I blogged yesterday that Rep. Steve Pearce has denied being one of two congressional Republicans who called former U.S. Attorney for New Mexico David Iglesias prior to the November election. According to the Washington Post:
In an interview Tuesday, Iglesias said the two lawmakers called him about a well-known criminal investigation involving a Democratic legislator. He declined to provide their party affiliation, but his comments indicated the callers were Republicans.
New Mexico media outlets reported last year that the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office in Albuquerque had opened a probe into allegations involving former Democratic state senator Manny Aragon and government construction projects in Bernalillo County. No charges have been filed in the case.
Iglesias said the lawmakers who called him seemed focused on whether charges would be filed before the November elections. He said the calls made him feel “pressured to hurry the subsequent cases and prosecutions” but said he did not receive similar contacts from anyone in the executive branch. He acknowledged he made a mistake by not reporting the calls to the Justice Department.
Referring to the calls, Iglesias said: “I suspect that was the reason I was asked to step down, but I don’t know that I’ll ever know.”
As reported elsewhere, the only members of New Mexico’s Congressional delegation that haven’t denied calling Iglesias are Sen. Pete Domenici and Rep. Heather Wilson. Heath isn’t the only one having trouble getting a hold of the two:
The offices of New Mexico’s two other Republican lawmakers, Sen. Pete V. Domenici and Rep. Heather A. Wilson, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
Some officials with the Justice Department have said Iglesias’ firing, along with seven other U.S. Attorney around the country, were for performance related reasons. Iglesias said yesterday that those claims pushed him to come forward and set the record straight.
Josh Marshall had a few observations on the competence angle yesterday, including this one:
There’s another interesting tidbit down at the bottom of the article — a few brief comments from former Deputy AG James Comey. Remember, when the Plame case started to heat up in late 2003 and Attorney General Ashcroft had to recuse himself from participation in the case, it was Comey, the Deputy AG, who appointed a prosecutor he knew would get to the bottom of the mess, Patrick Fitzgerald.
The point? Here’s Comey:
Former deputy attorney general James B. Comey this week praised Iglesias as “a fired-up guy.”
“David Iglesias was one of our finest and someone I had a lot of confidence in as deputy attorney general,” said Comey, now general counsel for Lockheed Martin.
Finally, it looks like both houses of Congress will be looking into the firings in the coming week, and, subpoenas are on the way too:
Well, as the Senate Judiciary Committee moves towards issuing subpoenas for the ousted prosecutors, the House seems to be moving faster.
The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law will vote tomorrow on whether to issue subpoenas to four of the fired U.S. attorneys: California’s Southern District’s Carol Lam, Nevada’s David Iglesias, Arkansas’ Eastern District’s H.E. “Bud” Cummins, and Washington’s Western District’s John McKay.
If the committee did issue subpoenas, the attorneys would testify next Thursday, according to the press release from Chairwoman Linda SÃ¡nchez (D-CA).