Former U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins of Arkansas, one of the eight federal prosecutors who were fired recently, says he got what Newsweek calls a “vaguely menacing” call from from Michael Elston, a top Justice official. If Cummins continued talking to the media about the case, he quotes Elston as saying, Justice officials might feel compelled to “somehow pull their gloves off” and retaliate against the prosecutors by publicly trashing them. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham called the firings “clumsy and unseemly.”
Newsweek says that a key question for investigators is whether Justice officials, with involvement from the White House, fired prosecutors in retaliation for actions that didn’t favor the GOP? Fired prosecutor John McKay of Seattle, told Newsweek that local Republicans pressured him to launch a criminal probe of voting fraud that would tilt a deadlocked Washington governor’s race. “They wanted me to go out and start arresting people,” he says; he refused to do so because there was “no evidence.” After McKay was fired, he got a phone call from a “clearly nervous” Elston asking if he intended to go public: “He was offering me a deal: you stay silent and the attorney general won’t say anything bad about you.” Elston “can’t imagine” how McKay got that impression.