One of the eight fired U.S. attorneys, Bud Cummins of Arkansas, tried to warn the Justice Department that their plan to replace him could lead to political problems down the road. In an email to Mike Battle, the person who oversaw the U.S. attorneys for the Justice Department, Cummins wrote, “The White House recently called our sole Republican congressman (Boozman) and pretty much told him what they are doing with this appointment and how they are going about it.” In a phone interview with the AP, Boozman confirmed Cummins description of events. “They said, ‘We’re going to replace Bud Cummins with Tim Griffin. Do you see any problem with that?’ My reply was that that would cause problems because Bud was very well respected and has served the president well,” Rep. Boozman said.

In the same email to Battle, Cummins said that he had received word that some members of the Arkansas congressional delegation were upset about how the firing was handled. “I was contacted for confirmation that I was being ousted to make room for another appointee. I politely refused to get into it with them … but strongly urged them to not raise hell about anything on my account,” Cummins wrote. He was also clear that he was writing the email as protection against future political backlash. “I just wanted to let you know that a) there may be some stink about this down the road; and b) I absolutely did not instigate or provoke it. Whatever else happens is entirely their doing.”

 It seems that this White House is so arrogant that they thought that they could away with manipulating the Justice Department for political reasons. Gonzales’ performance based reasoning for the firings looks like an even bigger joke now. It is also becoming clear why Monica Goodling wanted immunity before she would even consider testifying. This whole affair never passed the smell test with me, and now evidence is starting to pile up that Alberto Gonzales put his loyalty to the president ahead of his duties as the attorney for all the people of the United States. To me the question that remains unanswered isn’t does the White House have the power to replace U.S. attorneys? They do. The more appropriate question is did the executive branch abuse this power in the case of the eight U.S. attorneys? That is a much trickier query, and one that I believe merits more investigation.

All quotes came from this AP article.

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com.  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politics

Jason can also be heard every Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse
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