Report: White House Involved in U.S. Attorney Firings

A White House spokesman did not return a call from a reporter today. But in correspondence with investigators, Deputy White House Counsel Emmett Flood wrote that in some instances "the White House has declined to provide internal documents relating to the U.S. Attorneys resignations" because "those materials by their very nature, implicate White House confidentiality interests of a very high order."

In part because Justice's IG and OPR were unable to complete its work, Attorney General Michael Mukasey appointed a federal prosecutor to continue the probe. The IG and OPR do not have prosecutorial powers and cannot compel witnesses other than Justice Department employees to cooperate with their investigators.

But Nora R. Dannehy, the acting U.S. attorney in Connecticut, who Mukasey appointed to lead the new probe, will have those powers. Mukasey said in a statement that Dannehy would have the authority to "ultimately determine whether any prosecutable offense was committed with regard to the removal of a U.S. Attorney" and whether administration officials might have broken the law by giving misleading Congress about the firings of the federal prosecutors.

It is unclear what might happen if Dannehy, like her predecessors, seeks records from the White House she believes pertinent to her probe, only to be rebuffed once again.

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