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Official Blasts Press for Talk of Meese Quitting

December 29, 1987|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A top Justice Department official today dismissed as "bizarre speculation" the notion that Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese III might resign in the final year of the Reagan Administration.

"I can attest firsthand that Atty. Gen. Ed Meese is very much in charge at the Justice Department," William Bradford Reynolds, the assistant attorney general in charge of civil rights, said at a meeting with reporters.

"I should make it clear that resignation is the farthest thing from Atty. Gen. Meese's thoughts," he said.

Reynolds blamed the news media for raising the idea that Meese might resign.

"Over the past several months there has been some particularly bizarre speculation among several columnists and commentators, who have regularly demonstrated that they have little else to contribute--speculation that the attorney general might resign," he said.

Whispers From Uninformed

"Whispers of 'preoccupation with the independent counsel matters,' or 'inattention to the business of running the largest law office in the world' can only be coming from the uninformed or the disingenuous," Reynolds said.

Meese has been involved over the last year in two separate investigations by independent counsels Lawrence E. Walsh and James McKay.

Despite the investigations, Meese "has been very much at the helm during what may well be one of the department's most active and productive years," Reynolds said.

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