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Spontaneous Termination?

NOTELooseheadprop prepped a fantastic piece to start the day today as a lead-in to the Comey testimony in the House Judiciary Committee.   Comey's testimony begins at 9:30 am ET today.  Unfortunately, we had a little hiccup, and the post went up yesterday afternoon by accident.  So, please, take a little time and go back and read the wonderful post before the Comey testimony.  You'll be glad you did.

For those of you awaiting James Comey's appearance before the House Judiciary Committee, it will be broadcast on C-Span3 today beginning at 9:30 am ET.  And the lovely and talented Emptywheel will be liveblogging it for us while I take in the sights in NYC.

Had a great time grabbing some coffee and chatting with a number of great NYC FDL readers and the always beautimous Watertiger yesterday afternoon.  It is always so fun to put faces and screennames together — and to my new coffee pals who are thinking about dipping their toe in the comments, please do — the blog will be all the richer with your voices added to the mix.  Then, I went off to dinner with Looseheadprop and the adorable Littleprop.  And, the best news is that my luggage finally arrived close to 10 pm ET last night.  Boo yah — things are feeling better already.  Now, where's the coffee?  What is catching your eye this morning in the news and on the blogs?

I'll tell you what caught my eye:  the DoJ is probing whether or not Monica Goodling used political affiliation as part of her hiring criteria.  Well…duh.  (This has been another edition…)  She can cut that goody two shoes act any time now, don't you think?  And is it just me, or does anyone else have that "witness tampering" feeling:

In newly released statements, the two alleged that they were threatened by Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty's chief of staff immediately before Gonzales testified in the Senate in January.

Paul K. Charlton of Phoenix and John McKay of Seattle said that Michael J. Elston called them on Jan. 17 and offered an implicit agreement of Gonzales's silence in exchange for their continuing not to publicly discuss their removals. Gonzales testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee the next day and refused to provide details about the firings.

"My handwritten and dated notes of this call reflect that I believed Mr. Elston's tone was sinister and that he was prepared to threaten me further if he concluded I did not intend to continue to remain silent about my dismissal," McKay wrote in response to questions from the House Judiciary Committee.

Elston's attorney, Robert N. Driscoll, said the calls were to reassure the two prosecutors that Gonzales did not plan to reveal their dismissals, which were not public then.

"Mike didn't intend to intimidate anybody," Driscoll said.

Two other fired prosecutors complained pointedly about Elston, according to the statements released yesterday.

Don't know about you guys, but the anticipation about what Comey will talk about during his testimony today just went up a few notches.  And here are a few questions:  When did this probe begin?  Before or after there were rumblings about voting her immunity for Congressional testimony?  Is Goodling the only one facing DoJ scrutiny on this issue?  Do you hear a bus rumbling along at high speed, too?

Reader "WB" coined the "spontaneous termination" phrase — because it seems that no one at the DoJ is responsible for any of the termination decisions.   Who did make them?  Guess we'll have to keep digging…because executive privilege doesn't apply where there is a question of criminality.  I'm just saying…

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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