Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Alberto Gonzales Tries Out The Scooter Libby Defense...

...That being that he is too busy and confused to remember anything he does or says.

Attorney General Gonzales gave a press conference this afternoon to try and save his job discuss the ongoing scandal surrounding the firing of several U.S. Attorneys last Fall. This after his chief of staff quietly resigned yesterday and after the administration quietly released emails, which helped critics' arguments that the Attorneys were fired for political reasons near the midterm elections. Oh, and after calls for his resignation.

I watched most of this press conference; it was brief. After last weekend's 'this is just an overblown personnel matter' defense was destroyed by these new revelations, AG Gonzales started things off by admitting that, yea, okay, something not cool happened here. But he did so in the detached, depersonalized way all Bush administration officials admit error... blandly admit that "mistakes were made", but never really attribute it to anyone or anything, as if the mistakes are just hovering around in the atmosphere somewhere.

He then said the Justice Department is a very big organization and he can't possibly be aware of everything happening there (including, apparently, the issues/matters he and the President's office are directly involved in). I don't see how this helps his case, because either a) he's lying (<-- spoiler alert: it's probably that), or b) he's a complete moron. Neither makes him qualified to remain on as Attorney General.

Then, of course, he took some questions. His answers just repeated the talking points from his earlier statement and he stuttered and stammered alot. Then, in my favorite moment, he insisted that he "stands by" their decision to replace the U.S. Attorneys... as he rushs off the stage quickly.

Video from TPMmuckraker- here.

(Josh Marshall also looks at the right-wing 'But but Clinton did it!' talking point.)

Finally, this post by Andrew Sullivan sums it up for those confused by all this-
We now know that a political purge of U.S. attorneys was directed by the president through the attorney-general, and was enabled by the Patriot Act. The alleged reason for removing the U.S. attorneys - which the administration took a while to come up with - is that the U.S. attorneys were insufficiently devoted to rooting out Democratic voters' alleged voter fraud. (For a guide to this scam, see Josh Marshall's long obsession, which now seems a little more justified and a lot less boring than it once did. For TPM's full backfill on the U.S. Attorneys story, click here.)

It seems to me pretty obvious that they've been caught trying to rig the justice system to perpetuate Republican control of the House and Senate. It seems to me that this originates with the president and Karl Rove. And it seems more than obvious to me that Alberto Gonzales should resign. No attorney-general with this kind of cloud over him can faintly summon public confidence as a neutral enforcer of justice.

Gonzales also crafted the legal case for Bush's torture policies. Just in case we've forgotten.


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