Rove on U.S. Attorney Firings: This Is So Not A Big Deal

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As TPMmuckraker reports, Karl Rove is on camera (above) discussing how not a big deal the recent mass purging of U.S. Attorneys is. Give it up for the Arkansas Times blog for spotting this gem. Rove was speaking at a Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock. The president’s Deputy Chief of Staff basically says (I’m paraphrasing): “U.S. Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president, they can be fired for any or no reason at all, Clinton fired all of the U.S. Attorneys in place when he took office…blah, blah, blah.” So, yes, Rove is correct. U.S. Attorneys do serve at the pleasure of the president, which mind you is why all eight of them prior to being subpoenaed before the House quietly and graciously accepted their forced resignations. But this type of cleanse, as was repeated ad nauseam on Tuesday in front of the House and Senate committees investigating the firings, is unprecedented. And the DOJ’s constant flip-flop over why the USAs were canned looks rather fishy. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee leading the senate investigation, brought up this very point during his questioning of the attorneys. He said that USAs do serve at the pleasure of the prez and in his state, they “like to cycle as many people through this position as [they] can” (again, paraphrasing, I don’t have my hearing notes in front of me). But, he noted that all four of the attorneys that appeared before the senate committee had been in office for a very long time, so if the DOJ had been unhappy with their performance, which is one of the many reasons given by the department for the attorneys’ terminations, somebody was asleep at the wheel for quite a while.

Rove also attacks Carol Lam, claiming she refused to file immigration cases. This just isn’t true. During the senate hearing, Lam testified that offices of comparable size file 400-800 cases each year, her office filed between 2400 and 3000 cases and doubled the number of immigration cases that went to trial between 2006 and 2007.

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