At his Senate confirmation hearing on January 6, 2005, Alberto Gonzales concluded his statement with these words:

I look forward to answering your questions not just at this hearing, but if I am fortunate enough to be confirmed, in the months and years ahead as we work together in the noble and high calling of the pursuit of justice.

(Full statement here.) 

One may wonder how fortunate Mr. Gonzales now feels to have won confirmation as Attorney General of the United States.  But, two years later, one may safely bet that he would just as soon skip answering Senators’ questions about the ignoble and low firing of eight U.S. Attorneys.  Surely he’d rather go fishing than spend more than a week submitting to "mock testimony sessions".

Blawgletter respectfully suggests that Mr. Gonzales could make better use of his time by practicing to tell the truth.  It would take less than a day.  And Blawgletter will gladly contribute the preparation time for free.

Mr. Gonzales needs to say the following:

  1. I knew about White House wishes to replace U.S. Attorneys — at first, all of them — from the beginning.  I objected because I thought a wholesale change would hurt the Department of Justice too much.
  2. I knew no later than November 2006 that Karl Rove wanted to replace a U.S. Attorney in Arkansas with a specific person who had worked for him.
  3. I met for an hour on November 27, 2006, with my chief of staff Kyle Sampson, White House liaison Monica Goodling, and others to discuss a plan for firing specific U.S. Attorneys.  I knew the names of the firees.  I asked about the likely political fall-out.  My staff told me it wouldn’t arouse much attention, if any.  I asked whether the White House approved firing the eight individuals.  My staff told me that it did.  I asked whether we could justify the firings.  My staff assured me that we didn’t need to.  I didn’t know whether any of the U.S. Attorneys had performed well, poorly, or average; and I didn’t ask or care.
  4. I approved terminating the eight U.S. Attorneys, first, because the White House wanted me to and, second, because I thought the Department would not suffer unduly from their loss.
  5. I would not have thought to let any of the eight go if the White House hadn’t pushed me and my staff.
  6. Nobody evaluated the performance of the eight in any systematic way.
  7. Nobody considered the impact of firing the eight on existing investigations or prosecutions.
  8. I thought that the whole thing would blow over.  I still thought that when I wrote in USA Today that the firings amounted to an "overblown personnel matter."
  9. I didn’t anticipate that the U.S. Attorneys would defend themselves when one of my deputies testified that we fired them for "performance-related" reasons.
  10. I put the political wishes of the White House ahead of the good of my Department and the noble and high calling of the pursuit of justice.  I owe the American people, the Department of Justice, and the eight people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own a sincere apology.  I am sorry.

The testimony, Blawgletter concedes, will reveal Mr. Gonzales as a weak lawyer who has little or no ability to bring independent professional judgment to bear against White House wishes.  But we aim at the truth.  And only that, in all its ugliness, can save Fredo — or, at least, his self-respect — now.

Barry Barnett

Feedicon14x14 The truth?  You can subscribe to our feed free!