Monday, March 05, 2007

Justice official resigns; Top House Democrat says 'wheels coming off' Bush defense of ,

The sudden resignation of a top government official involved in the sacking of US attorneys has raised eyebrows in Congress. The chairperson of a congressional subcommittee investigating the situation said that the official's sudden exit from government service showed that "the wheels seem to be coming off" the administration's defense of its actions.

The Associated Press today reported the resignation of Michael A. Battle as Director of the Executive Office for US Attorneys. According to the AP report, Battle "had personally informed the ousted U.S. attorneys of their removal" but was reportedly not involved in the decision-making leading to the firings.

He had, AP reported, "notified U.S. attorneys of his decision in January and had informed the department last summer that he wished to pursue opportunities in the private sector." A DOJ spokesperson told the AP that "His departure is not connected to the U.S. attorney controversy whatsoever."

Battle's resignation raised the suspicions of Democratic Members of the House Judiciary Committee who are investigating the firing of US Attorneys by the Bush White House.

"The wheels seem to be coming off the Bush Administration's increasingly hollow defense of its decision to fire eight U.S. Attorneys," said Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-CA), the Chairwoman of the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law.

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