WASHINGTON, March 27 (UPI) -- A U.S. Justice Department official ignored advice from former White House Counsel Harriet Miers when he testified before Congress, ABC News reports.
Paul McNulty, a former congressional staffer, went beyond written testimony that had been approved by the administration when he appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee, ABC said, citing sources. While Miers, in an e-mail, suggested that witnesses refuse to comment on personnel matters, McNulty talked about specific reasons for the dismissal of seven U.S. attorneys, suggesting they had been fired for good reason.
McNulty's testimony helped turn the dismissals into a major political scandal. That was partly because the fired federal prosecutors began going public to defend their reputations.
"That's what lit the fuse," said Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. "They should've expected pushback -- not only from the U.S. attorneys but from their supporters once they characterized the reason as negative performance, inadequate performance."