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Fired U.S. Attorney Speaks Out

Fired U.S. Attorney David Iglesias has an op-ed in today's New York Times.

United States attorneys have a long history of being insulated from politics. Although we receive our appointments through the political process (I am a Republican who was recommended by Senator Pete Domenici), we are expected to be apolitical once we are in office. I will never forget John Ashcroft, then the attorney general, telling me during the summer of 2001 that politics should play no role during my tenure. I took that message to heart. Little did I know that I could be fired for not being political.

He goes on to describe the telephone calls from Sen. Peter Domenici and Congresswoman Heather Wilson.

More...

Ms. Wilson asked me about sealed indictments pertaining to a politically charged corruption case widely reported in the news media involving local Democrats. Her question instantly put me on guard. Prosecutors may not legally talk about indictments, so I was evasive. Shortly after speaking to Ms. Wilson, I received a call from Senator Domenici at my home. The senator wanted to know whether I was going to file corruption charges — the cases Ms. Wilson had been asking about — before November. When I told him that I didn’t think so, he said, “I am very sorry to hear that,” and the line went dead.

If there was a sealed indictment, it would mean he did bring charges -- someone was indicted and the indictment was under seal. Why did Heather Wilson think he indicted a Democrat when Domenici's question, about the same case, was only whether he was going to indict? Since Iglesias' response to Domenici was that he would not be charging anyone in the case, Heather Wilson's information was wrong. Where did she get that supposition? While the investigation had been reported in the media, I don't know that a conclusion resulting in an Indictment ever was reported.

Satisfactorily or not, Domenici has explained himself. Will Heather Wilson?

And kudos to David Iglesias for making this very, very important point.
What the critics, who donít have any experience as prosecutors, have asserted is reprehensible ó namely that I should have proceeded without having proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
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  • Display: Sort:
    great post, here -- and there is so much to this! (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by the rainnn on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 01:38:50 AM EST
    we, as a nation, are arriving at a
    turning point this week.

    so, let us compare and contrast, shall we:

    ". . .I'm not going to let anybody come down
    at night like Nicodemus and whisper something
    in my ear that no one else can hear
    . That is
    not executive privilege; it is poppycock. . ."

    -- senator sam ervin, then the
    chair of the senate select committee
    investigating the watergate scandal

    "Watergate and a lot of the things around
    Watergate and Vietnam during the 1970s, served,
    I think, to erode the authority I think the
    president needs to be effective. . ."

    -- vice president cheney, december 2005

    [it is easy to recognize the rotting
    fruit that fell from the above tree today. . .]

    i, for one, think the narrative of the fired
    attorney has the ring of truth all over it.

    it would seem there would be little reason to
    fabricate such claims, especially given that the
    attorney's home phone records likely show the call
    in issue -- increase the gravamen of this narrow
    dispute -- perhaps even to watergate-era significance. . .

    the president, somewhat disingenuously, it seems, has
    asserted, without much logical foundation, that he
    will be unable to obtain good advice if his people
    may ultimately have to tell the truth about what
    they said, after the fact. . . frankly, i don't
    get it -- how is public veracity antithetical to
    sound advice-giving
    and -receiving?  [i assume, of
    course, that mr. bush would not seek advice on the
    pursuit of unlawful, but otherwise undetectable,
    courses of action.  perhaps that is my problem.]

    "poppycock" seems apt, no?

    Thanks for the great Sam Ervin quote (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by nolo on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 10:34:16 AM EST
    It should be repeated often.

    Parent
    thanks -- great handle! (none / 0) (#25)
    by the rainnn on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 03:33:22 PM EST
    i use that same handle
    at firedoglake -- cool!

    and, yes ervin's witty,
    wise words resonate today. . .

    a heapin' helpin' o' irony,
    fro dubbya, at that. . .

    Parent

    great minds (none / 0) (#26)
    by nolo on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 03:40:52 PM EST
    pick great handles.  I'll be careful to use something else if I post at firedoglake, tho!!

    Parent
    no worries! (none / 0) (#27)
    by the rainnn on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 04:03:52 PM EST
    it seems i'd happily share
    your sentiments there, so
    perhaps i should be the one
    who is careful about what i
    post over at the 'lake. . .

    he he!

    well-met.

    Parent

    I took that to mean (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 09:25:00 AM EST
    she had read about the case, not sealed indictments. Do you know if sealed indictments had been reported?

    exactly. (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by the rainnn on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 09:28:34 AM EST
    exactly, ms. merritt.

    Parent
    I took it to mean (none / 0) (#8)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 10:27:45 AM EST
    that there had been speculation, and that part of it had to do with sealed indictments.

    Or maybe she was just speculating.

    I could be wrong. You could be wrong.

    But remembering all the indictments supposedly coming out of the Plame fisaco, I like my odds.

    Parent

    jim -- buddy -- the point is. . . (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by the rainnn on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 10:39:15 AM EST
    the representaive may speculate all
    she wants -- she cannot contact a u.s.
    attorney to influence the timing or
    outcome of a sealed indictment on
    corruption. . .  the law is clear.

    this is very simple -- it seems you
    seek to reframe the issue outside the
    actual facts of the matter -- this is NOT
    about speculating; this is about jaw-boning
    a working prosecutor. . . that's just NOT
    cricket.  period.

    Parent

    The question (none / 0) (#14)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 11:16:29 AM EST
    is, was she trying to influence him. I don't see how being asked about something is an attempt to influence.

    I worked for years in an environment in which I was asked about what I would or would not do about the actions of other people, and never had a problem giving an answer, or just saying NOYB.

    Of course I am a registered Independent and not a Democrat looking for an issue.

    So no, there is no attempt to reframe, although I do note your attempt to frame the issue.

    BTW - From the post:

    When I told him that I didn't think so, he said, "I am very sorry to hear that," and the line went dead
    .

    Why didn't the AG just say no (comment)??? I mean if it was such a big thing.

    Parent

    ahem. jim. (none / 0) (#19)
    by the rainnn on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 12:54:56 PM EST
    ". . .Why didn't the AG just say no. . ."

    i think he did.  and he got
    fired for it.  erh -- you aren't
    really helping your position, here.

    "when the hole is head-high,
    the first rule is:  stop digging. . ."


    Parent

    ranain (none / 0) (#29)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 05:24:06 PM EST
    Uh, you see rainn, I don't have a "position." Being a registered Independent and Social Liberal (ex-Demo)I am free to call'em as I see'em...

    Now, if you want to jump on Bush for NOT doing enough about national health care, rationalizing our nutso drug laws, BSing over Gay marriage, not trying harder on fixing Social Security, well, save me a seat on the bus...

    But what I typically see from the Left is to try to get power, and to do that they seem to think that Bush must be destroyed, and along with that our war efforts...

    Why not just wait and win the next election instead of destroying everything?

    Parent

    Why not... (none / 0) (#30)
    by desertswine on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 05:33:01 PM EST
    Why not just wait and win the next election instead of destroying everything?

    Are you crying?

    Parent

    Hurts, huh?? (none / 0) (#34)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 09:46:07 PM EST
    No, just pointing out that it appears that Bush must not be allowed to win, so that means the war cannot be won. The fact the Demos can win and the war also be won appears to not have crossed the collective mind of the Left.

    In fact, it appears that the Demos have embraced a cut and run position solely so they can come to the election claiming to have lost the war.

    That is sure to charm the folks.

    Or do you not understand that what you are doing is giving the Repubs something to run on??

    Parent

    jim -- "position" refers. . . (none / 0) (#32)
    by the rainnn on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 09:37:25 PM EST
    to the arguments you've made
    in this thread -- the positions
    you've already staked out here -- they
    simply don't hold water. i do agree
    about health care, gay rights, social
    security, ending poverty, providing a real
    education to all, free of charge, protecting
    reproductive rights, and privacy generally,
    and curbing the insanity of border
    policies. . . i'll drive that bus.

    but to suggest we (you, and me) simply
    wait for the next election -- ignoring criminal
    conduct underway, right now, seems. . .

    well. . .

    silly.  and, irrationally so.

    in any event, cheers.

    Parent

    raninn (none / 0) (#35)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 09:50:06 PM EST
    I'll give you the same advice I gave the Repubs re Clinton's many sins.

    Ignore them. In the broader view they mean nothing and, outside of the religious right, conspiracy theory nuts and various other hardcore groups, they are boring and easily dismissed as politics.

    That is a deadly combination in an election year.

    Parent

    i am sure. . . (none / 0) (#36)
    by the rainnn on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 09:55:58 PM EST
    . . .you'll understand -- when
    i blithely ignore your pointers.

    Parent
    Deference vs Entitlement (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by TexDem on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 10:05:54 AM EST
    There was a reason our founding father established that there be no Titles of Honor. No Dukes or Princes or Barons. The bestowing of a Title confers upon the recipient an entitlement and no one in America, where every man is created equal, is entitled to anything. We have over the years given office holders a certain bit of deference, however it seems that we as a nation should rethink even this.

    It appears that holders of high office don't consider this deferences as deference but entitlements. No one is above the law in this country and no one is due any special consideration when running for re-election. If a prosecutor is investigating a situation and has yet to determine that a crime has or has not been committed then any pressure put upon them to lean one direction or the other is by definition and action interference with a officer of the court in the performance of their duties. And there should be consequences for those actions.

    As a lay person this appears cut and dry. But as a legal matter it may be a bit murkier. Lay this out to anyone on the street in a generic scenario and that will be the majority response. When partisan lenses are added positions unfortunately change. That is a sad commentary on todays society.

    Rep. Wilson and Sen. Domenici were and are wrong. In days long gone when we had such a thing as honor in this country they would admit their actions and accept the consequences. But in the words of the "Duke" (John Wayne); "that'll be the day." ("The Searchers", 1954)

    Something to keep in mind. When one accepts and admits one errors, the consequences are often not as harsh as when one denies and is ultimately proven to be a liar. Errors are sometimes forgiven, lies are often treated harshly.

    There is asking and there is asking. (none / 0) (#9)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 10:34:03 AM EST
    I think we can ask Nixon and Clinton about admitting errors and the consquences...

    But wait!! Clinton didn't and Nixon did.

    And I think if your scene presented the fact that this is was 100% politics the average person will just sigh and walk on by.

    BTW - No one was indicted, sealed or otherwise. Right???

    Parent

    No one was indicted, sealed or otherwise. Right?? (none / 0) (#13)
    by TexDem on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 10:53:05 AM EST
    Exactly why there need not have been any pressure applied. If ther had been any there there, I'm sure Mr. Iglesia would have sought indictments, without any pressure. The phone calls, that they occurred at all implies pressure and is improper at the very least.

    And as to admitting having an affair, that's partially why our divorce courts are full.

    And as to Nixon admitting errors, I was 15 in 1973 and I don't recall Nixon admitting anything. In latter years he may have made some references but that would be long after it would have made a difference to the country. And any admitting to involvement in the Watergate break-in or the cover-up afterwards would have been news worthy.
    There have been a lot of revisionist history about Nixon, but an admission of his culpability in Watergate is not one I've heard.


    Parent

    Clarity (none / 0) (#15)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 11:28:06 AM EST
    So you think Nixon resigning was not an admission? Had he thought he was innocent, he would have never given up.

    I trust you are as demanding of such clarity in all areas of your life.

    As to Clinton, are you saying that "I did not have sex with woman," was an admission.

    And speaking of clarity, did you enjoy the explanation that a BJ wasn't sex??

    And while I never thought this lie on TV and to the American people was remotely a reason to impeach, it was a denial. Whether or not Hillary wanted to forgive him is another issue.

    As to the calls, they may imply pressure to you.
    They don't to me.

    Now, if  David Iglesias wants to provide some further information, we'll see what that brings?

    Parent

    Sailor's Law ... (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Sailor on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 12:03:18 PM EST
    ... invoked a record number of (off topic) times.

    Sailor's Law: The index of desperation of the wrongwingers is the square of the number of times they invoke clinton or kennedy.


    Parent
    What's the difference between a BJ and f*cking? (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Dadler on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 12:14:54 PM EST
    And the notion that Nixon admitted anything by resigning is ridiculous.  His pathetic farewell speech, invoking his mother, there was a deeply childish soul on display.

    Clinton, by contrast, had to answer more questions about his personal sexual life than Nixon ever did about his "problems".  And what about Nixon's boozing?  Not troubled he was likely loaded when making Vietnam decisions?

    Are war decisions more important than BJ decisions to you?

    I thought so.

    Have a good one.

    Parent

    Good Luck!! (none / 0) (#20)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 01:40:07 PM EST
    Dadler - Sad to see you emotionally choose to not understand what I said.

    1. By resigning Nixon admitted his wrong doing. Please show some logic by agreeing with that. His farewell speech has nothing to do with his actions.

    I have no real knowledge about his so-called boozing, and no knowledge of him making decisions under the influence.  Do you?? If so, links please.

    2. As you are aware I have said time and again that Clinton's relationship with a very young impressionable female employee, and even his lies about it, was not offense that should impeach him and that the Repubs were wrong in trying to take him down on that.

    Why? Even though those actions would get a CEO fired, the President is a political person, and it didn't rise to high crimes or other misdemeanors.

    So why the last question?

    But to answer it, I have no idea as to Clinton's state when he decided we must invade Kosovo...

    3. I would answer the question posed in the title of your comment, but think that you should figure that out by yourself. Good luck!!

    Parent

    actually ... (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Sailor on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 01:50:56 PM EST
    ... anybody can understand that you just hijacked yet another thread by bleating about the clenis instead of dealing with Iglesias' op-ed which is the topic.

    I personally think Iglesias was bhrave to write it seeing as how the admin is willing to call their minions in for scorch and burn swiftboat tactics and personal attacks trying to distract the discourse from the fact that they interfered with a federal investigation in a concerted effort to influence an election and then lied to congress about it.

    Parent

    sailor (none / 0) (#28)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 05:02:41 PM EST
    I think he had the right to write whatever he wanted.

    That he waited until after he was dismissed does give me some pause to consider... but that's just me.

    Parent

    The Gloves Come Off: (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Edger on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 02:25:54 PM EST
    DOJ Threatened Retaliation Against Fired Attorneys
    A Justice Department official threatened to take the "gloves off" and "retaliate" against the eight United States attorneys who were abruptly removed from their posts if they continued to speak publicly about the circumstances behind their dismissals, according to an email released late Monday sent to the fired prosecutors by one of their colleagues....

    More...



    Politics - Nasty not illegal (none / 0) (#31)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 09:35:50 PM EST
    Looks like good old fashioned bare knuckles politics..

    Now, what political party had the House and the Senate and the Presidentancy when it was announced:

    "Politics is a blood sport."

    Parent

    what part of "state action. . ." (none / 0) (#33)
    by the rainnn on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 09:41:25 PM EST
    is unclear to you -- in that clause
    which begins "congress shall make no law. . ."

    these GOVERNMENT employees have first
    amendment rights -- to say nothing of
    the legal protections afforded whistle-blowers.

    Parent

    "Well I am not a crook!" (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Che's Lounge on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 02:45:55 PM EST
    Richard Nixon.

    Jim you sound about as "independent" as a Fox news reporter. Nice hijack, though. What were we talking about? Oh yeah, obstruction of justice, interfering with an ongoing investigation, issuing at least three different explanations, all false, for the firings.

    Re: Clinton

    I didn't get all lathered up about that, and I'm not going to now.

    How convenient for you. Maybe you could post that viewpoint over at LGF and see what they say. Maybe YOU didn't get lathered up about it, but your hypocrite friends on the right were absolutely rabid then (in case you forgot). Over a BJ.

    Of course, as the RWNJ's love to say:

    "No reason to fear the oath if you got nuttin' ta hide!"

    Nice hijack, though... (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by desertswine on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 03:31:01 PM EST
    Indeed it is so...  In post titled "US Attorney Speaks Out" the Trollking managed to reference Bill Clinton six times, Nixon four times, Hilary Clinton once, Kosovo once, and even the Chinese one time. Someone needs to find a new hobby.

    Parent
    On the 5'oclock news (none / 0) (#2)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 08:56:36 AM EST
    From the post:

    Why did Heather Wilson think he indicted a Democrat when Domenici's question, about the same case, was only whether he was going to indict?

    Maybe she was reading the news??

    Ms. Wilson asked me about sealed indictments pertaining to a politically charged corruption case widely reported in the news media involving local Democrats.


    in either case, jim, it is irrelevant. (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by the rainnn on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 09:27:31 AM EST
    the gravamen of the issue
    is that legislators should not
    be trying -- even obliquely -- to
    influence the timing/progress of any
    corruption case -- republican
    or democrat -- by directly jaw-
    boning the involved u.s. atty. . .

    that just smells like obstructing justice. . .

    so. . . while your suggestion
    may be mildly entertaining,
    it is ultimately irrelevant. . .

    Parent

    Lathered up. (none / 0) (#7)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 10:23:27 AM EST
    If I started jumping up and down about appearnces of  obstructing justice I would be in constant motion, starting during the Clinton years.

    I didn't get all lathered up about that, and I'm not going to now.

    Parent

    Invoking Clinton is becoming (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by TexDem on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 10:34:26 AM EST
    very much like invoking Hitler. Without proper foundation and facts to back up your statement it smacks of a weak argument. When someone pulls out a Hitler comparison without setting up a position by position case it often means they haven't thought it through. Their position may be valid, but just invoking the name without reciting talking points or disproven myths is something worthy of a junior high conspiracy.

    Parent
    I think you protest too much. (none / 0) (#16)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 11:41:20 AM EST
    Come now. Let's don't pretend that we can not remember all the times no one could remember..

    And btw - I had no problem with this except for the ones where the Chinese were involved.

    Parent