David Iglesias Makes His Case

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Fired U.S. Attorney for New Mexico David Iglesias lays out a compelling case in a New York Times oped this morning, “Why I Was Fired,” that the administration removed him for political rather than competency reasons.
His essay also shows that Representative Heather Wilson (R-NM) and Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) should be under far greater fire than they are for the roles they played.
Iglesias writes:

Politics entered my life with two phone calls that I received last fall, just before the November election. One came from Representative Heather Wilson and the other from Senator Domenici, both Republicans from my state, New Mexico.
Ms. Wilson asked me about sealed indictments pertaining to a politically charged corruption case widely reported in the news media involving local Democrats. Her question instantly put me on guard. Prosecutors may not legally talk about indictments, so I was evasive. Shortly after speaking to Ms. Wilson, I received a call from Senator Domenici at my home. The senator wanted to know whether I was going to file corruption charges — the cases Ms. Wilson had been asking about — before November. When I told him that I didn’t think so, he said, “I am very sorry to hear that,” and the line went dead.
A few weeks after those phone calls, my name was added to a list of United States attorneys who would be asked to resign — even though I had excellent office evaluations, the biggest political corruption prosecutions in New Mexico history, a record number of overall prosecutions and a 95 percent conviction rate. (In one of the documents released this week, I was deemed a “diverse up and comer” in 2004. Two years later I was asked to resign with no reasons given.)

He said that the first time he had been thanked for his service was yesterday in the President’s speech — but like a good lawyer, he’d like to have the President’s previous “confidence” in him communicated in writing.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

30 comments on “David Iglesias Makes His Case

  1. Emily says:

    This current development, with Tony Snow saying that Congress has no role in oversight, is frightening. Clearly the Bush administration represent a neo-con type of proto-fascist regime, grabbing as much dictatorial power as the American people will let them get away with… Bush wants to be King, and my goodness, he is enabled by the opportunists- jackals- war-mongers- and oil-whores who surround him.
    Bush and Rove, using Tony-boy Snow as their brain-dead mouth-piece, are simply saying that they will make a pretense of showing-up providing that they can lie with impunity- that it’s behind closed doors with no transcript- and that once finished, no more questions will be asked (i.e. no follow-up)… This is so outrageous as to border on treason.
    Executive Privilege does not permit Bush to commit any act with impunity. Bush does not have the right to commit crimes. Bush is not a King– and indeed the Founding Fathers set-down clear provisions to ensure that Congress could (and should) take actions to censor and/or impeach a president who decided that he wanted to be King of the U.S.
    High crimes & misdemeanours are, in fact, the justification, according to the U.S. Constitution, for impeachment of a president.
    In other words, Bush cannot violate his oath of office- he cannot commit cover-up crimes- he cannot order crimes to be committed- and, he cannot violate or order the violation of our laws.
    Why some neo-cons are trying to twist the meaning of “executive privilege” into a cloak for Bush to avoid being held accountable to “We the People” is obvious, but we should reject such sophistry and demand that Congress impeach this criminal Bush regime.

    Reply

  2. Arun says:

    Let us see – I believe that the provision for the Attorney General to be able to appoint USAs without Senate confirmation was stuck into the Patriot Act in reconciliation committee or some such thing, even Arlen Specter, Chair of the Judiciary Committee wasn’t aware of it and didn’t know how it got into the bill.
    We have seen immediate abuse of this provision by A-G Gonsalez.
    When the Senate votes to restore the previous condition, Hagel votes nay.
    Steve Clemons shrugs it off.
    At this point, hopefully, a majority of readers shrug off Steve Clemons.

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  3. Dirk says:

    Bakho, you certainly have it right.
    The ousted USA from Arkansas Cummins said the same:”Once the public detects partisanship in one important decision, they will follow the natural inclination to question every decision made, whether there is a connection or not.”
    That’s what’s just starting now.

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  4. Pissed Off American says:

    Gads, Steve. Is that the best you can do?
    Lemmings?
    Pffft. Hagel is toast. Any candidate running against him need only point at Hagel’s voting record. Hagel stood up for tyranny yesterday. He will regret it, and if he ever stood a chance at the Presidency, he just threw it away.

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  5. bakho says:

    The media acts like Firing them is the problem No Firing them is not at all a problem. A prosecutor that decides to go after you can make your life miserable, tie up your resources and damage your reputation, even if there is no case. The problem is that Bush administration and high ranking members of the GOP wanted USAs to engage in dirty tricks prosecuting, then fired and smeared them for not going along while promoting and protecting those USAs willing to do their dirty work.
    By politicizing the process, Bush has legitimized the numerous claims by Democrats that they were prosecuted for purely partisan reasons. Was filing charges against the NJ Democrat in the Senate race a dirty trick? It looks like it. Way more Democrats have been prosecuted than Republicans. Are the USAs playing favorites with GOP crooks and targeting innocent Democrats? It looks like it. This opens up all the USAs to lawsuits for abuse of power. It opens up Grand juries and trial juries to jury nullification. If I were on a Grand Jury would I vote against bringing charges against a Democrat? You bet I would be against it because of the Bush record of delivering political hits instead of justice. Would some of the guilty go unpunished? Yes but too bad. That is the cost of preventing Bush from abusing the system for political purposes.

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  6. Ticia says:

    No Oaths For His Petulance
    War Mouth I is attempting to hide behind the doctrine of executive privilege, an extra-Constitutional notion of historically dubious merits to the courts. Constitutionally challenged, the best His Pugnacity can do is spew an ill-drawn platitude about the separation of powers.
    See the Petulant Infant, the Puer Aeternus, salivating contempt for the People who would question his pet Dobermans Rove and Miers.
    See Peter Pan turn Chucky as his narcissistic sense of entitlement is punctured by the inquiring minds of Congress whose responsibility is to find out and to represent us — the People for whom War Mouth drools contempt.
    See Congress question, under oath and on the record, the ethics and practices of the Attorney General, the head of the United States Department of Justice concerned with legal affairs.
    Boys and girls, the chief law enforcement officer of the United States Government is not above the law.
    Fellow citizens, as I indicated in my post last night, I saw the video of the speech, just like you did. Those facial antics are reminiscent of the wincing histrionics of OJ Simpson. I now think exactly what I thought then: He’s lying through his teeth.
    For my part –to represent my interests as an American — those flaccidities in Congress must, a long last, get it on and do their job.

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  7. Marky says:

    Hey Steve, here’s a link which contains some information on the charges I mentioned earlier. The ratio is not 10 to 1, just 4 to 1, but it looks very bad.
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/3/21/203718/136

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  8. steambomb says:

    it’s reported as dems looking to score political points, which amazingly is the exact spin the WH puts on it.
    Posted by db at March 21, 2007 10:21 AM
    True and actually we should be praising the Democrats and Republicans that are willing to put their careers on the line. If this turned out to be nothing at all those politicians calling for an investigation would be in political trouble. I dont think that it would lead to nothing but they are taking a risk to persue it.

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  9. David G. Stahl says:

    Dear Steve:
    I disagree with some of the other comments about the media’s coverage. NPR for one has been doing a very good job of showing the intricacies of the problem. Many people have missed in all this two key points:
    1. The Attorney General testimony to the Senate Judiciary committee was incorrect
    2. The provision in the patriot act removed a Senator’s political power to appoint the US Attorney’s in their state.
    Don’t lie to a Senate committee, they don’t like that. Don’t take away their political perks, they don’t like that either.
    Bush’s stand on subpoenas will just keep the issue alive in the press, which loves it when there is an adverserial dialogue [since the story then writes itself]. I do expect to be back here crying if the Supreme Court sides with POTUS.
    Clear in all of the emails that have appeared is that the Attorney General and the FBI are bureaucratically incompetent; which is interesting after we have been asked to put so much trust in them. That they have alienated their supporters like WI representative, Jim Sensenbrenner, speaks volumes.
    Finally, news that was most likely overlooked this week, ranking minority member of the Judicary Committee, Senator Arlen Specter of PA, announced his attention to run again for the Senate. I expect him to lose to a qualified Democratic candidate in PA, and possibly lose in the GOP primary. He is very vulnerable.
    Someday Steve I’ll contribute to your Web Site. It is one of my many small pleasures in life. Keep up the good work.
    Yours,
    David G. Stahl

    Reply

  10. Marky says:

    Steve,
    I find your tentative explanation of Hagel’s vote quite unsatisfactory. We are not talking about Hagel
    voting to uphold an established Constitutional principle. In fact, the opposite is the case: a provision to give Bush powers that go against the express wish of the founders was secretly inserted into the Patriot Act and approved without any debate.
    Not only the law itself, but the way in which it was enacted were against our principles.
    Beyond the simple fact that Hagel was supporting a change in Constitutional principles rather than standing for a pre-existing idea, the specific circumstances of the USA firings leads to the ineluctable conclusion that the Patriot provision was inserted to allow obstruction of justice when Republicans were under investigation, and unwarranted investigation of Democrats right before elections.
    Are you aware that on the local level the ratio of FBI investigations of Democrats under Bush has outnumbered investigations of Republicans by almost 10 to 1? Karl Rove had a history of using the FBI to harrass political opponents before elections. Apparently he has been allowed to extend this practice to the national level.
    Sorry Steve, your answer doesn’t cut it with me.
    The USA firings may well be the issue which leads to Bush’s impeachment. He is following Nixon’s footsteps closely here. I realize that your support for Hagel has little to do with his domestic political agenda, but for me his vote is yet one more reason to consider him a braying lackey of the Bush White House, not a strong independent voice.

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  11. Carroll says:

    I can’t get excited about this because it’s just more of the same…on the part of the WH and the congress. And their “investigations” always end with a whimper instead of a bang.
    Let’s see now…a week after they yank a clause in the Iraq bill requiring Bush to go to congress before going to war…they are beside themselves over Gonprogate?
    The country needs emergency brain surgery and instead all we get is a manicure?

    Reply

  12. Emily says:

    It seems hard for some Americans to comprehend the notion that when the “president” & “U.S. Attorney General” abuse a provision of the Patriot Act (devised to allow them to replace U.S. Attorneys, without seeking congressional authorization, in cases of emergency) in order to install their mediocre cronies willing to let crimes committed by GOPpers off-the-hook, whilst persecuting Democrats, in order to fulfill Karl “Turd Blossom” Rove’s neo-fascist lust for a 50-year “Republican”-rule– that this is wrong… I guess it’s just too sophisticated a notion for the immoral neo-cons to comprehend.
    Moreover, the idea that because a Congress-person votes against the tide-of-opinion being courageous, is sheer folly. For example, if 98 senators were to vote against a bill that re-introduced Slavery in the U.S., and 2 voted for Slavery– would “Steve” consider them to be strong because they didn’t follow the so-called “lemmings”? How imbecilic can one be?
    Of course, Gonzales’ power and that of a president who abuses such power, should be stripped away. Anyone who doesn’t think so, isn’t fit to serve our nation.
    Let us hope that congress-persons do not continue to go along, like lemmings, and let this Bush gang continue to get-away-with-murder. Stand-up like Kucinich, Congress, and IMPEACH BUSH & CHENEY!

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  13. bryanwilkins says:

    GO FIGURE: Fred Fielding has been hired to tamp down Democratic tantrums over Gonzales and his bootlicking deference to White House politicization of Justice. Only his counsel appears to have been overruled and the standoff is on to the next chapter, subpoenas, posturing, etc. Why not let Gonzalez et al appear to be interviewed at the Capitol, put the KLEIG lights on them and just let them spin their lies which will become all too apparent? As an earlier commenter noted these guys lies so frequently its baked into their DNA, ie everybody else is also a liar. They will self destruct on camera under any scenario, so it is not important to fight over being sworn etc etc. get on with the show. The question of the day is: who ordered Gonzalez go up to tell the Senators that of course they will have an opportunity to vet, testify, question an attorney designee as per usual practice, when his staff assistant had already conspired with Miers and others in the WH to just gum up the process and run out the clock? ROVE

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  14. Kathleen says:

    Does anyone remember the Keating 5?
    By those standards, every elected official who called the DOJ to ask for the firing of a US Attorney should be censured and forced to resign as former Senator Alan Cranston was for calling Federal Banking Regulators to ask that Charles Keating be given a speedy investigation. For this, Cranston’s distinquished career in the Senate was besmerched.
    “Standards”, you should pardon the expression, have most assduredly plummeted.
    Of the Keating 5, Senator Cranston, curiosly was the ONLY Senator WHO DID NOT accept a campaign contirubtion from Keating yet he was the only Senator censured. He had started a non-profit for voter registration and accepted a $10,000 contribution to the non-profit.
    By contrast Senator McCain did accept a campaign contribution from keating, in excess of $100,000. Go figure.
    Similarly, Senator Harry Reid started a non-profit which accepted a $10,000 contribution from Jack Abramoff, not technbically a campaign contribution, but with the right US Attorney in Nevada, who knows how they could construe this?

    Reply

  15. Steve Clemons says:

    Dear POA, Marky, etc. —
    I have no idea why Senator Hagel voted the way he did. The fact that he was one of two votes in the Senate voting against a Congressional requirement to approve presidential choices on attorneys tells me he probably feels strongly that the President should have this authority — and that Congress is over-reaching.
    Russell Feingold often has similar positions based on principle rather than currents of the day.
    Jeff Bingaman, who I used to work for, was one of four votes against Helms-Burton when it passed.
    I haven’t had time to dig into what animated Hagel’s position — and his views on this don’t alter my views of his important stand on the Iraq War.
    I’m not worried about Hagel’s alternative vote. In fact, I rather admire people sometimes willing to go where lemings are not.
    Have to run,
    best,
    Steve

    Reply

  16. epv says:

    It’s too bad that the citizens of New Mexico do not “recall” the corrupt Heather Wilson & Pete Dominici who tried to intimidate David Iglesias– because the GOP was terrified that Wilson wouldn’t win her seat. Eventually Wilson resorted to Rovian-dirty-tactics to smear her opponent, a much better public servant, Patricia Madrid.
    Now we find the imbecilic Tony Snow hurling mindless neo-orwellian vomit about the taking-of-an-oath not mattering & 18 missing days of the Bushies’ White House documents being “a good question”:– Jeez!!! How much more of this crap are the American people prepared to stomach???
    Let us hope that Congressional Democrats INSIST that subpoenas are issued- that they do not back down from testimony by Rove, Miers & Gonzales (and, if need-be by Bush & Cheney) under oath, in public, and transcripts on-the-record.
    Indeed, Gonzales has already lied to Congress:– why is this mafia-style consigliere who serves the Bush Crime Family still in office?
    When will Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rove & Gonzales be removed from office and frog-marched off-to-jail where they belong?
    Just watch– for if the case for demanding testimony goes before the Supreme Court– then we will all be treated to the obscene spectacle of Dicky-boy Cheney taking the neo-con-Scalia-and-gang (i.e. “Scalito” Alito & Scalia’s “second vote” Clarence Thomas) off-to-hunt ducks! Nauseating!!!

    Reply

  17. Tony Foresta says:

    It is a sad and tragic factbasedreality that this President and his fascist warmongering and profiteering ministers are woefully lacking in credibility.
    The president and his henchmen have lied to the American people and congress repeatedly and insistantly, – and because this festering litany of deceptions, abuses, failures, partisan cronyism, woeful lack of accounting, and wanton profiteering, – this president and his fascist warmongering profiteering ministers do NOT deserve one nanoparticle of the peoples, or Congress’s goodwill, good faith, or trust.
    We do not trust you Bush, Cheney, Gonzalez, Rove, Chetoff, et al., and the people demand that that Congress perform it’s Constitutional duties and issue supeonas to the pertinant individuals involved in the Justice Departments machinations in firing prosecuters who the WH deemed disloyal.
    The justice department, and the attorney general work for the American people, not the fascist totalitarian dictator – I mean president.
    Bravo democrats for rejecting the presidents brutish and hollow offer.

    Reply

  18. Marky says:

    Steve,
    It is going to be hard to take your respect for Hagel seriously after yesterday’s vote in which he was one of two(!) Senators to vote against removing the Patriot Act provision allowing Bush to appoing USA’s without Senate approval.
    At the least, you need to address the issue. If you don’t, I’m sure I won’t be the only TWN reader who simply scrolls past your Hagel plaudits in the future.
    I’m still anxious to read more on Japan.

    Reply

  19. john o. says:

    I hope Iglesias is not holding his breath waiting for expressions of appreciation from BushCo.

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  20. David N says:

    The previous comments leave little to add, but that the points they make about how the press in this country is so cowed by the WH have been made before.
    Remember, it is still the case, as I said a year ago, that the only person who has gone to jail as a result of the investigation into the treasonous exposure of a covert CIA agent — despite the public knowledge of the involvement of numerous senior officials, including the VP — is a reporter.
    I stand by the prediction that will continue to be the case; Libby will never spend a day in jail, and he will get corporate positions and book deals — even if he has to move to Dubai to work in Halliburton HQ — that will make him a wealthy man.
    Crime pays.
    As to the lawyers, the question is out there in the Net, if not the media. If these were the guys who were fired, what were the other 85 USA’s doing to keep their jobs? Is even one member of Congress asking that question?
    I think not, because this is not really a question of the rule of law for them, but a question of Congressional priviledge. The one action they have taken before everything else was to rescind the provition in the Patriot Act allowing the Pres to appoint USA’s without Senate confirmation. Everything else is nowhere NEAR as important!!

    Reply

  21. Winnipeger says:

    OT, i know, but i thought the following headline and story from The Onion was pretty funny… and scary. satire or prescient?
    Bush Announces Exit Strategy: ‘We’ll Go Through Iran’
    http://tinyurl.com/2pde59

    Reply

  22. semper fubar says:

    “He said that the first time he had been thanked for his service was yesterday in the President’s speech”
    Well, that’s a lot more than Valerie Plame got from this pack of criminals, so I guess he should feel “lucky” … or “honored” … or something.
    Apparently Hell hath no fury like a lawyer scorned.

    Reply

  23. Kathleen says:

    Considering how much members of this administration refer to God, it’s rather curious how adverse they are to putting their hand on the Bible and swearing to God that they are telling the truth.
    As a child, my grandmother always told me, people who lie think everyone lies, people who steal think everyone steals, etc.
    Apparently people in this administration think everyone is stupid. They are like children who think if they cover their eyes, no one can see them.
    Nothing short of testimony, under oath, in public view will do. That this adminstration feels they need to spy on average citizens without a warrant tells me they are projecting their own illegal activities on all of us and they have much to hide.

    Reply

  24. jf says:

    Speaking of the USA story in general, is your boy Hagel still trying to prove his bona fides?

    Reply

  25. Daniel DiRito says:

    See a satirical visual lampooning the Bush administration’s version of “Justice Is Served”…here:
    http://www.thoughttheater.com/2007/03/justice_is_served.php

    Reply

  26. Pissed Off American says:

    Geez, its a crazy country. Our President LIES us into this mess in Iraq, KILLING over 600,000 innocent Iraq civilians in the process, and recieves NOTHING in the way of proportionate criticism in the press. Yet when his consigliere commits a purely political act of department housecleaning, it damn near gets as much publicity as the Oval Office blow job did.
    Now, who is REALLY suprised at Gonzales’ actions?? Was he held accountable for lying during his confirmation hearings? What deterent is there in American politics, in the Bush Administration, against lying? Have any of these bastards been taken to task for their lies? For their ineptitude? For their corruption?
    Meanwhile, how many prisoners are being TORTURED today in one of Cheney’s secret gulags? You can bet THOSE poor bastards would give ANYTHING to be subjected to the kind of travails suffered by Iglesias as a result of this administration’s crimes and corruption, rather than languishing in some hellhole being waterboarded.
    Our outrage threshhold is warped beyond repair.
    Should we be incensed by this latest scandal? Of course. But this Gonzales thing PALES in the face of over 600,000 dead innocents in Iraq, murdered by lies, or when one realizes that a foreign lobbyist organization is composing the scale and rhetoric of the Democrat’s Iraq’s resolutions.
    This country is in big trouble.
    And I too am curious to hear Scott Paul’s and Steve Clemon’s opinion about Hagel’s vote yesterday. Or are they still marketing only half of the man?

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  27. Chip Shirley says:

    The Media as a whole can’t even get across to the public the basic fact that these US Attorneys were ALL APPOINTED BY BUSH in the first place. Limbaugh and Hannity have lied by omission and convinced their entire audience that these fired US Attorneys were Clinton holdovers and no one formally rebuts it.

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  28. db says:

    What is really fascinating is seeing how far the media deference to bush extends. NPR and other major outlets refuse to give much if any scrutiny to bush’s inept explanations, but rather just repeat and thereby legitimize them. You get the feeling that if bush rescinded the constitution by executive order and surrounded the WH with troops, the press would dutifully ‘report’ the administration’s explanation without ever batting an eye or questioning what was going on.
    The truth is that these firings are unprecedented in the history of the US. It’s never been done before. Firings have only ever happened for cause, real cause. And as Feinstein pointed out, six of the eight were involved in corruption investigations/cases against republicans.
    These facts get little if any discussion in the major media outlets. There is no explanation as to why this is something congress really ought to investigate and resolve. It’s about maintaining the integrity of the US justice system. Instead, it’s reported as dems looking to score political points, which amazingly is the exact spin the WH puts on it.

    Reply

  29. ThFT2 says:

    Any US Attorney who tries to destroy the time honoured tradition of how politics is done in this county should be fired, no questions asked.

    Reply

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