Friday, January 5, 2001

It’s getting ugly

Volunteers sought

No volunteer here

Bonior’s choice

Downright dangerous

Follow the directions

Widow won’t run

Reno’s pickup truck

Elian came first

Justice sends warning

Justice Department officials sought to have independent counsel David M. Barrett fired for expanding his investigation of former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros to include accusations of wrongdoing by Justice, Fox News reported last night.

The news organization said Mr. Barrett had focused on accusations that senior department officials improperly tried to influence the IRS after the independent counsel’s office began looking into possible tax fraud by Cisneros.

Cisneros pleaded guilty in 1999 to lying to the FBI during a background investigation about payments he made to a former mistress.

Department sources told The Washington Times last night that Mr. Barrett’s office was advised that the tax investigation did not fall within his mandate and, as a result, was not within his jurisdiction. Justice and IRS officials later investigated the tax case and declined to prosecute, the sources said.

Mr. Barrett has presented evidence to a federal grand jury in the tax case for the past 10 months, although no indictment has been returned. The attorney general can remove an independent counsel for cause, although the matter can be appealed by the special prosecutor to the federal court panel that oversees independent counsels.

Fox News said more than a dozen IRS employees had been called to testify before the grand jury.

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