McNulty: It's all good

Outgoing deputy attorney general says no one at Justice tried to mislead him so that he'd mislead Congress.

By Tim Grieve
Published June 21, 2007 4:57PM (UTC)
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Now that Paul McNulty is on his way out the door at the Justice Department, will he push back against efforts by Alberto Gonzales and Monica Goodling to implicate him in the U.S. attorneys scandal? Not if the opening statement he has provided the House Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on commercial and administrative law is any indication.

McNulty acknowledges that his prior testimony about the firings of federal prosecutors was "in some respects incomplete," but he says he doesn't think "anyone in the Department of Justice set out to mislead" him so that he would "provide Congress with inaccurate information about this matter."

That claim would seem to be at odds with Sen. Chuck Schumer's characterization of a private conversation he had with McNulty -- a conversation in which Schumer said that McNulty blamed Goodling for not providing him with complete information about the White House's role in the firings before he testified about them the first time around. Schumer's recounting of that conversation played a role in Goodling's decision to take the Fifth and, it seems, in her decision to lash out at McNulty when she finally testified before the House Judiciary Committee.

McNulty will tell the Judiciary Committee subcommittee later today that "when it comes to enforcing the law, Justice Department employees are blind to partisan politics." "It plays no role in the Department's actions," he says. "The law enforcement professionals, lawyers and staff at DOJ check their politics at the door and investigate and prosecute cases based strictly on the facts and the law."

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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