We’re digging through the trove of documents released today by the House Judiciary Committee on the US attorney firings and the politicization of the Justice Department under George W. Bush.
In a June 15 interview with House investigators, former White House Counsel Harriet Miers detailed a remarkable 2006 contact with Karl Rove, then on the road in New Mexico, regarding US Attorney David Iglesias.
Rove, Miers recalled, was “very agitated” about Iglesias, who was later ousted in the Bush Administration’s purge of US Attorneys. Rove was getting “barraged” with complains by “political people that were active in New Mexico.”
Miers affirms in the interview (read the excerpt here) that Rove raised the issue of voter fraud prosecutions. But she says she can’t recall whether Rove suggested the Iglesais should be removed from office.
Miers says she relayed Rove’s complaints about Iglesias to Paul McNulty at the DOJ, who was then serving as deputy attorney general.
House investigators say the call occurred in September 2006. Iglesias was fired in Decemeber of that year.
Here’s a taste of Miers interview transcript:
Q Can you give us your best estimate of when it would have taken place?
A I can tell you what I believe I recall about it. And
that helps from a timing standpoint somewhat. Or at least might.
But my recollection was I took a call from Karl while he was on
the road. And I thought, my recollection is that he was in New
Mexico. And I believe that I referred his information that he
gave me to Paul McNulty. So it would have to be after Jim Comey
left and Paul McNulty came on as deputy attorney general. So that
gives us some timing.
Q And were you in your office at the time of the telephone
A I believe I was. I’m not totally certain of that
because I took calls from Karl on my cell phone, of course. But
my recollection is that that call came into my office, but I can’t
be certain of it.
Q But it was a call that Mr. Rove originated, you didn’t
A Well, unless I called him back. But, yeah, he
instigated the call.
Q And tell us the best you can about what you recall what
Mr. Rove had to say when he called?
A My best recollection is that he was very agitated about
the U.S. Attorney in New Mexico. I don’t know that I knew the
gentleman’s name at that time.
Q And what did he tell you about the U.S. Attorney in New
A That he was getting barraged by a lot of complaints
about the U.S. Attorney and his not doing his job.
Q And who were the complaints coming from?
A People that he was in contact with, which I assumed, of
course, and he may have said, were political people that were
active in New Mexico.
Q These are Republican Party activists?
A They were the people that he would have been interfacing
with as political leadership of the State, is my assumption.
Q And who would that have been?
A I have no idea.
Q Would they have been Republican Party activists?
A All I can tell you is that Karl was reporting multiple
people complaining about Mr. Iglesias.
Q And did he identify any of the people who were
complaining to him about Mr. Iglesias?
A I don’t recall that.