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Frist aide on block to assuage Senate Dems

Feb. 5, 2004 at 10:37 AM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- An aide to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill First, R-Tenn., will resign this week to assuage Democrats angry over leaked judiciary committee memos.

The Hill newspaper reported Thursday Manuel Miranda is expected to resign under pressure from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orin Hatch, R-Utah, for his involvement in the leaking of confidential Democratic memos on plans to block Bush's judicial nominees.

Miranda was leading GOP efforts to ram Bush's judicial nominees through Senate confirmation in the face of staunch opposition from Democrats and has admitted to Senate investigators he read confidential Democratic memos accessed through a glitch in Judiciary committee computer systems.

Democrats are demanding a full inquiry into the leaks and for tough punishments for those involved, but the legality of the GOP aides accessing the files remains murky.

An investigation by the Senate Sergeant at Arms investigation is ongoing.

Senate Republican efforts to increase public interests in Democrat's blocking Bush's nominees because of their conservative ideology, typified by the 40-hour debate on the issue last fall, are likely to lessen in the wake of the move and because of election year concerns.

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