Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Isn’t That Special

The Department of Justice has appointed a prosecutor to look further into the firing of the nine U.S. Attorneys by Alberto Gonzales.

Attorney General Michael Mukasey has appointed Nora Dannehy, a federal prosecutor from Connecticut as prosecutor in the continued investigation of the removal of nine U.S. attorneys.

The appointment comes at the request of a report released today by the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General and the Office of Professional Responsibility.

Part of the investigation will be to look into the role the White House — specifically Karl Rove — had in removing David Iglesias from his post in New Mexico in December 2006. Evidence cited in the recently released Inspector General’s report on the case show an e-mail trail that leads to Mr. Rove.

Prior to Iglesias’ removal on Dec. 7, 2006, New Mexico GOP Sen. Pete Domenici had already made multiple complaints to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales about Iglesias. In addition, Mickey Barnett, a former GOP New Mexico state senator and a prominent lawyer, had met in Washington with DOJ White House Liason Monica Goodling to discuss his problems with Iglesias’ handling of voter fraud cases.

But emails disclosed in the recently released IG report between Barnett, Domenici and White House political operative Karl Rove reveal that the complaints against Iglesias went beyond talks with the Justice Department, and that the White House was aware and involved in the removal of Iglesias from his post as U.S. attorney.

According to today’s report, on October 2, 2006, Barnett e-mailed Karl Rove an article from a local paper expressing frustrations with the apparently stalled investigation into bribery of Democratic state Sen. Manny Aragon (NM).

In the email, Barnett blamed Iglesias’ office for delaying the case against the Democratic lawmaker, something he had spoken to Goodling, Rove and Domenici about before, according to conversations detailed in the report. Specifically, Barnett and Rove had previously discussed “kick[ing Iglesias]. . . upstairs” as a way to get rid of him.

[…]

Just a few weeks after Barnett’s email, Domenici’s chief of staff Steve Bell emailed Rove on Nov. 7, 2006, the day of mid-term Congressional elections complaining about ballot problems in a New Mexico precinct. Bell closed the email with the statement, “We worry about the USA here.”

Rove responded just 32 minutes later stating, “I’d have the Senator call the Attorney General about this.”

Exactly one month later, Iglesias was fired.