Former U.S. attorneys are talking about the Bush political purge of the Justice Department during their tenures. They include Bud Cummins of Little Rock, pushed out to help Karl Rove political hit man Tim Griffin build a resume for the 2nd Congressional District race he's now making.
Gerard Matthews is on the scene with a camera. Clips to come. It also can be found here.
The Bush Administration made the Justice Department a "laughing stock," one panelist said. Former Attorney General Gonzales was called a liar and incompetent who served strictly as a political loyalist. Another panelist said Cummins was targeted for removal solely for political reasons and said he was courageous for standing up and saying what had been done was wrong. For that, he paid a political price.
Cummins offered some defense of the Bush White House by saying there are political operators in every White House with bad ideas. He, too, turned the blame on Gonzales and other political operators after the "A Team," meaning John Ashcroft, left Justice. Cummins also choked up talking about some of the "good guys" in the controversy, including U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder, who Cummins once opposed in a race for Congress.
In questioning afterward (full video on the jump), Cummins declined to be drawn into the 2nd District race, including to say who he'd vote for. When asked what he thought about the Justice Department's decision that there was not enough evidence to pursue prosecution, Cummins said, "I think it would be wrong to take that prosecution decision, which is a declination, and over-read into it that it was some kind of exoneration. It was clear from all the data and all the analysis that there was some wrongdoing and there was some lies being told."
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