Gonzalez may have lied to Congress; Dem calls for special prosecutor

Today’s WaPo reports AG Gonzalez was briefed on incidents where the FBI had used its expanded powers to acquire information it was not entitled to have. Six days later, on April 27, 2005, he testified to Congress that "“There has not been one verified case of civil liberties abuse.”

In response, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) is demanding the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate.

Issues for debate:

  1. Was Gonzalez’ statement perjury or not? (He is very good at weaselwording – witness this exchange between Gonzalez and Nadler in a hearing in April 2006.)

  2. Is appointment of a special prosecutor appropriate?

(The Independent Counsel statute expired in 1999. Patrick Fitzgerald investigated the Plame affair as a “special counsel” under a DoJ regulation – see here.)

My guess is that the issue will revolve around the word “verified.”

So we can suffer another multiyear investigation? Far better to just cut Gonzales’ salary from the Justice department budget. Let the RNC pay for him, if they want to keep him on.

I can’t imagine a situation where a special prosecutor would be more essential. Pelosi and Reid shouldn’t wait around as the Bushies drag their feet; they should draft legislation requiring the appointment of a special prosecutor, preferably with some group of high-level career Justice lawyers selecting the prosecutor, and rush it to a vote. If the GOP wants to filibuster it, make 'em filibuster the old-fashioned way.

I hardly think its a good idea to have salaries of public servants paid for by one or another political parties. If they want him out they should remove him.
Not taking a position on whether or not they should do this, but out of curiosity, assuming they had enough votes to prevent a filibuster, Congress could remove the AG by a simple vote, right? Since its a position created by statute, they wouldn’t need to mess around with impeachment, correct?

They could abolish the office, but the DoJ needs somebody at its head. Otherwise, short of impeachment, they can’t remove him.

Couldn’t they simply rename the office “Executive Attorney General” and declare the office of Attorney General no longer exists? Then the President would have to nominate someone to fill this new office that does exactly the same thing as the Attorney General once did…

Sigh. From Salon:

Of course. :rolleyes:

The Attorney General is not a fact-checker.

Screw saying it doesn’t exist. They should just reduce its duties to “clean the Capitol Hill bathrooms every weekday” and “wear this ridiculous looking hat”, until he resigns.

Of course Congress could abolish the office of Attorney-General (which predates the DoJ by over 80 years and has existed since the Washington administration), but doing so would take an act of Congress which Bush could of course veto. Now if there were enough votes in Congress to overide a veto there’d be more than enough votes to impeach and remove Gonzales. No cabinet secretary has been impeached since the Reconstruction era, but it is possible.

Documents contradict Gonzales’ testimony

Gonzalez may have lied to Congress. The Iraq war may not have been about freeing the oppressed Iraqis. The news media may be a propaganda service for those in power. Movie at 11.

This is actually an illuminating case of why it’s insane to expect Bush to be impeached, have any of his staff held in contempt as they defy subpoenas, have serious investigations into matters which may upset the applecart, etc.: this guy is still AG. That says it all, really.

Gonzo’s staff and former staff have shown up for their hearings. It’s the president’s staff, Bolten and Meiers who got contempt citations for blowing off subpoenas.

The “his” was referring to Bush (see earlier item). Sorry for any confusion.

Now Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy is talking about a perjury investigation of Gonzalez.

Documents just obtained by the AP contradict Gonzalez’ testimony.

I saw portions of his testimony, and the guy is either hopelessly inept (how long as he been aware that he’s going to be called again to testify? and then to get up there and answer “I don’t know,” or “I don’t recall” to questions he knew were coming (Leahy sent his questions in advance, IIRC) or an outright liar. Why the President keeps him on is beyond me, except for Bush’s huge ability to deny what’s right in front of his face in the name of loyalty.

Another reason is that the Senate would have to confirm his replacement.

Imagine the things that would come up in the confirmation hearings.

Replacing Gonzalez would present Bush with an unpleasant Hobson’s Choice (as if there’s any other kind). He’d have to to find a candidate who could a) get confirmed, and b) be counted on to keep the lid on the current crop of White House Horrors.