(not that he was trying).
Below I said that I was not cut out for liveblogging and that the Senate judiciary committee had recessed for lunch. I recessed for dinner and never came back. Paul Kiel is very good a liveblogging (among many other things) . He notes
Hatch asks Sampson again whether the Cunningham investigation had anything to do wtih Lam's removal. Sampson again says no.Oh my. This means that there are three serving US attorneys who were put on the list in mid-October 2006 and removed by November 15 2006. I think it is clear to everyone that Iglesias was fired because he refused to use his office to help Republicans (there may be a tiny bit of debate about whether his offence was refusing Wilson's and Domenici's suggestion that he indict a Democrat before election day or failing to harass ACORN (progressive group doing a registration drive) because a contracter defrauded ACORN out of a few bucks by forging the signatures of a 15 year old and a 13 year old on a registration application). Sampson suggests that the other 3 were spared because a Senator came to their assistance.
On a line of questioning about why Iglesias was put on the list, Sampson says that four names were put on the list at about the same time (mid-October), but that three came off. Iglesias stayed on because removing him "wouldn't create any problems with the home state senators" -- meaning Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM).
I assume that they are still US attorneys because they used their offices to help Republicans. I would sure like to know those three names.
No senator seems to have asked the question "who are the three US attorneys you put on the list within a month of election day and took off the list no more than one week after election day ?" No bad question. Better
"You said Iglesias was one of 4 USAs put on the list in mid October. Who were the other three ?"
Then if it is answered (which is unlikely Sampson did not seem to be totally panicked to me and he is clearly smart).
"why were those three US attorneys you put on the list within a month of election day and took off the list no more than one week after election day ?"
Update: Schumer nails it
Now Schumer is asking about who was on the purge list but were then taken off.
Sampson says the USA for Middle District of North Carolina Anna Mills Wagner (ph). Monica Goodling suggested that she be removed (not Western District as in one of the emails), because she had a successful gang prosecution program.
Sampson can't remember who the other three others added in mid-October were.
Riiiiiiiiiight. Firing US attorneys for reasons other than extreme misconduct or a change in the party of the President is unprecedented in recent decades and he doesn't remember. I'd say that is an HR Block to far. It is impossible that Sampson really forgot those names. I am sure they were taken off the list because they abused their office for partisan gain.
Schumer nails it again
5:25 Update: Schumer again, asking about Iglesias.[snip]
"Sometime in late October, those in the senior management in the department, the DAG, his CoS, myself, Monica Goodling, went back to look at the list." I don't remember it being one discussion, but a series of discussions. Iglesias was added then. Sampson still can't name who was responsible.
That means there are three other people who know the three names. Did they all forget them ? Would Ms Goodling be able to remember if she were granted immunity from prosecution ? Inquiring minds would like to know.
Schumer is doing great, but I would have asked "does the name Christopher J. Christie ring a bell ?" When asking about the three names.
Schumer pushes him on whether he would fire Iglesias if he had it to do all over again. Sampson says, "I wish the Department hadn't gone down this road." He also says that he would not have fired Iglesias.Hey, you know, fired US attorneys can be rehired. I mean all is not lost. If it was a mistake to fire Iglesias (and McKay and Lam and Bogden and Charlton and Cummins and maybe even Chiara) they can be re-appointed.
Why not ? We all know why not but I would love to hear the answer to that question from Gonzales and Rove.