Senate Democrats

President Bush Is Alone in Supporting the Attorney General

President Bush continues to support his Attorney General: “President Bush was pleased with the Attorney General’s testimony today. After hours of testimony in which he answered all of the Senators’ questions and provided thousands of pages of documents, he again showed that nothing improper occurred. He admitted the matter could have been handled much better, and he apologized for the disruption to the lives of the U.S. Attorneys involved, as well as for the lack of clarity in his initial responses.” (Press Release, 4/19/07)

While Republican Senators and conservatives abandon the Attorney General in droves…

  • Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK): “But to me, there has to be consequences to accepting responsibility. And I would just say, Mr. Attorney General, it’s my considered opinion that the exact same standards should be applied to you in how this was handled. And it was handled incompetently. The communication was atrocious. It was inconsistent. It’s generous to say that there were misstatements. That’s a generous statement. And I believe you ought to suffer the consequences that these others have suffered. And I believe that the best way to put this behind us is your resignation.” (Judiciary Committee Hearing¸ 4/19/07)
  • Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA):

    • “We have to evaluate whether you are really being forthright in saying that you, quote, ‘should have been more precise,’ close quote, when the reality is that your characterization of your participation is just significantly, if not totally, at variance with the facts.” (Judiciary Committee Hearing¸ 4/19/07)
  • “I believe, as I have said before, that his ability to manage the department has been severely undercut by the way he has handled these resignations and by the way he has handled his news conferences, his press statements and his testimony before the committee.” (News Conference, 4/19/07)
  • “I think there’s little doubt that the sequence of events has had an adverse impact on the Department of Justice.” (News Conference, 4/19/07)
  • Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL): “Well, I guess I’m concerned about your recollection, really, because it’s not that long ago. It was an important issue. And that’s troubling to me, I’ve got to tell you.” (Judiciary Committee Hearing¸ 4/19/07)
  • Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC):
  • “Mr. Attorney General, most of this is a stretch. I think it’s clear to me that some of these people just had personality conflicts with people in your office or at the White House and, you know, we made up reasons to fire them. Some of it sounds good. Some of it doesn’t. And that’s the lesson to be learned here.” (Judiciary Committee Hearing¸ 4/19/07)
  • But at the end of the day, you said something that struck me, ‘That sometimes it just came down to these were not the right people at the right time.’ If I applied that standard to you, what would you say? (Judiciary Committee Hearing¸ 4/19/07)
  • Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX): “General Gonzales, you and I have known each other a long time, and I believe that you are a good and decent man. But I have to tell you that the way that this investigation has been handled is just been — been really deplorable.” (Judiciary Committee Hearing¸ 4/19/07)
  • Anonymous White House staffers describing Attorney General Gonzales’s testimony:
    • “Going down in flames.”
    • “Not doing himself any favors.”
    • “Like watching clubbing a baby seal.”
    • “Very troubling.”
    • “It simply seemed as if he was saying, ‘I know what I did, but I don’t have any other information besides that.'”
    • “He did not win over any Democrats, perhaps lost a few Republicans as well.”

(CNN’s The Situation Room, 4/19/07)

  • Byron York, conservative columnist: “It has been a disastrous morning for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. The major problem with his testimony is that Gonzales maintains, in essence, that he doesn’t know why he fired at least some of the eight dismissed U.S. attorneys. When, under questioning by Republican Sen. Sam Brownback, Gonzales listed the reasons for each firing, it was clear that in a number of cases, he had reconstructed the reason for the dismissal after the fact. He didn’t know why he fired them at the time, other than the action was recommended by senior Justice Department staff.” (National Review Online, 4/19/07)
  • Eric Erickson, CEO of Redstate.com: “Watching this C-SPAN hearing, can we get some recommendations for a new AG? [Attorney General Alberto Gonzales] just might not make it past the *Republicans* today. Good grief.” (Redstate.com, 4/19/07)
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