Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Was John Ashcroft Pushed Out?

Despite the view of many left-of-center pundits, Attorney General John Ashcroft never fit neatly into the role of being a Bush administration bogeyman the way his successors -- Alberto Gonzalez and Michael Mukasey -- do.

Then-Acting AG James Comey has testified about the infamous March 2004 midnight showdown at Ashcroft's bed in Georgetown University Hospital between himself and Gonzalez, who was White House counsel, and Chief of Staff Andrew Card over Comey's refusal to sign an order extending President Bush's warrantless domestic spying program because of his concerns over its legality.

Gonzalez and Card tried to get Ashcroft, who was debilitated with pancreatitis, to overrule Comey, but the ailing AG "lifted his head off the pillow and in very strong terms expressed his view" that the program was questionable and Comey held the powers of the office at that moment, according to Comey's testimony.

Now former New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias, who was fired by the administration for refusing to file bogus voter fraud charges against Democrats, says that Ashcroft's refusal to support the warrantless wiretapping program led to him being "pushed out."

More here.

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