Sunday, March 25, 2007

New e-mails contradict Gonzales

A new batch of Justice Department e-mails released Friday both fill in the "gap" in the previous releases -- and suggest even more starkly that Gonzales lied about his involvement in the prosecutor firings.

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and senior advisers discussed the plan to remove seven United States attorneys at a meeting last Nov. 27, 10 days before the dismissals were carried out, according to a Justice Department calendar entry disclosed Friday.

The previously undisclosed meeting appeared to contradict Mr. Gonzales’s previous statements about his knowledge of the dismissals. He said at a news conference on March 13 that he had not participated in any discussions about the removals, but knew in general that his aides were working on personnel changes involving United States attorneys.

Either Gonzales lied, or he is the most inept and unluckiest attorney general in U.S. history. Because consider how this looks: Gonzales denies involvement in such a major matter. The department releases a flood of e-mails to bolster its case -- but with an 18-day gap. When some e-mails from that gap are finally released, they show that Gonzales was, in fact, involved in the firings.

Could he simply have forgotten the meeting? Yes. Could the "gap" have been unintentional? Yes. But when you put it all together, it looks like the AG lied and then tried to cover it up.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No----actually the new e-mails back up what he said. If that's all they can find---evidence of ONE MEETING where he actually signed off on it, then that backs up his comments about not being involved in the "process."

JP5

3/25/2007 1:27 PM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

JP5, you're starting to sound positively Clintonian, arguing about the meaning of "involved."

Here's the transcript of Gonzales' testimony. The relevant quotes:

GONZALES: What I know is that there began a process of evaluating strong performers, not as strong performers and weak performers. And so, as far as I knew, my chief of staff was involved in the process of determining who were the weak performers; where were the districts around the country where we could do better for the people in that district.

And that's what I knew.... I was not involved in seeing any memos, was not involved in any discussions about what was going on. That's basically what I knew as the attorney general.


He was asked essentially the same question a second time:

GONZALES: Obviously, there are going to be decisions made that I'm not aware of all the time. All the decisions are delegated to people who are confirmed by the Senate, who are -- by statute, have been delegated authority to make decisions.

Mr. Sampson was charged with directing the process to ascertain where were our weak performers, where we could do better in districts around the country. That is a responsibility that he had during the transition. It is a -- he worked with respect to U.S. attorneys and presidential personnel at the White House. That was a role that he had when he was in the counsel's office. That was a role that he had when he was at the Department of Justice under General Ashcroft.

And so, naturally, when questions came up with respect to the evaluation of performances of U.S. attorneys, it would by Kyle Sampson who would drive that effort.


And a third time:

GONZALES: But the charge for the chief of staff here was to drive this process. And the mistake that occurred here was that information that he had was not shared with individuals within the department who would then be providing testimony and information to the Congress.

And a FOURTH time:

GONZALES: I just described the extent of the knowledge I had about the process. I never saw documents. We never had a discussion about where things stood.

What I knew was that there was an ongoing effort that was led by Mr. Sampson vetted through the Department of Justice to ascertain where we could make improvements in U.S. attorney performances around the country.


Reading that, what part would lead you to suspect that he had participated in a meeting to discuss and approve the firings?

3/26/2007 3:27 PM  

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