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Iglesias: Ashcroft pushed out for wiretap opposition
Stephen C. Webster
Published: Monday July 14, 2008

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In an interview with the Dallas Morning News, former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias, who was at the epicenter of the recent U.S. attorneys scandal, claims that former Attorney General John Ashcroft was "pushed out" for his refusal to sign off on an administration wiretapping order.

In the interview, penned by Morning News contributor Todd Robberson, Iglesias states:

The one really intriguing question I've had was from a book buyer a few months ago who asked whether I thought John Ashcroft had been pushed out or not after he refused to sign off on the warrantless wiretaps. That's something that a journalist has never asked me. The honest answer is, yes, that had Ashcroft done the wrong thing, the unconstitutional thing, and signed off on it, he'd probably still be the AG. But Ashcroft served honorably. He did the right thing, and he paid the price. He was asked to move on.

In the aftermath of the U.S. attorneys scandal, and the proceeding investigations into the Bush Administration's misuse of the Justice Department, the President's closest political adviser, Karl Rove, was subpoenaed to testify before the judiciary committee. Rove is widely suspected to have played a role in the Justice Department's prosecution and subsequent jailing of Alabama Governor Don Siegelman on charges of bribery, as detailed in a series of RAW STORY exclusive reports.

On July 10, the committee voted 7-1 to reject Rove's claim that his refusal of the subpoena was grounded in 'executive privilege' and Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) issued Rove an ultimatum allowing five more days before pursuing 'all available options.' At the hearing, the Judiciary committee was then informed that Rove had left the country.

Iglesias added:

Had we been fired a year earlier, it's possible this would never have come to light because there would not have been interest by the majority [Republicans] on Capitol Hill to investigate why is it that seven U.S. attorneys got pushed out on the same day in an unprecedented action. It would've never risen to that level. The media would've picked up on it a little bit maybe. But the Democrats ran with it when, last year, they were fresh in power. I'm sure they were looking for areas in which to exercise oversight, and this was handed to them on a golden platter by the Republicans. But I want to make clear, they [the administration] got away with it. ... There was no hue and cry. There was no press coverage that I'm aware of [after the initial firings of two U.S. attorneys]. I think the hubris kicked in and they figured, heck, if we can get rid of two over a six-month period, why not get rid of seven more on the same day?

David Iglesias' book, "In Justice," covering the U.S. attorneys scandal, is in bookstores now.