Josh points to former WV USA Kasey Warner claiming he was fired to stop his investigation of a public corruption case. But it sounds a lot more likely that Warner is the second USA James Comey had to fire than that Warner was fired to impede an investigation. Here are the relevant passages from the story:
Karl K. "Kasey" Warner said he has "concerns" and sees parallels between himself and eight other ousted U.S. attorneys. Congress and an internal Justice Department agency are investigating whether those firings were politically motivated.
The Justice Department rejected any suggestion of politics in Warner's dismissal.
"The notion that the termination was political is absolutely false," spokesman Dean Boyd said. "We encourage Mr. Warner to provide the department with a written privacy waiver and we will be happy to provide you with the reason for his removal."
Warner would not elaborate on what concerned him about his August 2005 firing but rejected the idea that he was fired over his performance.
"The facts speak for themselves. Look into how I ran my office. See how I managed the office," Warner said. "If they want to look at the cases I had and the corruption cases we have now, people can come to their own conclusions about why I was let go."
Warner said he refused to resign when asked by the Justice Department, responding that he took his direction from President Bush.
"Next thing I know, I get a letter from the president's counsel, Harriet Miers, saying I'd been fired, no reason given," Warner recounted in a telephone interview. [my emphasis]
As you'll recall, in Comey's HJC testimony, Mel Watt asked the former Deputy AG if he ever had to ask a USA to resign. Comey explained he had had to ask two USAs to resign, one under Ashcroft and one under Gonzales.
WATT: ... which was to ask Mr. Comey whether during the time that you were the deputy, did it ever occur that U.S. attorneys were terminated or asked to resign?
WATT: And, if so -- without identifying the individuals involved -- could you describe what the process was that you followed?
I remember two occasions on which we asked U.S. attorneys to resign. Both had engaged in what I considered serious misconduct. And one was when John Ashcroft was attorney general. The other was when Alberto Gonzales was the attorney general.
In each instance, my recollection is that I spoke to the attorney general about the misconduct, laid it out. We discussed it and how serious it was and got his approval to have my senior staff member, David Margolis -- who's been mentioned -- place a call to this individual and suggest that he resign.
And in both cases, that's what we did. I talked to my staff about it quite a bit, talked to the attorney general, then had Mr. Margolis place a call and tell the U.S. attorney that it was time to leave and explain why; that, given what had been found and the conduct that had been discovered, that it was not appropriate for them to remain in office.
And one U.S. attorney resigned in response to that call. The other insisted on being fired by the president. And so we had the president actually fire him by letter.
COMEY: And that is, in both of the cases where I was involved with doing that, terminating a U.S. attorney, there were extensive discussions with the U.S. attorney so they understood why we wanted them out.
And the two I was involved with were -- I'm not going to go into it here -- but were not close calls. I mean, these were -- as soon as you read about it, you said, "This guy's got to go."
And -- but we explained it, through Mr. Margolis, to both people in the two cases I was involved with.
As I have previously suggested, the first of these two is almost certainly Thomas DiBiagio. DiBiagio resigned in December 2004, under Ashcroft. Comey had warned him about his demands for public corruption indictments of Democrats. And David Margolis has described, on the record, asking for DiBiagio to resign, just as Comey described happened. Like Warner, DiBiagio claimed his case was an early example of politically-motivated USA firing.
Warner's own story provides enough clues to make it very very likely that he was the second USA Comey had to fire:
- He was fired in August 2005, at about the time Comey left (so the lead-up would have occurred under Comey)
- He refused to resign, so the White House (not Bush, but Miers) sent a letter firing him
- DOJ appears ready to refute Warner's story, as they did with DiBiagio
If I'm right, perhaps Warner was fired for campaign finance violations, as alleged in the story; perhaps he was fired for precisely the public corruption cases he claims he was fired for--but because he was pursuing cases to help his brothers Kris--the RNC state chair--and Monty--a Republican candidate for governor.
I will say this though--he sure seems like the second USA Comey referred to. And I believe Comey's description of serious misconduct over this kind of self-serving statement.
"Sometimes soldiers catch a bullet. If you're truly out there doing your job, if you're truly a leader, sometimes you catch a bullet," he said. "It might not be fair, it might not be right, it might be sad, but that's part of what you do. I caught a bullet. It's not something you cry about or complain about."
Update: Here's an allegation that Warner trumped up an investigation against Democratic State Senate candidate Oshel Craigo because his brother, Kris, was having trouble raising money for Craigo's Republican opponent.