Sunday, May 17, 2009

Dems want Obama to make Easley/Edwards probes go away

"John Edwards admits federal investigators are asking him questions. Federal subpoenas were issued Friday related to Mike Easley.

"As the separate federal probes into a former senator and the former governor are emerging, Democrats are taking steps to replace the Republican prosecutor who is spearheading the inquiries about the highest-profile North Carolina Democrats of the past decade."

That's the lede of today's story by N&O reporter Andy Curliss on the deepening federal investigations of the two top Dems. (Curliss has been absolutely on fire lately.)

Curliss goes on to report that freshman Sen. Kay Hagan has chosen a panel to come up with successors to U.S. Attorney George Holding, a Bush appointee, who's led the probes. And Hagan said she might have a nominee in mind within a few weeks.

When a new president takes office (especially when that transition involves a change of parties), it's not at all unusual for the new administration to replace most if not all U.S. attorneys, not to mention other office-holders who serve at the pleasure of the president. Obama could have fired any or all of the nearly 100 federal prosecutors who worked for George W. Bush. But he didn't, and as Curliss reports,

So far, Obama has been slower to make changes than some of his predecessors. Bill Clinton asked all U.S. attorneys to resign when he took office, for example. Democrats this year also have signaled they want to keep some holdovers, including political independent Patrick Fitzgerald in Chicago, who is overseeing the case against former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat.

So with Holding knee-deep in the Edwards and Easley probes, any move to replace him now sure would look like a calculated move to help Democrats escape scrutiny now, wouldn't it?