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Kyle Sampson Testimony, Part III


(No, not THAT Samson.)

SEN. FEINSTEIN QUESTIONS:  Would like to go back to Sen. Specter's questions on notice on search warrant.  You say that it was Lam's immigration record.  Feinstein entering a letter into the record — field agency from customs and field agency.  Letter of commendation to Lam from them.  "Your office has a 100% record with us."  (CHS notes:  ooops, pesky field guys.)

Feinstein then gets into Foggo, Wilkes, Cunningham, Lewis and others.  And the subpoenas thereon.  Sampson says he doesn't recall ever seeing a subpoena notice for the search warrant on Foggo and Wilkes.  Feinstein asks with some skepticism if Sampson's "right now" replace Lam e-mail referred to "immigration policy questions."  Sampson walks through immigration criticisms, largely from House GOP, about the lax border enforcement questions.  Blaming Lam's firing on House GOP.

Feinstein gets into the FBI field office problem with Lam being asked to resign causing problems for ongoing cases.  Sampson says that he didn't seeit that way.

Were you aware that Cummins was investigating Missouri GOP governor Blunt?  Sampson "doesn't recall being aware of that."

Were you aware that NV USA Bogden opened an investigation of GOP governor of NV?  Sampson says he does not recall being aware of that.

Were you aware that McKay declined to prosecute a case in Seattle?  Sampson doesn't recall being aware of that.

Were you aware of a case being opened against Renzi?  Aware through news accounta that there was some preliminary investigation.

Were you aware that Iglesias declined to prosecute case/investigation of state Democrats?  Sampson not aware that calls had been made to him, and not aware of particular concerns.

SEN. SESSIONS QUESTIONS:  USAs have to be strong people.  Why didn't you tell the USAs in the fall of 2005 that you might be replacing them at the end of their 4 year terms?  Sampson says he didn't calculate it that way.  Gets into the AG meeting — Sampson says the meeting wasn't that long, maybe twenty minutes.  Doesn't remember specifically who was there.  Deputy AG, Goodling, AG himself — doesn't recall specifically how long the AG was there.  It was in the AG's conference room.  At close to the meeting, Sampson started to follow AG into his office, and McNulty called him back with a question.

Sessions says he's disappointed that AG didn't recall that in his statement, not a small matter.

With regard to prepping McNulty for his testimony:  why didn't McNulty know about all of the WH meetings on this?  Sampson says at the time that he was prepping McNulty, Sampson didn't remember all of them.  Focused on issues of the day and the questions that Congress had.  Focused on why USAs had made the list — didn't focus on the historical origins and whether it originated at the WH.  When McNulty was aksed those things and when he responded, in some cases incorrectly, do you have any information on whether McNulty was provided with different information and whether he was answering purposely incorrectly?  Sampson says that they prepared inappropriately, and Sampson says that is why he resigned, he felt badly about how unprepared they were.

Sessions says the FBI local person should have been disciplined for saying that Lam was integral — he'd like to see that FBI person provide proof of that.  If there was some attempt to block a legitimate prosecution, they'll be in trouble with me.

SEN. CARDIN QUESTIONS:  Were USAs put on list based on concerns from local political establishment?  Rep. Issa and others were very critical, and the DoJ knew that.  AG received 3 calls complainin about Mr. Iglesias, and McNulty received at least one call from him.   Who would be responsible for weighing the local political issues?  Sampson dodges answering this directly, says that we were aware of these.  No one specifically involved in this.

Is there a document available that reflects these different views?  Sampson says there wasn't one document — information gathered from various sources, doesn't remember if it contained local political information.  Sampson says that one of the things they did was to go back and look at USAs whose 4 year terms had expired — relatively close cases.  Compiled the lsit over the course of 2 years.  Sampson says that he doesn't control the documents — Sampson says that they were his own lists that he made, and then threw away as he made a new list — but he doesn't work at the DoJ any longer, so he doesn't control the documents.  (CHS says:  how convenient that it "wasn't scientific and it wasn't documented" — I'm sure the people who got fired are feeling really comforted about the process now.)

Do you see a perception problem here for the timing of the selection of the attorneys who were fired?  Sampson says yes.  You are saying that the way it was handled was the failure, and not the decisions themselves?  Sampson says it was a lack of foresight that a political reason might have been perceived.  If you would do this over again, would you do it differently with a different list?  Sampson says he was acknowledging that he didn't take adequate account of the perception problem that would result.

SEN. WHITEHOUSE QUESTIONS:  Could you tell me who, other than family and lawyers, that you discussed your testimony with?  No one.  Who coordinated with?  no one, to his knowledge — he hasn't spoken to anyone at the DoJ or anywhere else.

Did you keep a file on this project?  Too much to say that I kept a file.  In my lower right hand drawer, I kept a sort of "drop file."  In reviewing my documents for testimony, there were multiple lists.  Did anyone else keep your file for you?  No, there was no documentation of this — an aggregation of views, as the process finalized in the fall of 2006, it became more formal.

This was a project that you were in harge of, that woudl terminate the careers of these USAs, and you didn't keep a file?  My view is these people are good people…Whitehouse says "but no longer USAs."

Is it policy of DoJ if officer of corporation who refuses to testify that there is a requirement of the Department that the officer must be dismissed?  Sampson not certain.  Going into the Goodling takng of the 5th with respect to her conduct inoffice at the DoJ.  Has there ever been an attorney working for the DoJ who asserted the 5th regarding their conduct in office who was kept on as an employee?  Sampson says he doesn't know.  Whitehouse getting into "adverse inference" issues from failing to testify.  (CHS notes:  Whitehouse is schooling Goodling's atty that the committee is not going to put up with an improper attempt to avoid testimony without proper justification.)

Whitehouse going into Sampson's background — were decisions made by someone who hadn't had a lot of trial experience, is his point?  Signed off on by AG and WHCounsel's office.  Sampson doesn't know by what basis the recommendationswere accepted.

Break for lunch.  Will be back at 1:45 pm ET.

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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