NYT: Did former Bush Counsel Harriet Miers 'intervene' on behalf of replacement for US attorney let go for no 'apparent reason'?
Published: Thursday February 15, 2007
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Was President Bush's former counsel and one-time Supreme Court nominee involved in the dismissal of a United States attorney? An article in Friday's New York Times reports that sources indicate that she might have been.

"A United States attorney in Arkansas who was dismissed from his job last year by the Justice Department was ousted after Harriet E. Miers, the former White House counsel, intervened on behalf of the man who replaced him, according to Congressional aides briefed on the matter," David Johnston reports for the Times.

"Ms. Miers, the aides said, phoned an aide to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales suggesting the appointment of J. Timothy Griffin, a former military and civilian prosecutor who was a political director for the Republican National Committee and a deputy to Karl Rove, the White House political adviser," Johnston continues. "Later, the incumbent United States attorney, H. E. Cummins III, was removed without explanation and replaced on an interim basis by Mr. Griffin. Officials at the White House and Justice Department declined to comment on Ms. Miers’s role in the matter."

Tapped by Bush on October 3, 2005 to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court, Miers reportedly asked the president to withdraw her nomination twenty-four days later.

CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller recently reported that if "Miers harbors any bitterness or resentment from her painful and humiliating 24-days as the president's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, she's keeping it to herself."

"President Bush ended up withdrawing the nomination which drew fire from a number of conservative pundits and officials who said Miers wasn't qualified for the High Court," Knoller wrote.

Miers left her post as White House Counsel on January 31, telling Knoller, "I had a number of conversations right after the first of the year with our chief of staff Joshua Bolten and we both concluded it was time to have a change in the White House Counsel's office."

Earlier today, a key Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives blasted the White House for putting politics "before justice" with regards to the US attorney dismissals.

Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), House Democratic Caucus chair, said in a statement, "For the Bush Administration, politics comes before justice. Talented prosecutors investigating public corruption cases are fired for no reason, while a top Justice official has been vacationing with a lobbyist from the industry she is supposed to regulate."

Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-CA), chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, has announced hearings to probe the recent firings.

Excerpts from article:


Paul J. McNulty, the deputy attorney general, said at a hearing last week that Mr. Cummins had done nothing wrong but was removed to make room for Mr. Griffin. It was not known at the time Mr. McNulty testified that Ms. Miers had intervened on Mr. Griffin’s behalf.

Her involvement was disclosed on Wednesday by Justice Department officials led by Mr. McNulty, who held a closed-door briefing for senators on the Judiciary Committee after Democrats criticized the dismissals of 7 to 10 United States attorneys as politically motivated.



Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article mistakenly attributed this article to David Cay Johnston. The article was written by David Johnston, a different reporter. RAW STORY regrets the error.