Timeline: How the U.S. Attorneys Were Fired
Compiled by the U.S. News library staff
March 26: Monica Goodling, senior counsel to Gonzales and liaison to the White House, declines to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
March 23: Goodling takes an indefinite leave of absence.
March 22: The Senate Judiciary Committee authorizes subpoenas for current and former White House officials Karl Rove, Harriet Miers, and William Kelley.
March 21: The House Judiciary Committee votes to authorize subpoenas for Rove, Miers, Sampson, Kelley, and Scott Jennings.
March 20: President Bush offers to have White House aides, including Karl Rove, meet with members of Congress behind closed doors, without taking an oath, and without a transcribed report of the session. Democratic leaders reject the offer, saying the aides should testify under oath in public.
March 16: White House spokesman Tony Snow denies that Harriet Miers originally proposed firing all 93 U.S. attorneys: "The most certain thing I can say at this juncture is that Karl Rove has a recollection of Harriet having raised it with him, and his expressing to her that he thought it was a bad idea."
March 15: The attorney general's office agrees to make five current and former staff members available to the Senate Judiciary Committee, including Sampson, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, and Michael Battle, former director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys.
March 13: At the request of the House Judiciary Committee, the Justice Department releases documents detailing the firings of U.S. attorneys. The documents are available via the House Judiciary Committee.
March 12: Sampson resigns.
March 6: Six attorneys testify before the House and Senate judiciary committees. Former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias of New Mexico testifies that after October 2006 phone calls from Rep. Heather Wilson and Sen. Pete Domenici: "I felt leaned on. I felt pressured to get these matters moving."
March 5: Battle announces his resignation as director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys; he made the December 7 phone calls to dismiss the U.S. attorneys.
Feb. 23: U.S. Attorney Margaret Chiara of Michigan announces her resignation, effective March 16.
Feb. 15: San Diego U.S. Attorney Carol Lam's last day in office.
Feb. 13: Kyle "Dusty" Foggo and Brent Wilkes are indicted on 11 counts including corruption, bribery, fraud, and money laundering.
Feb. 6: Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the U.S. attorney firings: "The indisputable fact is that United States attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president. They come and they go for lots of reasons."
Jan. 18: While testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales admits that several U.S. attorneys have been asked to resign: "No, I don't deny that. What I'm saying isbut that happens during every administration during different periods for different reasons. And so the fact that that's happened, quite frankly, some people should view that as a sign of good management. What we do is we make an evaluation about the performance of individuals, and I have a responsibility to the people in your district that we have the best possible people in these positions."
U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden of Nevada announces his resignation, effective February 28.
Jan. 16: U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan of San Francisco announces his resignation. Two days later McNulty aide Michael Elston writes, "Kevin Ryan's FAUSA, Eumi Choi, just called to let us know that Kevin is not returning calls from Sen. Feinstein or Carol Lam and doing his best to stay out of this. He wanted us to know that he's still a 'company man.' I gave her my talkers for McKay and Charlton and asked her to convey them to Kevin."
Dec. 20: U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins of Arkansas leaves office and is replaced by Tim Griffin, a former aide to Karl Rove.
Dec. 19: U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton of Arizona announces his resignation; an assistant announces the resignation of Iglesias.
Dec. 14: U.S. Attorney John McKay of Washington state announces his resignation, effective January 25.
Dec. 7: Justice department official Michael A. Battle dismisses seven U.S. attorneys:
Dec. 5: McNulty emails Sampson with last-minute hesitancy about the firings: "I'm still a little skittish about Bogden. He has been with DOJ since 1990 and, at age 50, has never had a job outside of government. My guess is that he was hoping to ride this out well into '09 or beyond. I'll admit have not looked at his district's performance. Sorry to be raising this again/now; it was just on my mind last night and this morning."
Dec. 4: The White House approves via E-mail the plan to fire seven U.S. attorneys: "We're a go for the US Atty plan. WH leg, political, and communications have signed off and acknowledged that we have to be committed to following through once the pressure comes."
Nov. 27: Gonzales meets with senior aidesincluding McNulty and Sampsonto discuss the plan to fire U.S. attorneys.
Nov. 15: Sampson proposes a revised plan to fire and replace seven U.S. attorneys; he sends it to White House Counsel Miers.
Oct. 16: Republican Rep. Heather Wilson of New Mexico calls Iglesias to ask about ongoing criminal investigations against Democrats. Approximately two weeks later, Sen. Pete Domenici calls Iglesias at home to inquire about the same topic.
Sept. 22: After McKay complains publicly about budget restrictions, Elston writes, "Even when he is in Ireland he causes problems! He needs to stop writing letters."
Sept. 17: Via E-mail, Miers responds to Sampson's preliminary plan to push out attorneys: "I have not forgotten I need to follow up on the info, but things have been crazy. Will be back in touch!"
Sept. 13: Sampson sends a preliminary plan to push out attorneys to Miers. The plan mentions Bud Cummins of Arkansas as an attorney already in the process of being pushed out.
Sampson states in the E-mail: "I am only in favor of executing on a plan to push some USAs out if we are ready and willing to put in the time necessary to select candidates and get them appointedit will be counterproductive to DOJ operations if we push USAs out and then don't have replacements ready to roll immediately."
June: U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins of Arkansas is asked to resign.
May 12: The FBI raids Foggo's house and office.
May 11: Sampson tells White House Deputy Counsel William Kelley: "The real problem we have right now with Carol Lam ... leads me to conclude that we should have someone ready to be nominated on 11/18, the day her 4-year term expires."
May 10: The U.S. attorney's office in San Diego notifies the Justice Department that search warrants are to be executed for Foggo, the No. 3 official in the CIA.
March 9: The Patriot Act reauthorization allows the attorney general to appoint interim prosecutors for an indefinite period of time without approval from the Senate. Previously, interim attorneys could serve only 120 days.
March 8: Foggo resigns as executive director of the CIA.
Jan. 9: Sampson recommends to Miers and Kelley that their office "work quietly with targeted U.S. attorneys to encourage them to leave government service voluntarily."
March: Sampson recommends to Miers and Kelley the retention of U.S. attorneys "who have produced, managed well, and exhibited loyalty to the President and Attorney General" and the removal of those "who have been ineffectual managers and prosecutors, chafed against Administration initiatives, etc."
Feb. 3: Gonzales is confirmed as the 80th attorney general.
January: Rove inquires about the firing of U.S. attorneys. Sampson responds that "...we would like to replace 1520 percent of the current U.S. Attorneysthe underperforming ones. (This is a rough guess; we might want to consider doing performance evaluations after Judge comes on board.) The vast majority of U.S. Attorneys, 8085 percent, I would guess, are doing a great job, are loyal Bushies, etc."