March 22, 2007

CARDIN: WHITE HOUSE OFFICIALS HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO TESTIFY PUBLICLY, UNDER OATH, ON FIRINGS OF U.S. ATTORNEYS

Oren Shur: 202-224-4524

Susan Sullam: 410-962-4436


WASHINGTON - Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Judiciary Committee, today called on White House officials to testify publicly under oath before the committee on their involvement in the questionable firings of eight U.S. Attorneys.

The Senator joined a bipartisan majority on the Judiciary Committee in voting to authorize Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to issue subpoenas to several officials, including White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers.

Following today's Judiciary Committee hearing, Sen. Cardin issued the following statement:

"The U.S. Attorneys are the chief law enforcement officers in our states. They are responsible for investigating a broad range of federal crimes, including corruption by public officials. In order for our justice system to work, the U.S. Attorneys must be able to investigate and prosecute cases in a completely independent manner, free from all political pressure. That is why I am so troubled by evidence indicating that U.S. Attorneys were fired for political reasons, despite having received excellent performance reports. Several of these U.S. Attorneys were pursuing high-profile investigations of elected officials at the time they were fired. The American people deserve some answers.

"We've heard from the fired U.S. Attorneys themselves, and their stories are chilling. Now we need to hear from those responsible for firing them. Based on the limited information the Bush Administration has released, we know that these firings were carried out by the Justice Department after discussions with White House officials, including Karl Rove and Harriet Miers. They have a responsibility to tell the American people exactly why these eight U.S. Attorneys were fired so abruptly last year. Mr. Rove and Ms. Miers should testify publicly, under oath, not behind closed doors.

"If the officials involved in firings these U.S. Attorneys do not come before the Judiciary Committee willingly, I fully support issuing subpoenas. The eight fired U.S. Attorneys deserve answers. The American people deserve answers. The sanctity and integrity of our entire justice system is at stake."