May 16, 2007

Somehow, this scandal manages to keep getting worse, while Alberto Gonzales’ lies manage to become even more troubling.

The Justice Department considered dismissing many more U.S. attorneys than officials have previously acknowledged, with at least 26 prosecutors suggested for termination between February 2005 and December 2006, according to sources familiar with documents withheld from the public.

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales testified last week that the effort was limited to eight U.S. attorneys fired since last June, and other administration officials have said that only a few others were suggested for removal.

In fact, D. Kyle Sampson, then Gonzales’s chief of staff, considered more than two dozen U.S. attorneys for termination, according to lists compiled by him and his colleagues, the sources said.

They amounted to more than a quarter of the nation’s 93 U.S. attorneys. Thirteen of those known to have been targeted are still in their posts.

First, as Josh Marshall noted, it’d be helpful to get a sense of the Justice Department’s timeline on this.

Second, Gonzales testified under oath, just last week, that this entire endeavor was limited to eight U.S. Attorneys. We know that wasn’t quite right — Graves was the ninth — but now we’re learning that Gonzales was off by a factor of three. Either the Attorney General was lying (again) or he had no idea what was going on around him (again).

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