Just Another Guy with Opinions

Gonzales under Pressure

Posted by shadmia on March 16, 2007


The Attorney General, Alberto R Gonzales, head of the Department of Justice, has brought both the integrity and impartiality of the agency which he heads into question. His chief of staff D. Kyle Sampson has resigned. A growing number of both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have called for his resignation and even President Bush gives him luke warm support. The Senate Judiciary Committee cleared the way for subpoenas compelling five Justice Department officials and six of the U.S. attorneys they fired to tell the story of the purge that has prompted demands for the ouster of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. His job is now in as much danger as the jobs of the eight federal prosecutors who were fired, for what increasingly seems were political reasons.

This all began back in Jan 2005, even before Gonzales was Attorney General. In e-mails recently released it was found that Gonzales, his chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, along with Karl Rove and Harriet Miers both from the White House discussed the matter among themselves. At issue was a suggestion to fire up to 20% of the US Attorneys for “under performing”. This was apparently a code word for not being as pro-Bush as Gonzales would have liked. Eventually the eight prosecutors were fired and now Congress is looking into whether the firings were politically motivated.

Gonzales has been forced to admit that during the Congressional hearings into this matter, the Justice Department had not been completely open and honest with Congress.

Gonzales acknowledged his department mishandled the dismissals of eight U.S. attorneys and misled Congress about how they were fired. He said he was ultimately to blame for those “mistakes” but stood by the firings.

“I acknowledge that mistakes were made here,” Gonzales told reporters at a news briefing after he canceled an out-of-town trip. “I accept that responsibility.” He promised changes “so that the mistakes that occurred in this instance do not occur again in the future.”
I believe very strongly in our obligation to ensure that when I provide information to the Congress that it’s accurate and that it’s complete. And I am very dismayed that that may not have occurred here,” he said.

For nearly two months, Democrats have accused the Justice Department of playing politics with the prosecutors’ jobs. They suggested some of the U.S. attorneys were fired for either investigating Republicans or failing to pursue cases against Democrats. Several ousted prosecutors have told Congress they were improperly pressured by Republicans on pending cases.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., renewed his call for Gonzales to resign:

This purge was based purely on politics, to punish prosecutors who were perceived to be too light on Democrats or too tough on Republicans,” Schumer said. “Attorney General Gonzales has either forgotten the oath he took to uphold the Constitution or just doesn’t understand that his duty to protect the law is greater than his duty to protect the president.”

Schumer, who also accused Karl Rove of complicity in the case, was joined by a host of other Democrats, including national party chairman Howard Dean and presidential hopefuls John Edwards and Hillary Clinton. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., predicted Wednesday that Gonzales would soon be out. “I think he is gone. I don’t think he’ll last long,” Reid said in an interview with Nevada reporters. Asked how long, Reid responded: “Days.”

Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ak) also calls for Gonzales to resign amid an uncovered plot to get approval for new appointees by deceiving Senators including Mark Pryor himself. See this two part video Part1 and Part2.

Republicans also joined in the criticism.

One Republican, Sen. John Sununu of New Hampshire, has publicly urged President Bush to fire Gonzales. Still another GOP lawmaker, this one in the House and not ready to speak out publicly, said Thursday he planned to call next week for Gonzales to step down. And Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., said Thursday Gonzales had lost the confidence of Congress. “The senator believes it would be helpful to have an attorney general that Congress can have more confidence in,” said Smith’s spokesman, R.C. Hammond.
“Let’s give them a chance to respond before we get tough,” said Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the senior Republican on the Judiciary Committee. “I’m prepared to get tough, but I want to get tough with a basis for doing so.”


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One Response to “Gonzales under Pressure”

  1. Paul said

    Liar liar pants on fire, or LLPOF for short. Gonzalez… pffft!

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