The e-mails released Tuesday revealed that the firings were considered and discussed for two years by Justice Department and White House officials. The issue first arose in a February 2005 discussion between Sampson and Miers, officials said. At the time, Miers suggested the possibility of firing all 93 U.S. attorneys. Such purges of the political appointees often come at the beginning of a new president's administration, not midway through.
The e-mails show Sampson discouraged the across-the-board housecleaning but began a review to weed out prosecutors whom the administration deemed to be performing poorly.
In a Sept 13, 2006, e-mail to Miers, Sampson listed one prosecutor, Bud Cummins in Little Rock, as "in the process of being pushed out." Five others — in Arizona, Nevada, Michigan, San Diego and Seattle — were listed as U.S attorneys "we should now consider pushing out."
Four days later, Miers responded: "Kyle, thanks for this. I have not forgotten I need to follow up on the info but things have been crazy."
Sampson then drew up an elaborate five-step plan to replace the targeted prosecutors with as little political fallout as possible, which he sent in a Nov. 15, 2006, e-mail to Miers, deputy White House counsel William K. Kelley and McNulty.
"We'll stand by for a green light from you," Sampson wrote to Miers and Kelley. Upon getting their approval, Sampson wrote, he asked that they "circulate it to Karl's shop" — which officials confirmed was a reference to Karl Rove, Bush's top political adviser and deputy chief of staff.
White House approval came a month later.
"We're a go for the US Atty plan," Kelley wrote in a Dec. 4, 2006, e-mail to Sampson and Miers. "WH leg, political, communications have signed off and acknowledged that we have to be committed to following through once the pressure comes."
I am not exactly sure what is going to come of this. There is lots of talk about Alberto Gonzales resigning, but I am inclined to believe that this White House will keep him in office unless something even more ridiculous comes out. Part of the reason for this is, that the press does not cover stories like this very well, I expect that this will be minimized and will allow for some coverage for the Bush team.
We'll see what happens...