The White House was deeply involved in the decision late last year to dismiss federal prosecutors, including some who had been criticized by Republican lawmakers, administration officials said Monday.So what's the big deal, some might still be asking? These are political appointments made by the President, after all...yes, but the appointees get their jobs at the beginning of the President's term and they are rarely, if ever, removed mid-term, in order to allow them to remain loyal to the law above anything else, especially partisan Republican politics. They are supposed to be subject to no improper influences and operate independently, according to the law.
Last October, President Bush spoke with Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales to pass along concerns by Republicans that some prosecutors were not aggressively addressing voter fraud, the White House said Monday. Senator Pete V. Domenici, Republican of New Mexico, was among the politicians who complained directly to the president, according to an administration official.
The president did not call for the removal of any specific United States attorneys, said Dana Perino, a White House spokeswoman. She said she had “no indication” that the president had been personally aware that a process was already under way to identify prosecutors who would be fired.
But Ms Perino disclosed that White House officials had consulted with the Justice Department in preparing the list of United States attorneys who would be removed.
Within a few weeks of the president’s comments to the attorney general, the Justice Department forced out seven prosecutors.
Previously, the White House had said that Mr. Bush’s aides approved the list of prosecutors only after it was compiled.
The role of the president and his advisers in the prosecutor shakeup is likely to intensify calls by Congress for an investigation. It is the worst crisis of Mr. Gonzales’s tenure and provoked charges that the dismissals were a political purge threatening the historical independence of the Justice Department.
The idea of dismissing federal prosecutors originated in the White House more than a year earlier, White House and Justice officials said Monday. (emphasis added)
The Bushites have injected partisan politics into a neutral judicial system by firing U.S. attorneys who were either indicting Republicans or not playing ball with the White House's political directives. That's a big no-no. Everyone can understand that the legal system should not be used as a playground for Republicans to target their political enemies. And so this news that Bush himself was involved, a few days after Rove's name has been raised as also having been involved...this is big. Subverting the rule of law for political gain. That's what we're talking about. Does a certain other President come to mind who was guilty of such actions? Hmmm....I'll give you a hint:
This scandal is one step taken too far, one last exercise of the Bush imperial fiat just after the November elections that they thought they might get away with.