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Goodling Hints Attorney Firings Came From ‘White House Judicial Selection Committee’

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-23-07 10:59 AM
Original message
Goodling Hints Attorney Firings Came From ‘White House Judicial Selection Committee’
http://thinkprogress.org/2007/05/23/goodling-points-to-... /

Goodling Hints Attorney Firings Came From ‘White House Judicial Selection Committee’

In her opening statement before the House Judiciary Committee today, Monica Goodling — the Department of Justice’s White House liaison — said she had no idea where the idea to fire several U.S. attorneys may have originated. “I did not hold the ‘keys to the kingdom,’” she said. “I was not the primary White House contact for purposes of the development or approval of the US Attorney replacement plan.”

In denying her own role in the firings, Goodling pointed a finger at the White House, appearing to suggest that the attorney purge may have arose from a group of select White House advisers.

I have never attended a meeting of the White House Judicial Selection Committee. The attorney general and Kyle Sampson attended those meetings. To the best of my recollection, I’ve never had a conversation with Karl Rove or Harriet Miers while I served at the Department of Justice. And I’m certain that I never spoke to either of them about the hiring or firing of any U.S. attorney.

Watch it at link~

The Weekly Standard reported in October 2005 that Alberto Gonzales instituted the White House Judicial Selection Committee in the first weeks of the administration. Harriet Miers chaired the meetings once Gonzales left for the Department of Justice. Karl Rove is a member of the committee.

UPDATE: Also in her opening statement, Goodling described how she was told not to show her face before congressional investigators because “if someone recognized me as the White House liaison, the members would be more likely to ask questions about the White House.”

Full transcript:

GOODLING: First, I wish to set the record straight regarding what I understood to be the deputy attorney general’s allegation to Senator Schumer that I withheld information from him prior to his public and private testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The allegation is false. I did not withhold information from the deputy.

To the contrary, I worked diligently to compile and provide the deputy with dozens of pages of statistics and other information that I thought he was likely to need, based on the questions that were being asked at that time.

Despite my and others’ best effort, the deputy’s public testimony was incomplete or inaccurate in a number of respects.

As explained in more detail in my written remarks, I believe the deputy was not fully candid about his knowledge of White House involvement in the replacement decision, failed to disclose that he had some knowledge of the White House’s interest in selecting Tim Griffin as the interim U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Arkansas, inaccurately described the department’s internal assessment of the Parsky commission, and failed to disclose that he had some knowledge of allegations that Tim Griffin had been involved in vote- cadging during his work on the president’s 2004 campaign.

After the deputy’s public testimony, I continued to work to assemble information that the deputy had promised to provide in a future, private session.

On February 14th, 2007, the deputy attended a private briefing with the Senate Judiciary Committee. That afternoon I rode with him to the Senate building, intending to observe the session and support the deputy by providing any information that I had.

However, a few minutes before the private Senate briefing was to take place, the deputy made clear to me that he did not think I should attend. The deputy suggested that if someone recognized me as the White House liaison, the members would be more likely to ask questions about the White House.

As a result of that conversation, I waited outside the room while the deputy briefed the Senate committee.

During a break, Richard Hurtling told me the briefing was not going well, and recommended that I return to the department immediately. Like the deputy, Mr. Hurtling suggested it could complicate matters if I was recognized as the White House liaison. As a result, I returned to the department in a taxi.

In light of these events, I was surprised to learn that the deputy had blamed me for his incomplete or inaccurate information.

Second, I wish to clarify my role as White House liaison.

Despite that title, I did not hold the keys to the kingdom, as some have suggested. I was not the primary White House contact for purposes of the development or approval of the U.S. attorney replacement plan.

I have never attended a meeting of the White House Judicial Selection Committee. The attorney general and Kyle Sampson attended those meetings.

To the best of my recollection, I’ve never had a conversation with Karl Rove or Harriet Miers while I served at the Department of Justice. And I’m certain that I never spoke to either of them about the hiring or firing of any U.S. attorney.

Although I did have discussions with certain members of their staffs regarding specific aspects of the replacement plan, I never recommended to them that a specific U.S. attorney be added to or removed from Mr. Sampson’s list. And I do not recall that they ever communicated any such recommendation to me.

Third, I wish to address my role in selecting U.S. attorneys for replacement.

I first learned that others more senior to me were discussing the possibility of replacing some U.S. attorneys at some point in mid- 2005. And I believe I first saw a list of candidates for replacement in January 2006, when Mr. Sampson showed me a draft memorandum he was preparing for Harriet Miers.

At that time, I recommended that two of the U.S. attorneys Mr. Sampson had listed be retained in office and that certain other U.S. attorneys be considered for replacement.

Paul Charlton and Daniel Bodgen were two of the U.S. attorneys that I recommended considering for replacement. However, it appears from the documents produced to Congress by the department that Mr. Sampson did not initially accept that recommendation. Mr. Bogden and Mr. Charlton did not appear on iterations of the list sent to the White House in January, April or May, and first appeared on the list in September 2006, presumably for reasons unrelated to my initial recommendation.

Although I’m prepared to tell the committee what I know about the eight replaced U.S. attorneys, the truth is that I do not know why Kevin Ryan, John McKay, Carol Lam, Paul Charlton, Daniel Bogden, David Iglesias and Margaret Chiara were asked to resign in December of 2006.

I can describe what I and others discussed as the reasons for their removal, but I just can’t guarantee that these reasons are the same as those contemplated by the final decision-makers who requested these resignations.

However, I’m not aware of anybody within the department ever suggesting the replacement of these U.S. attorneys to interfere with a particular case or in retaliation for prosecuting or refusing to prosecute any particular case for political advantage.

Fourth, I wish to clarify my role in career hiring at the department.

During my five years at the department, I believe that I interviewed hundreds of job applicants, and the vast majority of these were applicants for political appointee positions. But some were applicants for certain categories of career positions.

Specifically, I interviewed candidates who were to be detailed into confidential policy-making positions and attorney general appointments, such as immigration judges and members of the Board of Immigration Appeal. I also interviewed requests for waivers of hiring freezes imposed on districts with an outgoing U.S. attorney or interim or acting U.S. attorney.

In every case I tried to act in good faith and for the purpose of ensuring that the department was staffed by well-qualified individuals who were supportive of the attorney general’s views, priorities and goals.

Nevertheless, I do acknowledge that I may have gone too far in asking political questions of applicants for career positions, and I may have taken inappropriate political considerations into account on some occasions. And I regret those mistakes.

In conclusion, I’d like to give the committee a little better sense of who I am, because the person that I read about on the Internet and in the newspaper is not me.

At heart, I’m a fairly quiet person. I try to do the right thing, and I try to treat people kindly along the way. I always knew that I wanted to grow up and do something to serve or help other people. I went to public schools growing up, but I chose Christian universities in part because of the value that they place on service.

I’ve seen in my life what violent crime can do to its victims. And I knew that at some point I wanted to do my part to seek justice on their behalf. And that’s why I’ve loved the Department of Justice, particularly my time as a prosecutor.

For the five years that I spent there, I worked as hard as I could at whatever task that was put before me. And I hope that’s the reason that I was promoted five times during my time at the department.

I considered the people that I worked with to be my family. And I care about them deeply.

I have no desire to say anything negative about anyone that I worked with, including the leadership team or the U.S. attorneys who are the subject of my testimony. But I’m here to be a fact witness to what I heard, saw, did or know, and I’ll do that to the best of my recollection.

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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-23-07 11:08 AM
Response to Original message
1. What about Karl's assistants?
Met with any of them, Monica, dear?
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displacedtexan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-23-07 11:15 AM
Response to Original message
2. Here's a little REAGAN history on that committee
LINK

The Reagan administration made some major innovations in the selection process. It established in the Justice Department the Office of Legal Policy, which became the center of selection activity. It created a joint White House-Justice Department Judicial Selection Committee, chaired by the White House Counsel that met regularly to review the names and credentials of those being considered to fill vacancies and to assess the status and progress of individual candidates. The Committee aimed to reach consensus on whom to recommend to the President. Bush Sr. changed the Office of Legal Policy to the Office of Policy Development and took judicial selection from that office and placed it in the Attorney General's office—which was where it was before Reagan. But Bush Sr. kept the joint White House-Justice Department Committee, and under Bush Sr. the role of the White House Counsel's office expanded vis-a-vis judicial selection.

Under Clinton, the Office of Policy Development was given the responsibility of judicial selection. The joint committee continued as did the expanded role of the White House Counsel's office, particularly with appointments to the appeals courts. Now with Bush Jr. the Office of Policy Development has had its original name restored to the Office of Legal Policy with restoration of responsibility for handling judicial selection. However, it must be mentioned that the White House Counsel's office earlier this year took the lead on judicial selection. Thus, it remains to be seen whether the White House Counsels office will continue to assume the substantive work of judicial selection with the Office of Legal Policy handling the more routine bureaucratic work.


Hm. Harriet Miers was, indeed, in charge, according to this guy.
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musiclawyer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-23-07 11:24 AM
Response to Original message
3. Taking her at her word,
.....The actions were political and the attorney general was there. Therefore Gonzo lied. Nothing else needed. Impeach Gonzo. Period.

Now, bring back sampson. Let him refresh his recollection. If he doesn't come clean, convene a criminal grand jury on him and threaten him bigtime.

This is how it should go down.
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