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New DOJ emails document White House discussions of US Attorney firings

[JURIST] Hundreds of email documents released by the US Department of Justice [official website] late Monday show that, contrary to its earlier claims, the White House was deeply involved in discussions to fire eight US Attorneys last year, according to ABC News. There are no emails directly from US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile], who reportedly does not use email, but the DOJ said former chief of staff Kyle Sampson [official press release] kept him informed of all developments. Gonzales is scheduled to testify April 17 before the Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] about his handling of the dismissals.

An email conversation [text] released by the DOJ last week indicated that White House advisor Karl Rove [official profile] originally mentioned the possibility of firing all 93 US Attorneys [JURIST report] in January 2005, contradicting the White House's previous assertion that the idea first came from former White House counsel Harriet Miers [official profile]. In an email from Sampson at the Justice Department to Gonzales, former-deputy White House Counsel David Leitch [appointment announcement] and Colin Newman of the White House Counsel's Office, Sampson said that Rove had asked whether the administration planned to fire all US Attorneys. Sampson said that the White House Counsel's Office planned to fire "underperforming" Attorneys, further stating that the majority of US Attorneys are "are doing a great job, are loyal Bushies." ABC News has more.

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