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US Attorney Hearings Promise Some Fireworks Today


The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold hearings today on the firing of US Attorneys by the Bush Administration.  And, with more fired attorneys coming to the fore — including one from Maryland who now says that he was forced out because of investigations into political associates of the Republican governor.  From the NYTimes:

The former federal prosecutor in Maryland said Monday that he was forced out in early 2005 because of political pressure stemming from public corruption investigations involving associates of the state’s governor, a Republican.

“There was direct pressure not to pursue these investigations,” said the former prosecutor, Thomas M. DiBiagio. “The practical impact was to intimidate my office and shut down the investigations.”

Mr. DiBiagio, a controversial figure who clashed with a number of Maryland politicians, had never publicly discussed the reasons behind his departure. But he agreed to an interview with The New York Times because he said he was concerned about what he saw as similarities with the recent firings of eight United States attorneys.

The DoJ disputes DiBiagio's account, but this makes a number of fired USAttys who were all forced out under similar circumstances. With revelations over the weekend that Sen. Pete Dominici (R-NM) admits to contacting the ousted USA in New Mexico about a pending corruption investigation — and today's admission by Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) that she did the same — the Senate hearing today should prove to be very interesting, indeed.

Especially given the fact that the chief White House apologist, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) has announced (H/T TPM) that he will likely miss the hearing altogether today, leaving the WH dangling without their usual committee talking points mouthpiece.

TPM, which has been doing fantastic work on this story from day one, has the lame excuse that the Bush Administration is now floating out for firing Carol Lam — and TPM readers drive several trucks through the big holes in it.

Today's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, beginning at 10:00 am ET today, will include testimony from:

H.E. “Bud” Cummins, III
Former U.S. Attorney
Eastern District of Arkansas
Little Rock, AR

David C. Iglesias
Former U.S. Attorney
District of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM

Carol Lam
Former U.S. Attorney
Southern District of California
San Diego, CA

John McKay
Former U.S. Attorney
Western District of Washington
Seattle, WA

Oh, and did I mention that the House Judiciary Committee will be holding similar hearingsToday?  (H/T to Mary4 — I misread the House schdeule this mornng and thought these hearings were for tomorrow — but they are today as well.)  All I can say is, let the oversight begin.  If political cronyism or an attempt to thwart corruption investigations into elected Republicans and their political pals is at the bottom of all of this, there is not enough sunshine in all the world for that sort of smarmy conduct.

In case you missed it over the weekend, more here from me, and here from looseheadprop.  And I'm with LHP:  anyone connected with this needs to be asked what contact they had with Karl Rove on this — because this whole political smarm operation reeks of a Turdblossom Special.

UPDATETPM Muckraker has a must read on this.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com