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Gonzales’ Cluelessness and Absence of DoJ Paper Trail Serve to Turn Spotlight on Rove

Brian Zick

Margaret Talev and Ron Hutcheson for McClatchy report: After thousands of pages of documents and hours of testimony from Justice Department officials, it remains unknown who in the Bush administration conceived the plan to fire eight U.S. attorneys and why. Gonzales' testimony Thursday left senators convinced he wasn't behind the plan or its execution and in fact knew far less than a department head should have about the details. Former and current members of Gonzales' staff who've been interviewed by congressional investigators also have said their roles were limited or nonexistent. Absent another explanation, the signs point to the White House and, at least in some degree, to the president's political adviser, Karl Rove. David Iglesias, the former New Mexico U.S. attorney and one of the eight fired last year, said investigating the White House's role is the logical next step - one that would follow existing clues about Rove's involvement. "If I were Congress, I would say, `If the attorney general doesn't have answers, then who would?' There's enough evidence to indicate that Karl Rove was involved up to his eyeballs." Iglesias said another clue that the White House may have been the driving force is the relative lack of Justice Department documentation for the firings in the 6,000 pages of documents turned over to Congress. "If you want to justify getting rid of someone, you should have at least some paper trail," Iglesias said. "There's been a remarkable absence of that. I'm wondering if the paper trail is at the White House."

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