Alberto Gonzales Should Resign As A.G.
Gonzales accepted the resignation of his chief staff aide, D. Kyle Sampson, today and cancelled travel plans. Strong criticism of the attorney general by Republican Rep. James Sensenbrenner, senior Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee, as well as questions from Sen. Arlen Specter, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, show that Gonzales' problems are now bipartisan.
It was revealed today (lead story in the New York Times) that Harriet Myers, the failed Bush nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, when she was serving as White House Counsel, had raised the possibility with Sampson of firing all U.S. attorneys when their terms expired. He then went to work on a list, and came up with the eight names.
Apparently, Karl Rove, the President's political advisor, had been passing along complaints about the U.S. attorneys, some of whom had been prosecuting such GOP miscreants as Rep. Randy Cunningham, who was convicted of taking bribes from defense contractors and is now in federal prison. The U.S. attorney in San Diego in that case, Carol Lam, was among the U.S. attorneys fired. It was a McClatchy newspaper story that first implicated Rove in crude attempts to prejudice the work of the Justice Department.
Gonzales, when he was White House counsel and at the Justice Dept., has been a Bush loyalist, and he also was one of the President's most prominent minority appointees.
But such factors must give way to serious wrongdoing in office. When Gonzales actually went ahead and fired the eight U.S. attorneys, instead of resisting doing so, he branded himself as an unsatisfactory attorney general.
So, just two months into the new Democratic-controlled Congress, Democrats who have been sharply critical of the Administration are having some successes. It's not so much that they have discovered wrongdoing themselves, but the scandals -- Walter Reed Army Hospital, the U.S. attorneys -- are dropping into their laps, and they are able to take advantage.
Republicans in Congress are also getting more and more uneasy, and it's obvious why. With next year's presidential election around the corner, they recognize that if the Bush Administration continues to foul up, Republican chances to hold the White House next year may vanish or at least be seriously compromised.
Gonzales also has a questionable record because of excesses he is accused of in the War on Terror.
He has too many problems. It would be best, if he would step down.
The L.A. Times had a sensible editorial yesterday warning against Democratic micromanaging from Congress of the war in Iraq. And the House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has wisely seen to the withdrawal of a proposal to bar specific U.S. actions in relation to Iran. The Times properly points out that if the Democrats are opposed to the war in Iraq, they should try to stop funding for the war, not try to impose onerous conditions on U.S. fighting forces. It is doubtful at this point, whether there would be commanding support in Congress for cutting off funds.
Labels: Justice system