The House Judiciary Committee Web-published thousands of pages of documents on Tuesday, including over 700 pages of transcripts of on-the-record interviews with Karl Rove and Harriet Miers regarding the Bush-era U.S. Attorney firings and the politicization of the Department of Justice.
Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) said he is forwarding the documents to federal prosecutors.
According to the committee, the materials -- including over 5,400 pages of Bush White House and Republican National Committee emails -- show that Bush White House officials were deeply involved in the US Attorney firings and that the administration then attempted to cover up that fact.
"After all the delay and despite all the obfuscation, lies, and spin," Conyers said, "this basic truth can no longer be denied: Karl Rove and his cohorts at the Bush White House were the driving force behind several of these firings, which were done for improper reasons. Under the Bush regime, honest and well-performing US Attorneys were fired for petty patronage, political horsetrading and, in the most egregious case of political abuse of the US Attorney corps - that of US Attorney Iglesias - because he refused to use his office to help Republicans win elections. When Mr. Iglesias said his firing was a 'political fragging,' he was right."
Conyers said he has "provided a copy of the materials released today to special U.S. Attorney Nora Dannehy to assist in her effort to determine whether federal criminal charges are appropriate and to pursue any such charges."
Help us read through the documents and send the most interesting things you find to firstname.lastname@example.org -- or post them below as comments. .
The following summary comes from the committee:
• 2005 White House "Decision" to fire David Iglesias - It has previously been known that New Mexico Republicans pressed for Iglesias to be removed because they did not like his decisions on vote fraud cases. New White House documents show that Rove and his office were involved in this effort no later than May 2005 (months earlier than previously known) - for example, in May and June 2005, Rove aide Scott Jennings sent emails to Tim Griffin (also in Rove's office) asking "what else I can do to move this process forward" and stressing that "I would really like to move forward with getting rid of NM US ATTY." In June 2005, Harriet Miers emailed that a "decision" had been made to replace Iglesias. At this time, DOJ gave Iglesias top rankings, so this decision was clearly not just the result of the White House following the Department's lead as Rove and Miers have maintained.
• Iglesias criticized by Rove aide for not "doing his job on" Democratic Congressional Candidate Patricia Madrid - An October 2006 email chain begun by Representative Heather Wilson criticized David Iglesias for not bringing politically useful public corruption prosecutions in the run up to the 2006 elections. Scott Jennings forwarded Wilson's email to Karl Rove and complained that Iglesias had been "shy about doing his job on Madrid," Wilson's opponent in the 2006 Congressional race. Just weeks after this email, Iglesias' name was placed on the final firing list.
• An "agitated" Rove pressed Harriet Miers to do something about Iglesias just weeks before Iglesias was placed on the removal list - Karl Rove phoned Harriet Miers during a visit to New Mexico in September 2006 - according to Miers' testimony, Rove was "agitated" and told her that Iglesias was "a serious problem and he wanted something done about it."
• Senator Domenici personally asked Bush's Chief of Staff Josh Bolten to have Iglesias replaced - In October 2006, Senator Domenici stepped up his campaign to have Iglesias replaced. According to White House phone logs and emails, as well as Rove's own testimony, Domenici spoke with President Bush's Chief of Staff Josh Bolten about Iglesias on October 5, 2006, and during October 2006, Domenici or his staff spoke with Karl Rove at least 4 times.
• Todd Graves removed in Rove-approved deal with Republican Senator - Kansas City US Attorney Todd Graves was removed as part of a White House-brokered deal with US Senator Kit Bond. In exchange for the Administration firing Graves, Senator Bond agreed to lift his hold on an Arkansas judge nominated to the Eighth Circuit federal appeals court. A White House email stated that "Karl is fine" with the proposal.
• Miers obtained favorable statement on Rick Renzi in violation of DOJ policy - When rumors of the FBI investigation of Rep. Rick Renzi surfaced in October, 2006, one of Rove's subordinates contacted Harriet Miers, who called Deputy Attorney General McNulty seeking a possible statement that would have "vindicated" Renzi. Even though this was contrary to standard DOJ policy, such a statement was issued several days later.
UPDATE: Media Matters has a fun find. In one instance, Bush aide Scott Jennings claimed he simply "followed orders," prompting fellow staffer Jane Cherry to ask, "Isn't that what the Nazis claimed?" Jennings replied, "shut up. these things always roll down hill ... i'm guessing you are going down."
And Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who interrogated Rove, offers his take.
UPDATE 2: A reader finds a suspicious e-mail from Karl Rove to White House aide Scott Jennings in the document dump that demonstrates the level of Rove's oversight of the firings.
Rove's subject line of a November 25th e-mail: "Give me a report on what US Attorney slots are vacant"
And then in the e-mail: "Or to be open soon"
Jennings replies, two and a half hours later: "Yes sir. It will be lengthy- there are several."
The e-mails are on page 39 and part of exhibits ten and eleven in part one of the committee's "Rove Exhibits."
On Nov. 30, 2006, Bush aide William Kelley reminds Jennings of the public outcry that could come and asks, "Scott, can I take your sign-off as Karl's, or should I raise this separately with him?"
On Friday, December first, he wrote again, nudging: "Scott--Did you get this? DOJ very much wants to pull this trigger, and they are waiting on us. Many thanks."
Jennings writes back on Monday. "Yes - I·th[i]nk we are fine to move ahead."