07/22/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Fired US Attorney: Ashcroft Was "Pushed Out" Because He "Refused To Sign Off On The Warrantless Wiretaps"

In March 2004, then-acting Attorney General James Comey refused to sign an order extending President Bush's warrantless domestic spying program "amid concerns about its legality and oversight." Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee in May 2007 that the White House tried to force John Ashcroft to overrule him despite the fact that Ashcroft was debilitated in a hospital with pancreatitis.

Now, former New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias -- who was fired by the administration for refusing to file bogus voter fraud charges -- tells the Dallas Morning News that Ashcroft's refusal to support the warrantless wiretapping program actually led to him being "pushed out" of the Bush administration:

IGLESIAS: The one really intriguing question I've had was from a book buyer a few months ago who asked whether I thought John Ashcroft had been pushed out or not after he refused to sign off on the warrantless wiretaps. That's something that a journalist has never asked me. The honest answer is, yes, that had Ashcroft done the wrong thing, the unconstitutional thing, and signed off on it, he'd probably still be the AG. But Ashcroft served honorably. He did the right thing, and he paid the price. He was asked to move on.

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