Page 2 of 2   <      

Miers Told House Panel of 'Agitated' Rove

Former White House counsel Harriet E. Miers testified that adviser Karl Rove described New Mexico U.S. Attorney David C. Iglesias as a
Former White House counsel Harriet E. Miers testified that adviser Karl Rove described New Mexico U.S. Attorney David C. Iglesias as a "serious problem" and said he wanted "something done" about it, according to transcripts. (By Ron Edmonds -- Associated Press)
  Enlarge Photo    

A few weeks after this e-mail, Iglesias's name was placed on the final firing list.

In a telephone interview Tuesday, Wilson said that her October 2006 e-mail dealt with an unrelated subject and had nothing to do with the U.S. attorney in New Mexico and cases he might have been pursuing against Democrats.

"My e-mail is only one sentence long and does not relate in any way" to Iglesias, Wilson said. "In early October 2006, we made a strategic decision to campaign on national security and competence," not public corruption.

Wilson, in a follow-up statement, said the House findings were "incorrect in several important respects" and that investigators had "failed to inquire about or review basic facts."

Domenici, who accepted a Senate ethics reprimand last year for calling Iglesias to inquire about the timing of prosecutions before the 2006 election, pursued his complaints at the highest levels of the government, according to the testimony. The longtime senator, who has since retired, wanted to contact President George W. Bush directly, Rove testified to the House Judiciary. But Rove told investigators that he "discouraged" the senator, who went on to phone White House Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten in October 2006, according to White House call logs.

Meanwhile, federal prosecutor Nora R. Dannehy continues to probe whether false statements or obstruction of justice charges could be lodged against anyone in connection with the dismissals and previous congressional testimony under oath about them.

In 2007, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and his deputy D. Kyle Sampson resigned, in part because of the political furor over the prosecutor dismissals.

The plan to fire U.S. attorneys raised alarm bells among some in the Bush White House days after the dismissal list arrived from the Justice Department in late 2006. Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino wrote White House colleagues in e-mails that she needed "an oxygen tank" and a "double shot" of air after aides reported that some of the U.S. attorneys had been conducting politically sensitive investigations of Republicans at the time of their dismissal.

U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton of Arizona had been moving toward an indictment of GOP Rep. Rick Renzi in that state, while Carol Lam in San Diego had expanded her probe of Rep. Randall "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.) to include another Republican congressman from that state as well as former CIA operative Kyle "Dusty" Foggo. Cunningham and Foggo since have been convicted of crimes. Renzi has been indicted and awaits trial.

Despite allegations by Democrats, the House investigation did not uncover smoking-gun documents or testimony to conclude that Lam or Charlton were removed as part of a broader effort to interfere with investigations of prominent Republicans. For his part, Rove told lawmakers that "I know they would not enter into the president's thinking at all. Because I know how he felt about both Duke Cunningham and Rick Renzi's behavior."

<       2

© 2009 The Washington Post Company