Tuesday, April 17, 2007

More trouble for Gonzales

The Virginia Tech shootings have prompted a postponement of Alberto Gonzales' Congressional appearance, which may be a good thing for him; it'll give him time to come up with an explanation for this.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' assertion that he was not involved in identifying the eight U.S. attorneys who were asked to resign last year is at odds with a recently released internal Department of Justice e-mail, ABC News has learned.

That e-mail said that Gonzales supported firing one federal prosecutor six months before she was asked to leave....

It doesn't just contradict Gonzales' initial account, an explanation of which will be the focus of his appearance. It appears to contradict the testimony he has prepared for that appearance, in which he states the following:

Mr. Sampson periodically updated me on the review. As I recall, his updates were brief, relatively few in number, and focused primarily on the review process itself. During those updates, to my knowledge, I did not make decisions about who should or should not be asked to resign.

Except that:

The recently released e-mail from Sampson, dated June 1, 2006, indicated that Gonzales was actively involved in discussions about Lam and had decided to fire her if she did not improve. In the e-mail to other top Justice Department officials, Sampson outlined several steps that Gonzales suggested, culminating in Lam's replacement if she failed to bolster immigration enforcement.

"AG [Attorney General] has given additional thought to the San Diego situation and now believes that we should adopt a plan" that would lead to her removal if she "balks" at immigration reform, Sampson wrote.

The e-mail laid out other possible ways to deal with Lam short of dismissal. Gonzales supported the idea of first having "a heart to heart with Lam about the urgent need to improve immigration enforcement" and of working with her "to develop a plan for addressing the problem." Sampson said another alternative would be to "put her on a very short leash.

"If she balks on any of the foregoing or otherwise does not perform in a measurable way … remove her," Sampson wrote of Gonzales' suggested plan. "AG then appoints new U.S. [attorney] from outside the office."

Will we be treated to the spectacle of Gonzales "clarifying" his clarification?

Meanwhile, the House is considering granting immunity to Monica Goodling, the Gonzales aide that took the Fifth in order to avoid testifying, as the Justice Department refuses to comply with a Congressional subpoena and a reinterview with Kyle Sampson now has the House Judiciary Committee interested in Mary Beth Buchanan, the U.S. attorney in Pittsburgh, who Sampson said was consulted about the firings.

Update: The Senate apparently is investigating Sen. Pete Domenici's role in the firings as well.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're trying to make mountains out of molehills.


4/17/2007 10:00 PM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

Remember, I think he should be fired for the totality of his career, not merely because of the prosecutor firings. I'm just amazed by his continued ability to say things that turn out to be untrue. He keeps getting chances, and he keeps flubbing them.

4/17/2007 10:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When someone's TRYING hard to stick the knife in you and make you into a liar, it's pretty hard to always say the exact right thing. In fact, no matter what you say, they'll spin it to claim you meant something else.

So, what has Gonzales said? He's said he didn't make the decisions as to who got put on the list and who was taken off and that he delegated that responsibility. So, now----anytime an e-mail proves he even DISCUSSED some of them with Sampson or others, you and other partisans claim he was lying. I don't think he's EVER said, however, that he NEVER had any conversations regarding these U.S. attorneys.

The Dems are getting rather silly on all this now. In their effort to "get Gonzales" out for other reasons, they are getting quite ridiculous with some of these charges.


4/18/2007 12:14 PM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

I agree that people should be given some slack. But Gonzales has now had three or four opportunities to get his story straight.

Honestly, how can "I did not make decisions about who should or should not be asked to resign" be unclear? And how can it be made even remotely compatible with having discussed, in detail, and developed, in detail, a plan to fire Carol Lam?

4/18/2007 12:55 PM  

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