Were Mass Resignations Planned at DOJ?:
We have known for a while that friction between DOJ and the White House over some kind of secret surveillance system led a number of top DOJ officials to come close to resigning back in 2004. Newsweek has a piece suggesting that the threatened resignations may have been broader than originally thought. Here is the picture Newsweek portrays, as told in a present-tense reconstruction:
Appalled by the White House's heavy-handed attempt to coerce the gravely ill attorney general, virtually the entire top leadership of the Justice Department is threatening to resign. The group includes the director of the FBI, Robert Mueller, Associate Attorney General Robert McCallum and the chief of the Criminal Division, Chris Wray. Some of them gather in the conference room of Deputy Attorney General James Comey, who describes Ashcroft's bravely turning away the president's men from his hospital bed. The mood that night in the conference room was tense—and sober. "This was a showdown," says a former senior Justice Department official who was there. "Everybody understood the choice they were making and the gravity of the situation. Everybody knew what the stakes were." A different source estimated that as many as 30 top DOJ officials would have resigned. . . . "This was not ideological," recalled a former Ashcroft aide. "This was about the difference between pushing the limits to the edge of the line and crossing the line."Thanks to Josh Marshall for the link.