Tag: Alberto Gonzales (page 2)

Summing Up Alberto Gonzales' Official Misconduct

In its Tuesday editorial, the New York Times does a good job of summing up in two paragraphs what Alberto Gonzales did wrong as Attorney General:

[H]e did not stand up for the Constitution and the rule of law, as an attorney general must. This administration has illegally spied on Americans, detained suspects indefinitely as “enemy combatants,” run roughshod over the Geneva Conventions, violated the Hatch Act prohibitions on injecting politics into government and defied Congressional subpoenas. In each case, Mr. Gonzales gave every indication of being on the side of the lawbreakers, not the law.

Mr. Gonzales signed off on the administration’s repugnant, and disastrous, torture policy when he was the White House counsel. He later helped stampede Congress into passing the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which endorsed illegal C.I.A. prisons where detainees may be tortured and established kangaroo courts in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to keep detained foreigners in custody essentially for life. He helped cover up and perpetuate Mr. Bush’s illegal wiretapping programs, both in the counsel’s job and as attorney general. The F.B.I. under his stewardship abused powers it was given after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the name of enhanced national security.

In other words, Goodbye and good riddance.

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A Recess Appointment to Replace Gonzales?

Bush wouldn't dare, right? Josh Marshall says don't be surprised if Bush uses a recess appointment to name the next Attorney General, bypassing the need for Senate confirmation.

My take: Of course he would. What's he got to lose? He's already a lame duck. The Republicans didn't stand up for Gonzales, why should Bush care whether they catch flak over a recess appointment when 2008 comes around?

All this talk by Schumer and others about appointing a non-political Attorney General who will uphold the rule of law, as I said earlier, is just more verbiage. It sounds good but it will never happen so long as Bush is in office.

One of the perks of being President is getting to name your cabinet members. Bush isn't going to let anyone stand in his way. He might sound the Dems out on his replacement pick, but if they say no, I think he'll just go ahead by way of recess appointment. He hasn't cared what the Dems think about anything else, why would he start now?

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Keeping Some Perspective on Gonzales' Resignation

As I head off to the jail to see two federal clients in pre-trial detention whose cases won't be affected one whit by Gonzales' resignation, I thought I'd reprint what I wrote in April:

What will change with Gonzales gone? Bush will appoint another one of his loyal faves to replace him. The war on drugs, war on civil liberties and trend towards draconian sentences will continue. Say what you want about Gonzales, he's nowhere near the threat to constitutional rights that John Ashcroft was. He's continued Ashcroft's policies, but he seems to be more of a follower than a take-charge innovator of new ways to deprive people of their freedom.

As for the fired U.S. Attorneys, they all got the job in the first place because they had connections ... either to their state's Senators or to someone in the Bush Administration. None of them got the job because they were the most skilled litigators in their respective jurisdictions. Once installed in the top position, they all put people in jail, including non-violent drug offenders. They're prosecutors, that's what they do.


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Early take on potential Attorney General Nominees

These are three names being floated as potential nominees to be Attorney General, in alphabetical order:

Michael Chertoff, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security

Robert S. Meuller III, Director, FBI

Frances Fragos Townsend, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism

Readers can see their bios at the above links.

My take:

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Bush and Alberto Gonzales: Live Resignation Statements

Update: Bush Live Statement: (Not a transcript, just live-blogging.)

Al Gonzales is a man of integrity, decency and principle. I have reluctantly accepted his resignation with appreciation for his service. He has played a critical role in the war on terror, in developing the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act. He made enforcement of civil rights laws a top priority. He did great on child sex crimes and in fighting corruption. He played a leading role in selecting Justices Alito and Roberts.

He has become a close friend. He and his family have sacrificed.

After months of unfair treatment, he has decided to resign. It's sad when someone like Gonzales is prevented from doing good work because his good name has been dragged through the mud for political purposes.

Solicitor General Paul Clement will serve as acting AG until a replacement is named and confirmed.

No questions taken. More...

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Reactions to Gonzales' Resignation

We'll be updating reactions to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' resignation as the day goes on. Gonzales' last day will be September 15.

Update: Democratic candidates weigh in.

Update: Charles Schumer's live statement: Touts himself three times for first calling for Gonzales' resignation. Who cares? Says the Justice Department has been in complete disarray. As I've said many times, that's just not the case. Life has gone on as usual in courtrooms all across America. Insists on a replacement that "will uphold the rule of law." A platitude. Says Dems will work with the White House on a replacement, urges them to seek out Dems' advice.

John Edwards: (live interview on CNN)Doesnt' think Chertoff should be the replacement. "We shouldn't replace the person responsible for Guantanamo with the person responsible for the aftermath of Katrina."

Harry Reid: Was never the right man for the job.... He lacked the spine to say no to Karl Rove.


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Gonzales Resigns

Update (TL): Gonzales will make a statement at 10:30 am ET, I'll live blog it in a new thread. Bush is also expected to make a statement, and CNN says he will not be naming a replacement today. CNN says Chertoff is the favorite for ultimate replacement, also naming Paul Clement.


He finally did something right:

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, whose tenure has been marred by controversy and accusations of perjury before Congress, has resigned. A senior administration official said he would announce the decision later this morning in Washington.

I'm sure J. and TChris will have thoughts later.

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FBI Director's Notes Contradict Gonzales

Alberto Gonzales, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month about his visit to John Ashcroft's hospital bed:

"We would not have sought, nor did we intend to get any approval from General Ashcroft if, in fact, he wasn't fully competent to make that decision."
Does this sound like the description of a man who is competent to decide pressing and complex questions of law and policy?
"Saw AG," [FBI Director] Mueller wrote in his timed log of the events on the evening of March 10, 2004. "Janet Ashcroft in the room. AG is feeble, barely articulate, clearly stressed."

Gonzales groupies will parse the Attorney General's language to argue that a feeble, stressed, and inarticulate hospital patient might still be competent, but the question is not whether Gonzales committed perjury. The question is whether the Senate will continue to tolerate Gonzales' practice of providing misleading testimony. Wouldn't we experience consequences if any of us were to respond so dishonestly to congressional inquiries? Does the AG deserve a continuing pass simply because he's the AG?

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Tracking Alberto Gonzales

Alberto Gonzales, fresh from his trip to Iraq, is headed to....Harbor Springs, MI.

He'll be conducting a press conference and meeting there with "Michigan's Twelve Sovereign Indian Nations Leaders to discuss efforts to combat violent crime in Indian Country."

A skeptic might say they don't want Gonzales in Washington or anywhere near the Justice Department.

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Gonzales Goes to Baghdad

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is in Baghdad.

The Justice Department said that Gonzales arrived in Baghdad on Saturday for his third trip to Iraq to meet with department officials who have been there to help fashion the country's legal system.

Just what does the Department of Justice do in Baghdad? Here's the DOJ's 2006 press release outlining its role:


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Gonzales Impeachment Inquiry Resolution to Be Introduced

Via Oreo at Daily Kos, Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) will introduce a resolution before the House Judiciary Committee tomorrow asking that an inquiry be initiated to determine whether there are grounds to impeach Alberto Gonzales.


Directing the Committee on the Judiciary to investigate whether Alberto R. Gonzales, Attorney General of the United States, should be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors.

Resolved, That the Committee on the Judiciary shall investigate fully whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to impeach Alberto R. Gonzales, Attorney General of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors.

Contrary to Big Tent Democrat who favors Gonzales' impeachment, I don't have a position on it. Generally, I'm inclined against impeachment proceedings as an unnecessary usurption of Congressional time and money that could be better spent elsewhere.

Gonzales is a bigger detriment to the Republicans in 2008 if he remains as Attorney General. He will tarnish Bush's legacy permanently and Republican candidates will face a backlash because of him. If he goes early, voters may get over it by then.


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Gonzales Loses Credibility Contest

In a credibility contest between James Comey, the former number 2 in the Justice Department who earned a reputation as a tough-minded but honest prosecutor, and Alberto Gonzales, there's no contest at all. When Gonzales, during today's Senate testimony, contradicted Comey's earlier testimony about Gonzales' visit to a hospitalized John Ashcroft, Gonzales' testimony was greeted -- at least by some senators, including Republican Arlen Specter -- with the scorn it deserved.

Mr. Specter signaled that he did not accept Mr. Gonzales’s explanation about the hospital incident. “What credibility is left for you?” the senator asked at one point.

Mr. Specter has accused Mr. Gonzales before of dodging questions, and he did so again today. At one point, the senator said, “I see it’s hopeless.” At another point, he said acidly, “Let’s see if somewhere, somehow we can find a question that you’ll answer.”

The challenge is not just to find a question that Gonzales is willing to answer, but one he's willing to answer truthfully.

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