Letters to Gonzo
Henry Waxman is on it (PDF):
According to Sharon Eubanks, the Department's lead attorney in the case, political appointees at the Department interfered with her legal strategy for political appointees at the Department interfered with her legal strategy for political reasons on several occasions. She has asserted that several Department appointees ordered the trial team to soften witness testimony, drop a request for structural changes in tobacco company management, and lower the amount of money requested for a nationwide program to help smokers quit. Ms. Eubanks stated that this interference undermined the government's case and hindered its ability to "zealously represent the intersts of the American public."
Ms. Eubanks has also indicated to my staff that she had concerns about the role that White House officials may have played in the case. She provided emails to the Committee indicating that the White House reviewed the Department's public response in June 2005 to allegations of political interference in the litigation. According to these emails, the Justice Department was directed to "hold up" sending an op-ed to USA Today explaining the Justice Department's position because "the White House wanted some changes."
A revised draft was prepared within a half hour of the White House objections. The revised draft made a number of changes to the op-ed, including inserting as the lead sentence of the op-ed: "President Bush and his Administration have proven time and again a strong commitmentn to holding theh tobacco industry accountable for past fraud and abuse." According to a subsequent email, the White House said this version was "good to go."
Waxman wants all notes and documents from the White House and Department of Justice related to the tobacco litigation, as well as an accounting of all contacts between the two over the matter and a full report completed by the Office of Professional Responsibilility "related to its investigation into possible political interference in the tobacco litigation" by April 7, 2007." I suspect he'll probably get substantially less.
Is the White House still going to try and claim that it was all Abu's fault, and they had no hand in the prostitution of the Justice Department? It's getting more and more difficult. They might have to keep him around just to sack him when things get really bad…because it looks like they're going to get worse.