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Bush's Bubble Breached

David Bowermaster writes in the Seattle Times: "Two former U.S. attorneys said today they believe ongoing investigations into the dismissals last year of eight federal prosecutors could result in criminal charges against senior Justice Department officials.

"John McKay, the former U.S. attorney for Western Washington, and David Iglesias, the former U.S. attorney for New Mexico, also said they believe White House political operative Karl Rove and his aides instigated the dismissals and ultimately decided who among the nation's 93 U.S. attorneys should be fired. . . .

"'It seems that given that no one takes credit at the Justice Department, that it can only be coming from one place, and that very strongly means the White House,' McKay said. . . .

"'The people that would have a voice in this would be Karl Rove, [Rove aide] Scott Jennings, [former White House counsel] Harriet Miers, probably, yes,' [Iglesias] said. 'But it's hard for me to say "yes," [without] looking at those e-mails and memos that are probably out there and missing that this is what they said on this date about John and me and my colleagues.

"'But that would explain why the wagons are so tightly circled,' Iglesias added. . . .

"McKay said he began to have concerns about politics entering the Justice Department in early 2005, when Gonzales addressed all of the country's U.S. attorneys in Scottsdale, Ariz., shortly after he took over as attorney general.

"'His first speech to us was a "you work for the White House" speech,' McKay recalled. . . .

"McKay said he thought at the time, 'He couldn't have meant that speech,' given the traditional independence of U.S. Attorneys. 'It turns out he did.'"

Gonzales Day on the Hill

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is testifying before the House Judiciary Committee today.

Laurie Kellman writes for the Associated Press: "Democrats are shifting their attention on the botched firings of eight federal prosecutors from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' fitness to head the Justice Department to the White House role in the dismissals. . . .

"House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers . . . . said the bigger question is who put together and approved the list that caused the eight U.S. attorneys to lose their jobs."

Mark Benjamin and Walter Shapiro write in Salon: "Conyers declared in a statement to Salon, 'We've reviewed thousands of pages of documents and heard from the attorney general and seven Justice Department officials. But a very basic question remains unanswered: Who created the list of U.S. attorneys to be fired and why were they chosen? And it seems -- since no one in the Justice Department claims to have made these decisions -- that all roads lead to the White House.'"

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