Senate Democrats

Americans Have Lost Confidence in the Attorney General

Today, every Senator will have the opportunity to go on record and either approve or disapprove of the performance of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.  Gonzales has repeatedly shown that he lacks the leadership necessary to run the Justice Department.  Republicans have joined Democrats in speaking out in protest of Gonzales’ poor management and questionable judgment.  When the time comes to vote, will they stand by their earlier statements, or will they provide cover to a President unwilling to demand accountability from the Attorney General? 

Senate Republicans have expressed a lack of confidence in the Attorney General.  Will they back up their statements with a vote today?

  •  Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), Ranking Republican on Senate Judiciary Committee: “I have a sense that when we finish our investigation, we may have the conclusion of the tenure of the attorney general…I think when our investigation is concluded, it’ll be clear even to the attorney general and the president that we’re looking at a dysfunctional department which is vital to the national welfare.’” (Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, 5/17/07)  
  • Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS): “When you have to spend more time up here on Capitol Hill instead of running the Justice Department, maybe you ought to think about [stepping down]” (AP, 5/16/07)  
  • Senator John McCain (R-AZ):  “I am very disappointed in [Alberto Gonzales’] performance . . . I think loyalty to the president should enter into his calculations. . . .  I think that out of loyalty to the president that [resigning] would probably be the best thing that he could do.”  (Washington Post, 4/25/07)  
  • Senator John Sununu (R-NH):  “The president should fire the attorney general and replace him as soon as possible with someone who can provide strong, aggressive leadership.” (Reuters, 3/15/07)
  • Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR): “‘For the Justice Department to be effective before the U.S. Senate, it would be helpful’ if Gonzales resigned, Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., told USA TODAY this afternoon.” (USA Today, 3/15/07)  
  • 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)
  • Sen.Norm Coleman (R-MN):  “Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., said Thursday that he would like to see Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resign, calling into question Gonzales’ credibility and his ability to focus on his job. ‘I don’t believe that Gonzales has the type of leadership that the department needs,’ he said.” (Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 5/17/07)  
  • Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL):  “There are some problems that he just hasn’t handled well, and it might just be best if he came to a conclusion that the department is better served if he’s not there.” (AP, 4/20/07)  
  • Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE):  “The American people deserve an attorney general, the chief law enforcement officer of our country, whose honesty and capability are beyond question . . .Attorney General Gonzales can no longer meet this standard. He has failed this country. He has lost the moral authority to lead.” (Washington Post, 5/16/07)
  • Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC):  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)