White House Drops Opposition to Bill Requiring Senate Confirmation to Fill Prosecutor Posts

The Bush administration, bowing to an uproar over its firing of eight federal prosecutors, won't oppose legislation changing the rules for replacing them, senators said Thursday.

"The administration would not object to the bill," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., referring to legislation to remove the administration's power to fill the vacancies without Senate confirmation. He spoke with reporters after a meeting involving Judiciary Committee senators and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Schumer, Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Pennsylvania Sen.Arlen Specter, the panel's senior Republican, said Gonzales also agreed to let five of his top aides involved in the firings talk with the committee.

The committee was prepared to authorize subpoenas for the officials.

Six of the eight ousted prosecutors told House and Senate committees on Tuesday that they were dismissed without explanation. Some said the dismissals followed calls from members of Congress concerning sensitive political corruption investigations.

Others said they felt threatened that the Justice Department would retaliate against them for talking with reporters and providing lawmakers with information about their dismissals.