The Washington Post reports that DOJ Inspector General Glenn Fine will today file his much anticipated report into the firings of district United States Attorneys that have already led to the ouster of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and a major political black-eye for the Bush administration. The report will apparently recommend the assignment of a prosecutor to continue to probe the firings — which have already been investigated up, down and sideways by congressional Democrats.
Fine apparently does not question, nor could he credibly, that U.S. Attorneys are political appointees who serve at the pleasure of the president — i.e., their hiring and firing is inherently “politicized” and the president does not need any reason to terminate them. Nor is there any proof that the firings in question resulted in an obstruction of justice — rank speculation to the contrary notwithstanding from Democrats who tirelessly dismissed real evidence of criminal wrongdoing by Clinton administration officials, including the president himself.
Nevertheless, we will now see additional months (or years) of probing, by a career prosecutor to be named by the Attorney General (and who will appoint to the Deputy Attorney General) in order to determine whether officials made false statements and the like as Congress conducted its politicized “oversight investigation” into whether Justice had become politicized.
By the way, guess which DOJ lawyer the Bush administration, in its infinite wisdom, didn’t fire? That would be none other than Glenn Fine — who was shrewdly appointed by President Clinton on his way out the door (i.e., in December 2000). If Bush were to fire Fine in, say, December 2008, do you suppose a President Obama would feel bound to retain a Bush inspector general with a staff of 400 investigators and the mandate to investigate the inner workings of an Obama Justice Department for four or eight years? Do you suppose a Democrat-controlled senate would entertain confirming such an appointee?