Conflicting Stories, Empty Excuses, Unanswered Questions

Bill Scher

After the first round of Kyle Sampson’s testimony, what’s the news so far?

ThinkProgress finds Kyle Sampson making Attorney General Gonzales appear to be a liar.

Gonzales had claimed Sampson didn’t share key information about the Prosecutor Purge to him and his deputies. But Samspon says he did.

TPMmuckraker sees news in Sampson’s exchange with Sen. Dianne Feinstein regarding the purge of Carol Lam, who successfully convicted Rep. Duke Cunningham and was continuing her investigation:

Two big things came out of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) questioning of Kyle Sampson.

The first was a glowing letter about Lam that Feinstein presented from the Director of Field Operations for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency. Lam was supposedly fired, remember, because she performed poorly on immigration prosecutions…

The second was the revelation that after the FBI bureau chief in San Diego complained to the press about Lam’s firing, Sampson called FBI headquarters to complain.

Feinstein quoted from a San Diego Union-Tribune report: “Lam’s continued employment as U.S. attorney is crucial to the success of multiple ongoing investigations, the FBI chief said.”

Sampson admitted calling to complain. But his empty explanation, failing to address what Lam was working on, speaks volumes:

I asked … why an FBI employee was commenting on that issue … I understood that Carol Lam was a political appointee, and a decision had been made in the executive branch to ask her to resign so that others could serve.

Politics trumps upholding the law. Conservative governing in action.

Finally, relating to the purge of David Iglesias, Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff yesterday flagged a suspicious email exchange between between top White House aide Karl Rove and Senator Pete Domenici’s chief of staff.

Today on MSNBC, Isikoff sees more to explore after Sampson’s testimony:

[Iglesias] is not originally on the list to be fired.

Then after those phone calls Domenici makes — [he] had complained to Gonzales already, also [he] complains to Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty. And then [Iglesias] is put on the list.

What was interesting is: Sampson did qualify some of his answers today.

When asked about if anybody was put on the list for a political reason, [he] says, not to my knowledge.

He didn’t get those phone calls, but the natural follow-up is: did others tell him to put Iglesias on the list? And if so, why?

UPDATE: Per Talking Points Memo, Sampson managed to avoid answering Isikoff’s question — not just on how Iglesias got on the purge list, but any of them.

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