Senator Sam Brownback had this to say concerning the Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales yesterday:
“At yesterday’s hearing, I posed several questions to the Attorney General about the grounds for the dismissal of eight United States attorneys in December 2006,” said Brownback. “Although his answers suggested that there were serious managerial issues at the Department of Justice, I did not see a factual basis to call for his resignation. As for whether the Attorney General should resign, that is a question I leave to him and to the President.”
The senator gets it right. I would have been a little less charitable, but that’s why I’m blogging while Sam is running for President. The AG’s inability to recall over and over again didn’t look very good to say the least. But in the end, if he has the President’s confidence, his job is safe.
Update: Byron York over at National Review Online does not mince words:
Judging by his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday, there are three questions about the U.S. attorneys mess that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales wants answered: What did I know? When did I know it? And why did I fire those U.S. attorneys?
As the day dragged on, it became clear — painfully clear to anyone who supports Gonzales — that the attorney general didn’t know the answers. Much of the time, he explained, he didn’t really know much at all — he was just doing what his senior staff recommended he do.
Further down, York has this to say:
Under examination from Republican Sens. Sam Brownback, Lindsey Graham, Jeff Sessions, Tom Coburn and others, Gonzales maintained, in essence, that he did not know why he fired at least some of the eight dismissed U.S. attorneys. While Gonzales was able to give a reason for each firing, it appeared that in a number of cases, he had reconstructed the reason after the fact; he didn’t know why he fired the U.S. attorneys at the time, other than the dismissals were recommended by senior Justice Department staff.
Ouch. That’s gotta sting. Read the whole thing.