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Tag: Bush

Documents Reveal Campaign to Oust New Mexico U.S. Atty. David Iglesias

David Iglesias
David Iglesias

It comes as no surprise that there was more politics involved than originally thought.

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — The dismissal of New Mexico U.S. Attorney David C. Iglesias in December 2006 followed extensive communication among lawyers and political aides in the White House who hashed over complaints about his work on public corruption cases against Democrats, according to newly released e-mails and transcripts of closed-door House testimony by former Bush counsel Harriet Miers and political chief Karl Rove.

A campaign to oust Iglesias intensified after state party officials and GOP members of the congressional delegation apparently concluded he was not pursuing the cases against Democrats in a way that would help then- Rep. Heather Wilson in a tight reelection race, according to interviews and Bush White House e-mails released Tuesday by congressional investigators. The documents place the genesis of Iglesias’s dismissal earlier than previously known.

The disclosures mark the end of a 2 1/2 year investigation by the House Judiciary Committee, which sued to gain access to Bush White House documents in a dispute that struck at the heart of a president’s executive power. House members have reserved the right to hold a public hearing at which Rove, Miers, and other aides could appear this fall.

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Stinging Report Says Bush White House Kept Justice Dept. Lawyers in the Dark on Warrantless Wiretaps

There’s no sugar coating the ugly truth about the way things were handled. The biting report also confirms outsiders’ suspicions that the White House undermined the Justice Department’s mission.

dark

By Carrie Johnson and Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — The Bush White House so strictly controlled access to its warrantless eavesdropping program that only three Justice Department lawyers were aware of the plan, which nearly ignited mass resignations and a constitutional crisis when a wider circle of administration officials began to question its legality, according to a watchdog report released today.

The unclassified summary by five inspectors general from government intelligence agencies called the arrangements “extraordinary and inappropriate” and asserted that White House secrecy “undermined” the ability of the Justice Department to do its work.

The report is the first public sign of a long running investigative review of a program that provoked fierce conflict within the highest levels of the Bush administration in 2004. At the time, the Justice Department’s second in command and the director of the FBI both vowed to resign if President Bush continued with electronic intelligence gathering that they believed was outside the boundaries of the law.

Today’s report was mandated by Congress in legislation last year that updated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to accommodate new technologies. The bulk of the review remains highly classified.

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Bush Era Legal Memos Reveal Legal Errors

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder

The Obama administration should be get kudos for releasing these revealing memos which show some of the legal errors of the Bush administration. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. says this is all about government transparency. But the true test will be whether this administration practices a policy of transparency not just for matters involving the Bush years, but the Obama years as well. Let’s hope we don’t see any hypocrisy here.

By R. Jeffrey Smith and Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writers
WASHINGTON –The number of major legal errors committed by Bush administration lawyers during the formulation of its early counterterrorism policies was far greater than previously known, according to internal Bush administration documents released for the first time by the Justice Department yesterday.

Those policies were based on at least 10 legal opinions conferring broad powers on the president that the Justice Department later deemed flawed and ordered withdrawn, including several approving the military’s search, detention or trial of civilians in the United States without congressional input, according to the documents.

While the Bush administration had previously acknowledged rescinding two of those memos — authorizing the infliction of pain and suffering on detainees and claiming unquestioned authority to interrogate suspects outside the United States — the government’s eventual repudiation or rewrite of the eight other early legal memos was secret until now.

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Newsweek Reports That Bush in Final Days Instructed Karl Rove Not To Cooperate in Probes

Karl Rove

Karl Rove

President Bush initially talked about being a uniter, not a divider. But Karl Rove was very much a man who helped create a divide in this country. The President apparently had a little advice for Rove before departing to Texas: Keep Your Yap Shut.

Michael Isikoff
Newsweek Web Exclusive
WASHINGTON — Just four days before he left office, President Bush instructed former White House aide Karl Rove to refuse to cooperate with future congressional inquiries into alleged misconduct during his administration.
On Jan. 16, 2009, then White House Counsel Fred Fielding sent a letter (.pdf) to Rove’s lawyer, Robert Luskin. The message: should his client receive any future subpoenas, Rove “should not appear before Congress” or turn over any documents relating to his time in the White House. The letter told Rove that President Bush was continuing to assert executive privilege over any testimony by Rove-even after he leaves office.
A nearly identical letter (.pdf) was also sent by Fielding the day before to a lawyer for former White House counsel Harriet Miers, instructing her not to appear for a scheduled deposition with the House Judiciary Committee. That letter reasserted the White House position that Miers has “absolute immunity” from testifying before Congress about anything she did while she worked at the White House-a far-reaching claim that is being vigorously disputed by lawyers for the House of Representatives in court.
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Bush Rejected Pardons for Some Big Names

Duke Cunningham

Duke Cunningham

Nearly everyone expected Pres. Bush to show some generosity when it came to pardons in the waning days of his presidency. But apparently, the President wasn’t feeling that generous –or feared some pardons would come back to haunt him, as they did for Pres. Clinton.

By Josh Meyer
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON — President George W. Bush, on his last full day in office, formally struck down the petitions for clemency of some high-profile politicians and businessmen, including former lawmakers Randall “Duke” Cunningham, Edwin Edwards and Mario Biaggi and “junk bond” financier Michael Milken, the Justice Department said today.
The chief of the Justice Department’s Office of the Pardon Attorney, Ronald Rodgers, confirmed the pardon rejections through a spokeswoman, in response to queries from The Times’ Washington Bureau.
The Justice Department said Bush also denied petitions for clemency for two men who became highly polarizing symbols of their eras. One of them was John Walker Lindh, the young American serving 20 years in prison for aiding the Taliban in Afghanistan at a time when it was fighting U.S. military forces just after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
Bush also denied one of the longest-standing petitions for clemency, for Leonard Peltier, a Native American activist sentenced to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment for the murder of two FBI agents during a 1975 shootout on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. His application had been under consideration since 1993, current and former Justice Department officials said.
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R.I. U.S Atty. Robert Clark Corrente Has One Foot Out the Door

Robert Clark Corrente

Robert Clark Corrente

As the Obama regime settles in, many Bush-appointed U.S. attorneys like Robert Clark Corrente already have one foot out the door. How many U.S. Attorneys get to stay on is unclear. Some are simply waiting for the right outside job opportunity.

By ERIC TUCKER
Associated Press Writer
PROVIDENCE, R.I.U.S. Attorney Robert Clark Corrente is keeping one eye on his ongoing investigation into government corruption-and the other on his own job prospects.
Corrente, who was appointed by George W. Bush in 2004, is preparing to be replaced as Rhode Island’s top federal prosecutor now that Democrat Barack Obama is in the White House. He says he’s unsure how much longer he’ll stay on but calls his departure looming.
“I’m poking around now, thinking what I’m going to do next,” the 52-year-old told The Associated Press in a recent interview. “I haven’t settled on that just yet.”
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Bush Cuts Sentence of 2 Texas U.S. Border Patrol Agents

Citizens and politicians on both sides of the fence pushed for this. In the final hours, President Bush came through for them.

By DEB RIECHMANN
Associated Press
WASHINGTON – In his final acts of clemency, President George W. Bush on Monday granted early prison releases to two former U.S. Border Patrol agents whose convictions for shooting a Mexican drug dealer fueled the national debate over illegal immigration.
Bush, responding to heavy pressure from Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike, commuted the prison sentences of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean. The two guards from El Paso, Texas, each were sentenced to more than 10 years for the shooting, which they tried to cover up. They will be released within two months.
Opposition to their convictions, sentencing and firings has simmered ever since the shooting occurred in 2005.
“After four years of fighting this, it’s taken a toll on me and my daughter, and really the whole family,” said Joe Loya, Ramos’ father-in law, who has received tens of thousands of supportive e-mails and spent much of the past two years traveling the country to speak about the case. “We wouldn’t give up. … I knew sooner or later God would come through – that finally it would happen.”
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SURPRISE: Doesn’t Appear Bush Will Give Last Minute Pardons To Big Names Like Scooter Libby or Sen. Ted Stevens (New York Times)

Who Will Bush Pardon at Last Moment?

You just know President Bush will pardon some big names just before he exits 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The question now is simply Who?

By Scott Horton
The American Lawyer

For George Washington there was an obvious time for potentially controversial pardons, and that was the day he left office. Washington pardoned the instigators of the Whiskey Rebellion as his last official act. He had good reason to keep a low profile. The Federalists hated the decision. They thought it would fuel uprisings by moonshine-swilling frontiersmen-and they were right.
The tradition of controversial pardons has continued ever since. Gerald Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon remains the benchmark, but George H.W. Bush’s pardon of 75 people caught up in the Iran-Contra scandal and Bill Clinton’s pardon of fugitive billionaire and presidential library supporter Marc Rich register high on the scale.
Ironically, the Rich pardon was engineered by two people very much in the news. One is Scooter Libby, who was a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Dechert at the time. Libby, of course, was convicted of obstruction of justice and perjury in the Valerie Plame affair. His sentence was commuted by President George W. Bush; he is now seeking an extension of that commutation to a full-blown pardon.
The other is Attorney General-designate Eric Holder Jr., who served as deputy attorney general in the last days of the Clinton presidency and pushed the Rich pardon. Holder antici­pates embarrassing questioning on the pardon issue when his nomination comes before the Senate Judiciary Committee, but at present it doesn’t look like a show-stopper.
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