Ex-Aide: Gonzales Approved Prosecutors’ Firings
Posted Mar 29, 2007 1:28 PM CST
By Debra Cassens Weiss
The former chief of staff for Alberto Gonzales says the attorney general approved a plan to fire eight U.S. attorneys.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, Kyle Sampson defended the controversial decision to remove the prosecutors, the Associated Press reports. Sampson said it was the prerogative of his boss to dismiss those who didn't support administration priorities.
''The distinction between 'political' and 'performance-related' reasons for removing a United States attorney is, in my view, largely artificial,'' Sampson said.
''Some were asked to resign because they were not carrying out the president's and the attorney general's priorities,'' he said. ''In some sense that may be described as political by some people.''
Sampson told the committee that both Gonzales and former White House counsel Harriet Miers signed off on the decision. A statement by Gonzales to the contrary was not accurate, he said.
"I remember discussing with him this process of asking certain U.S. attorneys to resign," Sampson said, according to the Los Angeles Times.