White House Is Reported to Be Linked to a Dismissal
WASHINGTON, Feb. 15 — A United States attorney in Arkansas who was dismissed from his job last year by the Justice Department was ousted after Harriet E. Miers, the former White House counsel, intervened on behalf of the man who replaced him, according to Congressional aides briefed on the matter.
Ms. Miers, the aides said, phoned an aide to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales suggesting the appointment of J. Timothy Griffin, a former military and civilian prosecutor who was a political director for the Republican National Committee and a deputy to Karl Rove, the White House political adviser.
Later, the incumbent United States attorney, H. E. Cummins III, was removed without explanation and replaced on an interim basis by Mr. Griffin. Officials at the White House and Justice Department declined to comment on Ms. Miers’s role in the matter.
Paul J. McNulty, the deputy attorney general, said at a hearing last week that Mr. Cummins had done nothing wrong but was removed to make room for Mr. Griffin. It was not known at the time Mr. McNulty testified that Ms. Miers had intervened on Mr. Griffin’s behalf.
Her involvement was disclosed on Wednesday by Justice Department officials led by Mr. McNulty, who held a closed-door briefing for senators on the Judiciary Committee after Democrats criticized the dismissals of 7 to 10 United States attorneys as politically motivated.