by Max Brantley
Bud Cummins is definitely off the Republican reservation. The former U.S. attorney has apparently told the Senate this morning that he was the one who received a call from "Justice" Feb. 20 to let other fired U.S. attorneys know that if they spoke up on their ousters they could expect bad stuff to happen. None dare call this a threat. The House version this afternoon may be available on-line as well. You think the TV signal is on over at U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin's office? The whole scheme sounds like something his mentor Karl Rove cooked up. The difference is now that Rove no longer gets away with his evil-doing as he did during the glory days of Bush II.
UPDATE: Here is some of Cummins' testimony:
Here's the Washington Post coverage. The lead is on the scandalous tampering with a New Mexico U.S. attorney by members of Congress, but also:
Meanwhile, Bud Cummins, who was dismissed from his position as U.S. Attorney for Arkansas, said he had been threatened with retaliation by the Bush administration if he testified before Congress voluntarily.
Cummins provided the committees with an e-mail he sent the five other prosecutors appearing with him today which detailed a tense conversation the former Arkansas federal prosecutor had with a senior Justice Department official regarding their public comments about the firings.
Mike Elston, a top aide to Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, called Cummins two days after a story ran in the Washington Post about the firings. According to Cummins' e-mail, Elston reacted angrily to the idea that the fired prosecutors might testify voluntarily before congressional panels.
"It seemed clear that they would see that as a major escalation of the conflict meriting some kind of unspecified form of retaliation," Cummins told his fellow dismissed prosecutors.
Does this kind of stuff break any laws? Might Tim Griffin want to investigate?
Here's a link to a copy of the e-mail Cummins sent other prosecutors.