PurgeGate: Just Misteps or Were Crimes Committed

As Sen. Patrick Leahy promises subpoenas to testify will issue Thursday to Karl Rove, Harriet Miers and others, Adam Cohen of the New York Times posits that criminal laws may have been broken.

“I do not believe in this ‘We’ll have a private briefing for you where we’ll tell you everything,’ and they don’t,” Mr. Leahy said on “This Week” on ABC, adding: “I want testimony under oath. I am sick and tired of getting half-truths on this.”

Cohen consulted with Congressional staff and law professor Stephen Gillers and comes up with this list of possible crimes:

  • Misrepresentation to Congress: 18 U.S.C. 1505
  • Calling Prosecutors: 18 U.S.C. 1512©
  • Witness Tampering: 18 U.S.C. 1512(b)
  • Firing the Attorneys: 18 U.S.C. 1512©


The most egregious firing may have been that of San Diego U.S. Attorney Carol Lam. The decision to fire her apparently was made during a probe she was conducting.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said in a television appearance yesterday that Lam "sent a notice to the Justice Department saying that there would be two search warrants" in a criminal investigation of defense contractor Brent R. Wilkes and Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, who had just quit as the CIA's top administrator amid questions about his ties to disgraced former GOP congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham.

The next day, on May 11, D. Kyle Sampson, then chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, sent an e-mail message to William Kelley in the White House counsel's office saying that Lam should be removed as quickly as possible, according to documents turned over to Congress last week.

The Justice steadfastly denies the firings were improper:

"We have stated numerous times that no U.S. attorney was removed to retaliate against or inappropriately interfere with any public corruption investigation or prosecution," Justice spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said in a statement. "This remains the case, and there is no evidence that indicates otherwise."

White House Counsel Fred Fielding will tell Leahy's committee Tuesday whether and under what conditions Rove et. al. will appear.

The Republicans will scream "executive privilege." I think it's too late for that, the scandal has become too big.

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    Popcorn please (none / 0) (#1)
    by baba durag on Mon Mar 19, 2007 at 10:44:35 AM EST
    This is shaping up to be the spectator event of the season.  I can't wait.