Reviews Are In

Brian Zick

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… of the Senate Judiciary Committeee testimony from Kyle Sampson.Video of Keith Olbermann's commentary is posted at Crooks and Liars.Dana Milbank for WaPo reports: "I can't pretend to know or remember every fact that may be of relevance," he warned at the start -- and he wasn't kidding. He used the phrase "I don't remember" a memorable 122 times.It may have been a tactical effort to limit his risk of perjury, but Sampson displayed the recall of a man who recently fell off a ladder."Since the 2004 election, did you speak with the president about replacing U.S. attorneys?" Leahy asked."I don't ever remember speaking to the president after the 2004 election," he said. (He later remembered that he had.) AFP reports "US attorney general approved firing prosecutors: ex-aide": "The decision makers in this case were the attorney general and the counsel to the president," the administration's former official lawyer Harriet Miers, Sampson told the Senate Judiciary Committee under oath. Marisa Taylor and Margaret Talev for McClatchy report: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales came under more pressure Thursday to explain his role in the firings of eight U.S. attorneys, after his former top aide said the attorney general was far more involved in the ousters than he has acknowledged.In seven, often tense, hours of testimony, former chief of staff Kyle Sampson told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Gonzales was aware of the plan from the outset, was briefed at least five times over the past two years and attended a meeting where Justice Department officials discussed removing the prosecutors. (…) Sampson's sworn testimony appeared to further erode Gonzales' credibility as he tries to hold onto his job. It also raised new questions about the White House's involvement in the firings, as Sampson repeatedly said he couldn't remember details about his interaction with White House officials, particularly with political strategist Karl Rove. David Johnston and Eric Lipton for the NY Times report "Ex-Aide Rejects Gonzales Stand Over Dismissals": The former aide, D. Kyle Sampson, who resigned two weeks ago, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Mr. Gonzales’s statements about the prosecutors’ dismissals were inaccurate and that the attorney general had been repeatedly advised of the planning for them. (…) Much of the hearing focused on why prosecutors’ names were added to or dropped off the list. At regular White House meetings that included Ms. Miers and her deputy, William Kelley, progress on preparing the list was discussed, Mr. Sampson said. (…) Many of the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, including Senators Jon Kyl of Arizona, Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, made it clear that like the Democrats they remained extremely disappointed with the way the dismissals had been handled and explained.“The bottom line is we shouldn’t have conflicting statements coming from somebody who is the top law enforcement officer of the United States, or his staff,” Mr. Grassley said. “We expect them to be prepared to answer questions. Congress and the American people ought to get a consistent story, and we ought to be able to expect the truth.”

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