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Report Prompts Inquiry Into U.S. Attorneys’ Dismissal

After the Justice Department issued a report to investigate the dismissal of nine U.S. attorneys, Attorney General Michael Mukasey appointed a criminal prosecutor. NPR's justice correspondent Ari Shapiro explains.

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  • RAY SUAREZ:

    And for more on that, we're joined by Ari Shapiro, who has been covering the story today for National Public Radio.

    Well, that big report landed on Washington's desk today. What is it?

  • ARI SHAPIRO, National Public Radio:

    It's almost 400 pages looking back at this 18-month fiasco. It's basically a chronicle of one of the worst times in the Justice Department's history, examining in detail why each of these nine U.S. attorneys was fired, who made the decisions, whether the justifications were, in fact, the justifications that people publicly gave to Congress and other investigators.

    And it just reads like an indictment of everybody who was in charge of the Justice Department during that period of time.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    There's a new attorney general at the Justice Department or a successor attorney general in charge. What was his reaction, Michael Mukasey's reaction to what was in this report?

  • ARI SHAPIRO:

    The most significant thing he did today was to accept the number-one recommendation of the report, and that recommendation was to appoint a special prosecutor who would look into the allegations that the inspector general and the Office of Professional Responsibility, who conducted this inquiry, were unable to get to the bottom of.

    The investigators in this report did not have cooperation from the White House. They did not have cooperation from some key members of Congress.

    And so, at the end of this massive report, they say, "You know, we've laid out everything we can here, but it's not everything there is to know. We can't reach a final conclusion on whether crimes were committed," so they recommended this special prosecutor be appointed. And Mukasey chose a woman from Connecticut, Nora Dannehy, and she's going to be looking into this going forward.

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