CODE PINKImpeach Gonzales: Restore AccountabilitySat Aug 18, 2007 12:14
Impeach Gonzales: Restore Accountability
We believe Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should be the next to go. CODEPINK has been a regular presence at every Gonzales hearing, demanding accountability and ethical leadership, and each Monday and Friday, we stand outside the US Department of Justice calling for his resignation (you can see a YouTube video of one of our protests here).
Now, Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash) has introduced a resolution calling for an impeachment inquiry of Gonzales and we urge you to support this effort.
Please sign our petition to impeach Gonzales below:
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has brought shame to his office by committing High Crimes and Misdemeanors, including the abuse of power and violation of the public trust, both impeachable offenses. How can he continue to serve if he has eroded the credibility and ethical leadership of the Justice Department?
We, the undersigned, demand Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's impeachment and urge you to co-sponsor Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash) resolution calling for an impeachment inquiry of Gonzales.
Impeach Gonzales: Restore Accountability
Doug Mills/ The New York Times
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales testifying today to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
I am here today to do my part to ensure that all facts about this matter are brought to light,‚€Ě he told the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning, noting that the panels inquiry into the dismissals had already yielded thousands of pages of internal departmental communications and hours of interviews with department officials.
These are not the actions of someone with something to hide, Mr. Gonzales said in his opening remarks.
His reception from Democrats and Republicans alike, at a hearing that was widely seen as a make-or-break event, did not seem to augur well for Mr. Gonzales. But at the end of the day, the White House issued a statement that President Bush thought Mr. Gonzales‚€™s testimony had gone well, and that he had ‚€œfull confidence in the attorney general.
It was no surprise that Democrats were generally critical of him, but so were several Republicans. Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania questioned Mr. Gonzales‚€™s honesty as well as his competence, while Senator John Cornyn of Texas said the handling of the dismissals had been ‚€œdeplorable.‚€Ě And Senator Tom Coburn, a conservative Republican from Oklahoma, said Mr. Gonzales should suffer the consequences of the bungled dismissals and resign.
Mr. Gonzales has been battling amid accusations that he has been less than forthcoming, at best, about his role in the firing of the federal prosecutors. Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said the attorney general had a ‚€œtremendous credibility problem.
Senator Patrick J. Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who heads the Judiciary Committee, said the Justice Department ‚€œis experiencing a crisis of leadership perhaps unrivaled during its 137-year history.
The Department of Justice should never be reduced to another political arm of the White House ‚€” this White House or any White House, Mr. Leahy said. ‚€œThe Department of Justice must be worthy of its name.
Mr. Leahy made it clear that he was not persuaded by the repeated assertions from President Bush and his allies that the dismissals of the United States attorneys, who are political appointees and serve at the pleasure of the president, were above board.
Indeed,‚€Ě Mr. Leahy said, ‚€œthe apparent reason for these terminations had a lot more to do with politics than performance.
Democrats have questioned whether at least some of the eight prosecutors were fired because they were being too aggressive in investigating possible crimes linked to Republicans, or not aggressive enough in going after Democrats, or both.
‚€œI did not do that,‚€Ě the grim-faced attorney general told the senators. I would never do that, nor do I believe that anyone else in the department advocated the removal of a U.S. attorney for such a purpose.
But Mr. Leahy pressed Mr. Gonzales on conversations he had with Karl Rove, President Bush‚€™s chief political adviser, about removing David C. Iglesias, the United States attorney in New Mexico. So, when was David Iglesias added to the list of U.S. attorneys to be replaced? Mr. Leahy asked.
When Mr. Gonzales said he did not remember, although he thought Mr. Iglesias was slated for removal between Oct. 17 and Dec. 15, Mr. Leahy responded: ‚€œHe was added either before or after the elections, but you don‚€™t know when. Is that what you‚€™re saying?
Mr. Gonzales insisted that he did not recall the timing. So Mr. Leahy asked why Mr. Iglesias was let go, since Mr. Gonzales himself had earlier expressed confidence in him: When and why did he lose your confidence?
Mr. Gonzales said in reply that Senator Pete V. Domenici, Republican of New Mexico, had expressed concerns about Mr. Iglesias. He called me and said something to the effect that Mr. Iglesias was in over his head,‚€Ě Mr. Gonzales said, adding that the senator was concerned that Mr. Iglesias was not focusing enough on public corruption cases.
The circumstances surrounding Mr. Iglesias‚€™s firing have aroused particular interest, since Mr. Domenici is known to have queried Mr. Iglesias about the prosecutor‚€™s refusal to pursue a possible voter-fraud case.
In insisting that politics has played no part in the departments decisions about whom to prosecute and when, Mr. Gonzales noted that Representative Bob Ney, an Ohio Republican linked to a lobbying scandal, pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges six weeks before last Novembers elections.
We could have taken the plea after the election, and I‚€™m sure when we took that plea, there were some Republicans around the country probably scratching their head, wondering, ‚€˜what in the world are they doing? Mr. Gonzales said. Well, what we‚€™re doing is doing what‚€™s best for the case. That‚€™s what we do. We don‚€™t let politics play a role partisan politics play a role in the decisions we make in cases.
Another dismissal in the spotlight is that of Carol C. Lam, who was the United States attorney in San Diego and who successfully prosecuted former Representative Randy Cunningham, a Republican, on corruption charges. Still another high-profile dismissal was that of H.E. Cummins III in Arkansas, removed to make way for J. Timothy Griffin, a prot√©g√© of Mr. Rove.
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