Since you seem to be heavily on the bandwagon of the US Attorneys spending taxpayer funds to conduct official investigations whenever that is the case, it would stand to reason that you wanted official investigations in those cases as well. Your desire for investigations in one case and not in the others seems to identify you either as illogical or, more likely, as a partisan shill.

    Actually, using Wiki makes you look like you have nothing.
    As I’ve said, if you have something better than that, which you have yet to present, then please do so. And yes, I used wiki because it was easy. I would have to say it was a lot harder then just comlaining about sources and presenting absolutely no actual evidence to support any counter claims, as you do.

    The US Attorney in Washington was a Republican, appointed by George Bush. If there was any reason to investigate this, I’d think that he would have done so.
    I was most interested in your response to this point. Sadly, that response was the null set.

  • OhioVoter

    Joe, I was hoping to have a reasonable discussion with you. Sadly it is you who went the route of a “partisian shill”.

    Since your response is based on erroneous assumptions about what I believe, there is nothing to respond to there.

    As to your reliance on Wiki, by all means continue. More and more colleges in this country are banning it as a source for serious research, but, by all means, continue to do what is “easy”.

  • Yes, it is sad that you have no more desire to continue this. That often happens when people like you run out of points and answers to counterpoints…

    As soon as someone gives me college credit for posting on Wizbang, I’ll conform to the college rules on using Wiki. Until then, enjoy your sour grapes and own total lack of any sources whatsoever to back up your assertions.