Monday, April 16, 2007

Nothing to Hide

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has "nothing to hide" with regard to the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys, because "nothing improper occurred" and he knows that he "did not -- and would not -- ask for the resignation of any U.S. attorney for an improper reason. "

I am certainly looking forward to hearing the Attorney General substantiate these statements when he testifies before Congress tomorrow. I like to start with the assumption that, although people often have policy goals I would disagree with, everyone is doing their job in good faith, as best they can, as they see it, until the contrary is proven. So I'll give the Attorney General the benefit of the doubt. But I will need to hear answers to the following questions:

If this whole thing is just an "overblown personnel matter," as the Attorney General wrote in USA Today, then why can't we get a definitive statement of his role in it? On March 13 he said "I was not involved in seeing any memos, was not involved in any discussions about what was going on." Now he acknowledges that his chief of staff Kyle Sampson "periodically updated" him on the process, Sampson says he had at least five discussions with Gonzales about it, and Michael Battle (former director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys) says that a memo on the firings was distributed at a meeting that Gonzales attended.

Also, if there are proper reasons why these U.S. Attorneys were fired, why can't we get a clear statement of those reasons? Why does the reason keep changing? The whole scandal stems from the initial insistence that the firings were for "performance-related" reasons and that the White House was not involved. But later it turned out that the White House did approve the firings.

I await the Attorney General's explanations with interest.

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