Two Fired U.S. Attys Suggest Criminal Charges
Two former U.S. attorneys allegedly fired as part of a political purge reportedly predict possible criminal charges against senior Justice Department officials as a result of the dismissals.
“I think there will be a criminal case that will come out of this,” John McKay, former U.S. Attorney for western Washington state, told the Seattle Times today. “This is going to get worse, not better.”
McKay predicted obstruction of justice charges will be filed if ongoing investigations find that firings of any of eight U.S. attorneys who reportedly may have been dismissed to forward Republican political goals was done to influence public corruption or voter fraud investigations, the Times reports. The strongest evidence of obstruction, McKay says, relates to David Iglesias, the former U.S. attorney for New Mexico, and Carol Lam, the former U.S. Attorney in San Diego. Iglesias also spoke with the newspaper and agreed that such prosecutions are possible, according to the Times. Both he and McKay have “concluded that the White House was behind the firings,” the article states.
Responding to their charges, a Department of Justice statement this afternoon said, in part, “it is clear that the Attorney General did not ask for the resignation of any individual in order to interfere with or influence a particular prosecution for partisan political gain.” Alberto Gonzales, however, has recognized “that this process was not as rigorous as it should have been,” the statement continues in an apparent reference to the review and firing procedures concerning the eight U.S. attorneys, and “has taken full responsibility,” as well as “steps to institute better management practices with respect to U.S. attorneys.”
(Hat tip to thinkprogress.org.)