July 24th, 2007
11:31 AM ET
11 years ago

Senate panel asks Gonzales to clarify conflicts in testimony

Gonzales is testifying again over the firing of eight US attorneys.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Senate Judiciary Committee opened a hearing Tuesday into what it considers are conflicts in testimony from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales over the firings of at least eight U.S. attorneys last year and other issues.

"Evidence points to Karl Rove and the political operatives at the White House" being involved in a cover-up of the details, committee Chairman Pat Leahy, D-Vermont, said in his opening statement.

"The question is whether the Department of Justice is functioning - as it must - to protect the vital interests of the American people," Sen. Arlen Specter, the ranking Republican on the committee, told Gonzales in his opening statements.

The firings, allegedly for political reasons, have placed "a very heavy cloud" over the agency, Specter said.

Filed under: Alberto Gonzales
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. e.magee vancouver b.c.

    this will drag out until they are all out of office,after the next eltion.

    July 24, 2007 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  2. cliff jones, honolulu hi

    Concerning Gonzales, I think the words of Sen.Daniel Inoyue during the Nixon Watergate proceedings would fit nicely here; "what a liar"

    July 24, 2007 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. Frank Chicago IL

    What a waste of money. These people are appointed by the president and serve as long as he wants them too. No one seemed to care when BUBBA did the same thing. Get over it people your guy lost the election... move on.... Arlen Specter.... what a joke.

    July 24, 2007 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. Phil, Houston, Texas

    Many people when testifying simply tell the best story they think they can get away with, given the information already out or that they believe will probably come out. Of course, just because self-serving dishonesty is common doesn't mean we have to tolerate (or engage in) it.

    July 24, 2007 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  5. Will Houston, TX

    The whole problem is we as Americans just take all of BS from Washington and do absolutly nothing about it. If we lived in any other country in the world there is no way on earth we would stand for being treated as red headed step children as we do now. COME ON AMERICA, GROW SOME N&#S!!!!!!!!!

    July 24, 2007 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  6. Erica, Seattle, Washington

    This is a problem that questions the calibre of the United States government. Because the goverment must focus on mistakes such as these, they have less time to address problems like how Israel is the richest country to receive U.S.
    assistance ($77 per Israeli compared to $3 perperson in poor countries), which is most likely military assistance. It only takes 19 billion to END starvation and malnutrition worldwide [Borgen Project].

    July 24, 2007 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  7. Keith Tallahassee, FL

    Gonzalez is either the most incompetent AG, or the most corrupt AG, in the history of the nation. Which is it? Who cares! Certainly not Bush or the Republicans. Any honest congress would have forced this jerk out of office ages ago. They would have also impeached, and removed, this administration for the gross crimes it has commited. The Democrats, by not persuing impeachment, indicate their duplicity.

    July 24, 2007 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  8. Jeff, New Jersey

    Frank from Chicago wrote...
    "What a waste of money. These people are appointed by the president and serve as long as he wants them too. No one seemed to care when BUBBA did the same thing. Get over it people your guy lost the election… move on…. Arlen Specter…. what a joke."

    Posted By Frank Chicago IL : July 24, 2007 12:17 pm

    Well Frank, OUR guy didn't lose, OUR country lost when that imbecile got re-elected. Now, most of the idiots who voted for him want him impeached, you moron!

    July 24, 2007 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  9. Dari Carnes, Ijamsville, MD

    The CNN YouTube debate last night reflected BOTH the best and the worst of our current political process.

    The best portion of the debate was the ability for everyday Americans (although vetted & selected) to ask "hard" and heartfelt questions of the Democratic candidates and Anderson Cooper's ability to re-ask some of the candidates for a CLEAR answer to question. My only hope is that the questions chosen by CNN will be as incisive for the Republican debate in September and that the Republican candidates will be asked and re-asked, if necessary to answer the questions.

    The worst of the debates takes a few forms for me: The limited time responses (GREAT sound-bites but sorely lacking in substance) and the political commentaries and analysis which follow each debate.

    As someone who is disheartened over the current administration's seeming belief of being 'above the law', the loss of future generations of young Americans dying in a dishonestly started civil war, and the loss of America's position of leadership and respect in the world ( for maintaining Guantanamo Bay detainment camp which is a joint miliary prision and interrogation camp, for example), I do not think that I am alone in wanting and needing to witness REAL change in the way we DEFINE America both domestically and internationally.

    As Einstein stated, problems are never solved on the same level as they were created. So WHY, are the television networks’ political analysts dissecting and discussing the too often political, polished responses being presented as the REAL answers to last night’s REAL questions instead of using their expertise to critique many of the debaters for maintaining the status quo of “all talk, few answers” politics?

    Because politicians are known to be excellent public speakers, often ‘canned’ responses only add to the public’s inability to believe what the speaker is saying.

    This "same old, same old" approach to politics, regardless of the party elected, has created the feelings of cynicism, apathy and disenfranchisement witnessed by only 50% of Americans exercising their right to vote.

    July 24, 2007 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  10. Rob Wilson San Diego, Ca.

    Alberto Gonzales is a criminal and should be removed immediately as the Attorney General. Period, end of story.

    July 24, 2007 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  11. Mikey Boy Dayton OH

    The situation is sad, since it is resulting in the unacceptable operation of the Department of Justice

    July 24, 2007 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  12. Rick, Chicago Illinois

    Frank Chicago IL ... "What a waste of money. These people are appointed by the president and serve as long as he wants them too. No one seemed to care when BUBBA did the same thing. Get over it people your guy lost the election… move on…."

    You think "Bubba did the same thing?" because FOX News said so? So under Dubya the attorneys were unprecedentedly: 1) fired selectively; 2) in mid-term; 3) for “job performance” reasons (even though they had favorable job reviews); and 4) with the advantage that Bush could appoint new attorneys without Senate confirmation?

    WRONG! Nice try with the "Billy did it TOO" argument though!

    We should just "get over it"?

    Yeah ... just get over the unprecedented selective dismissals for “performance related” reasons after favorable job reviews; Gonzales caught lying; Dubya asking for oath-less and transcript-less testimony behind closed doors; Dubya using executive privilege to protect White House aids and DOJ officials from having to testify; others promising to plead the 5th and then abruptly resigning; trying to hide e-mails about government business by using unofficial e-mail accounts; conveniently misplacing e-mails on the correct accounts; Goodling admitting she broke civil service laws by inappropriately taking political considerations into account; Sampson saying Gonzales testimony was “innacurate”; Goodling saying Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty’s testimony was "not fully candid"; and Gonzales selectively fuzzy recollection during his own testimony.

    Just "get over" the REAL reason the attorneys were let go – politics. I'm sure you can imagine the HUGE blow it strikes to the public’s faith in the impartiality of the justice system in America when people start thinking maybe our legal system is operated via partisan rather than legal motives .. but hey .. we'll just "get over it".

    After all, it's only the county’s faith in their own legal system (supposedly the most fair and just in the world) that is being destroyed by those who run it!

    I'd just like to say that I too am from Chicago, and the vast majority of us DON'T feel that this is a "waste of money" like Frank does. And speaking of "losing elections" ...It's because of sneaky stuff like this that you guys got fleeced on Nov 7th.

    Thanks for posting and thus giving me the opportunity to correct you.

    July 24, 2007 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  13. Dennis

    Attorney General Gonzales stated today that he did not pressure John Ashcroft when he visited him in Intensive Care for approval of the Surveillance program.

    I have to ask this question.

    If someone was trying to assess the competence of a person who is at the time in an Intensive Care unit, shouldn’t that be done without discussing highly classified and sensitive information?

    According to James Comey, Alberto Gonzales and Andrew Card actually brought up the subject of a highly classified NSA Surveillance program in an Intensive Care unit of a hospital instead of a SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility).

    Most people who work for the NSA and/or who hold an TS/SCI (Top Secret/ Sensitive Compartmented Information) would never bring up such a sensitive program outside of a SCIF let alone in an Intensive Care unit.

    If you asked a hundred people with the above clearance what they thought of someone who bring up the subject of an NSA Surveillance program under the circumstances described above I would bet the sentiment among those would be unanimous.

    That sentiment would be that the person who did that had demonstrated ‘grossly defective judgment’ in doing so.

    That seems to be all the qualifications required to be appointed to the position of ‘Attorney General’ in this Administration.

    July 24, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  14. xing tasha

    This country reminds me of China. I think this adminstration is a big joke.

    July 24, 2007 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  15. Jeff, Columbia, South Carolina

    King George, Darth Cheney, and Fredo have stripped us of our personal liberties, loosened every restraint placed on the Executive Branch by the Founding Fathers . . . and Al Qaida could still attack us successfully tomorrow. IMPEACH THE WHOLE CREW NOW!!!!

    July 24, 2007 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  16. MCD, San Francisco

    I just watched the part where Spector was questioning Gonzo. Our AG came across as a complete idiot... he knows he is lieing & obstructing... the congress knows... he knows they know... and yet he just doesn't give a hoot!

    He has no loyalty to the Constitution nor the American People. His only duty is to bush.

    July 24, 2007 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  17. Jack Jett

    There has been a rumor floating around that AlbertO Gonzales has a father that is an illegal immigrant.

    Jack Jett

    July 24, 2007 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  18. John from America

    fredo is a pathetic liar and that's who is in charge of our justice system – what a crook. Impeach them NOW!

    July 24, 2007 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  19. bprosserme

    This Democratic Congress owe Alberto Gonzales and the American peope a very public apology.

    This Democratic Congress has behaved soooooo unprofessionally, I am ashamed that other countries have had to listen to the shrill, vile accusations against a fellow public servant.

    This Democratic Congress should be required to read the U.S. Government's Policy and Procedures Manual until they get it right.

    July 24, 2007 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  20. John, Dayton, OH

    What a waste of money. These people are appointed by the president and serve as long as he wants them too. No one seemed to care when BUBBA did the same thing. Get over it people your guy lost the election… move on…. Arlen Specter…. what a joke.

    Posted By Frank Chicago IL : July 24, 2007 12:17 pm

    Frank, So sorry about your lobotomy. Do you know anything about what's going on with this administration? They are using the justice department to break laws and flaunt/manipulate the constitution. These Senate hearings aren't even scratching the surface. From Bush's questionable/illegal signing statements to Bush/Cheney/Rove manipulating intelligence to justify the invadion of Iraq, these guys are as close to organized crime as anything we have ever had in the history of this country. Their cartel consists of numerous defense contractors, oil companies and other corporate leaches that are sucking our tax dollars into a black hole. When these criminals leave office or are impeached, we will still be saddled with the enormous debt they have left us with. Make no mistake, The Bush cartell is a bigger threat than Al Qaeda will ever be.
    We would be lucky to have "BUBBA" still running the country. The waste of money you speak of is this war and not these hearings. This fascist regime conned the American people into supporting a war that has only made the terrorist threat worse, all at an enormous cost, both monitarily, and in lives.

    July 24, 2007 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  21. bprosserme

    Politics? Those attorneys can be let go for political reasons, of course they can. If Bush doesn't want them there, they go. It's really very simple. I am continually amazed that the Dems can continue with this obvious stupidity.

    If the Democrats told you the earth was square, would you believe it? I think you would. LOL

    July 25, 2007 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  22. Rick, Chicago Illinois

    bprosserme ... "Those attorneys can be let go for political reasons, of course they can."

    If it was POLITICS and that's fine, than why aren't they just saying so?

    Why are they getting caught lying, contradicting each other's testimony, and all the other things I mentioned in my first post to "get over it" Frank?

    If they have nothing to hide, why is everybody hiding?

    Why? Because they KNOW they did something wrong and the Bush washing machine is on spin cycle ... AGAIN!

    You wouldn't be a partisan Republican would you? Because "obvious stupidity" would be something like putting your party above your country.

    July 25, 2007 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  23. bprosserme

    BEACUSE – The President can fire these yokles anytime he wants to. For pocitical reasons too. It's you who does not get it my friend. Congress does not need to be informed why the President fires attorneys. Read that over several times until you know it by heart.

    July 25, 2007 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  24. Rick, Chicago Illinois

    bprosserme .. he doesn't have to just say it was for political reasons THEN and simply TELL THE TRUTH?

    He'd rather have people get caught blatantly lying and spinning rather than just be honest?

    LOL! And you wonder why you guys lost control of Congress and will probably lose control of the White House in '08 if things like this continue?

    Keep it up Mr. President!

    Dubya and his minions are the gift that keeps on giving. They've already: screwed up a war of choice based on lies; admitted failure in the response to Katrina; fought investigations the people wanted (911, Katrina, etc); violated Geneva conventions; trampled the constitution with illegal programs and the suspension of habeas corpus; refused to prosecute illegal aliens and repeatedly pushed for an amnesty bill that he knew the people were against; and now he continues to undermine the country's faith in its judicial system while he tries to hide behind executive privilege, redacted documents, lost emails, and DOJ officials who are spinning like whirling dervishes ...

    and the list keeps growing.

    Nope. Nothing to see here folks. Move along!

    Hillary or Obama in the White House.

    Read THAT over several times until you know it by heart. You 28-percenters might as well start preparing in advance!

    July 26, 2007 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |