Friday, May 25, 2007
Senators Charles Schumer and Diane Feinstein introduced a resolution expressing a lack of confidence in Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. The text reads: "It is the sense of the Senate that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales no longer holds the confidence of the Senate and of the American people." That's concise, to say the least, allowing those who have expressed different reasons for having a negative view of the Attorney General to support it.
In a press conference, President Bush reiterated his support for Gonzales (here):
Q Good morning, Mr. President. I'd like to ask you about the Justice Department. In the last couple months, we have heard disturbing evidence about senior officials of the Justice Department misleading Congress. We heard disturbing evidence yesterday that a senior official at the Justice Department improperly took, by her own admission, political considerations into effect in evaluating career employees of the Justice Department.
We've also had evidence from the former Deputy Attorney General of the White House strong-arming a sick man into trying to approve an illegal spying program. I'm curious, Mr. President, if you are concerned about the cumulative picture that's being drawn about your Justice Department? And what assurances can you give the American people that the department is delivering impartial justice to the American people?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, thank you, Michael. There is a -- an internal investigation taking place at the Justice Department. And this will be an exhaustive investigation. And if there's wrongdoing, it will be taken care of. I thought it was interesting how you started your question, "over the months," I think you said, "over the last months." This investigation is taking a long time, kind of being drug out, I suspect for political question -- for political reasons. In other words, as I mentioned the other day, it's just grand political theater. Attorney General Gonzales has testified, he's produced documents. And I would hope the Senate and the Congress would move expeditiously to finish their hearings and get on to the business of passing legislation that is meaningful for the country. But if there had been wrongdoing, that will be addressed, the way we'd hope it would be.
Q (Inaudible) -- confidence. Are you --
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I've got confidence in Al Gonzales doing the job.
In a press briefing on May 22, White House spokesman Tony Snow discussed wheterh Gonzales is a distraction for the White House (here):
Q Let me just follow that. If you widen out -- however, it becomes very clear that the Attorney General has become a distraction. And so that, again, it is incumbent upon him to say, Mr. President, I don't want to be a distraction to you anymore.
MR. SNOW: I don't think he's a distraction. The President is perfectly loyal. I think it may be a distraction -- again, a lot of people have been trying very hard to turn this into a big story, to no avail. So the distraction I think is more on Capitol Hill and some who have to report the story, than it is with the President, who is confident in Alberto Gonzales and is concentrating on the other business at hand. (Italics added)
It's an interesting view that the Congressional investigation of the U.S. Attorney firings and other actions by Gonzales is not in fact a "big story." Regardless of how big (or small) the story is, even if the "no confidence" resolution scheduled to be voted in mid-June passes, that does not mean the end of Gonzales' service as the Attorney General, because only one person has a vote on his tenure that counts. (ph)