Beleagured Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testified that he 1) didn't "recall" why two of the U.S. Attorneys (Daniel Bogden and Margaret Chiara) were fired, 2) never looked at the eight U.S. Attorneys' performance reviews, 3) couldn't remember his October 11 conversation with Bush, who publicly confirmed it, 4) couldn't remember a final high-level November 27 meeting in his office suite to finalize the firings, and 5) couldn't remember when he decided to carry out the firings . . . but still maintains that it was the "right decision." After having three weeks to practice not lying, one would think he would have done a better job "recalling" and "remembering" (he said he could not 71 times) key details of his involvement in the massacre. Gonzales' selective amnesia ticked off even the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, prompting the most conservative one to call for his resignation (as have 6 other Republicans). BFF Bush, however, was "pleased" with the performance and Gonzo has his "full support," which in Bush-speak is better than doing "a helluva job" (code for FUBAR).
In a demonstration of the stubborn arrogance and denial that have characterized this Administration, embattled Attorney General Gonzales said he 1) didn't know why two of the U.S. Attorneys (Daniel Bogden and Margaret Chiara) were purged, 2) never looked at the eight U.S. Attorneys' performance reviews, 3) couldn't remenber his Oct. 11 meeting with Bush, who has publicly confirmed the meeting, 4) couldn't remember the high-level November 27 meeting in his office suite to finalize the firings, and 5) couldn't remember when de decided to execute the firings ("I recall making the decision. I don't recall when the decision was made") . . . but maintains that it was the "right decision."
He said with a straight but strained face, "While the process that led to the resignations was flawed, I firmly believe that nothing improper occurred." Then, in the carefully-crafted denial he had memorized, he said, "It would be improper to remove a U.S. Attorney to interere with or influence a particular prosecution for partisan political gain." Here, he used the crucial words he needed to utter to keep his ass out of jail: improper, interfere, influence, partisan, political -- hitting all the elements in one sentence.
After having three weeks to practice not lying, one would think he would have done a better job "recalling" and "remembering" key details of his involvement in the massacre, which he said he could not recollect 71 times, including a crucial conversation with his buddy and co-conspirator, Bush, who "was pleased with the Attorney General's testimony" yesterday.
But the Republicans said it best. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) asked, "Is this really performance-based, or did these people just run afoul of personality conflicts in the office and we were trying to make up reasons to fire them because we wanted to get rid of them?" Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said, "I'm really concerned about your recollection, really, because it's not that long ago. It was an important issue." John Conryn (R-Tex) said, "I have to tell you that the way that this investigation has been handled has just been -- been really deplorable."
The most conservative committee member, Republican Tom Coburn (R-Okla) told Gonzo, "I believe there's [sic] consequences for mistakes . . . And I believe the best way to put this behind is your resignation." But Arlen Specter (R-PA), the ranking Republican on the Committee and the main one whose words really matter, said "The reality is that your characterization of your participation is just significantly, if not toally, at variance with the facts," but stopped short of publicly calling for Gonzales' resignation.
The Justice Department viewed Specter's restraint as a "positive barometer" (their words), which sets the bar so low that it's under two inches of dirt.
I suggest that we now apply to Gonzales his own criteria for removal of the ousted U.S. Attorneys: "These were not the right people at the right time."