A U.S. House subcommittee has approved subpoenas for President Bush’s political adviser Karl Rove and other top White House officials in a push to get more answers about the firings of eight U.S. attorneys. Senators Christopher Bond and Claire McCaskill say they disagree over whether the mid-term firings and the movitivation behind them were unprecedented. McCaskill says never before have U.S. attorneys lost their jobs over a political agenda. She says the firings were an assualt on the criminal justice system and are offensive to remaining prosecutors. She says by implication the remaining attorneys still hold their positions because they remain loyal to President Bush and they are prosecuting according to a Bush agenda.
Bond disputes McCaskills claims saying the administration has every right to turn over such political positions, politically-motivated or not. He says former President Bill Clinton fired every U.S. attorney when he came into office. Bond hinted that those firings were also politically-motivated. He says the attorneys serve at the pleasure of the President and their replacement is a common executive practice. What Bond says is unprecedented is the access to internal information the President has offered Congress. He says the President has offered 3,000 pages of written documents and has authorized his senior staff to be available to answer questions.
But McCaskill says the Bush administration offered misleading reasoning behind the firings. She says the administration originally claimed the firings were performance-based. She questions whether there could be instances of perjury during the explanation of the firings. McCaskill says she wants the White House to go on the record, under oath to explain the firings, or, she wants Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resign. McCaskill says the reasoning behind the firings is not a trivial issue. She says the controversy is "a big deal… It isn’t unimportant. It isn’t political posturing."
Bond responds that the controvery is part of what he calls the "gotcha agenda" in Washington. He says "there are some who want the president and the whole administration to resign." But, he says, "that’s just not going to happen." Bond says the administration should not have fuzzed up the reasons behind the firings. He says the White House should simply have been clear from the beginning, it was "exercising the President’s right to provide other individuals an opportunity to serve the country as U.S. attorneys." Bond says the President will not tolerate the subpeonas for his personal advisers any more than Congress would settle for subpeonas for its cheifs of staff and legislative leaders.