The Justice Department is one class act. Once the U.S. attorneys and others began to suggest that the firings were not appropriate, the Bush DoJ began threatening the former attorneys with reprisal. One of the documents released by the Justice Department included an e-mail from H.E. 'Bud' Cummins to the group of US Attorneys removed by the White House.
Mike Elston from the DAG's office called me today. The call was amiable enough, but clearly spurred by the Sunday Post article. The essence of his message was that they feel like they are taking unnecessary flak to avoid trashing each of'us specifically or further, but if they feel like any of us intend to continue to offer quotes to the press, or organize behind the scenes congressional pressure, then they would feel forced to somehow pull their gloves off and offer public criticisms to defend their actions more fully. I can't offer any specific quotes,but that was clearly the message. I was tempted to challenged him and say something movie-like such as "are you threatening ME???", but instead I kind of shrugged it off and said I didn't sense that anyone was intending to perpetuate this.
I also made it a point to tell him that all of us have turned down multiple invitations to testify.He reacted quite a bit to the idea of anyone voluntarily testifying and it seemed clear that they would see that as a major escalation of the conflict meriting some kind of unspecified form of retaliation.
Bush's remarks today are telling. His reference about feeling sorry for the US Attorneys involved suggests that the gloves are really going to come off. Of course, when the DoJ refused to remove a U.S. Attorney after the sitting District Judge said he wasn't doing his job , going after these prosecutors will prove to be an interesting challenge.