Gonzo Just a Memory by Memorial Day?

Those of us taking the "under" on the continuing tenure of Alberto R. Gonzales got a boost Sunday from two Republican Senate leaders, one of whom said that he believes that the Attorney General could resign before a scheduled "no confidence" vote in the Senate this week and the other of whom refused to publicly support Gonzales when given the opportunity to do so. Gonzales is taking a trip to Europe this week but will be back in time for Friday, the day before the long Memorial Day weekend and typically a prime time to announce bad news-- like the resignation of an attorney general.

Could it happen in the next few days? Beats me. But if you are Gonzales and you lose the support of GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who took a pass Sunday when asked if the Attorney General could continue to effectively lead the Justice Department, then perhaps it's time to update that resume and start working on the draft of your resignation speech. And if you are the Attorney General, and the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), predicts (in the form of a hint) that you might not last the week, you had better quickly figure out a way to silence the drumbeat of bad expectations. I mean, are we seriously now going to measure the job performance of a cabinet level official by how grimly and long he can hang onto his job despite losing the backing of virtually the entire legal and political community? Talk about defining down the idea of competence.

In the meantime, the news magazines finally caught up with the Gonzales-visits-Ashcroft-at-the-hospital story, which the New York Times reported months and months and months ago. From this week's issue of US News and World Report: "[C]ongressional sources tell U.S. News that Democrats will ask the Texas Bar Association to determine whether Gonzales violated his code of professional responsibility or broke laws by bringing up the NSA program in the hospital in front of Ashcroft's wife, who lacks security clearances."

And from this week's issue of Time magazine: "'Executive branch rules require sensitive classified information to be discussed in specialized facilities that are designed to guard against the possibility that officials are being targeted for surveillance outside of the workplace,'" says Georgetown Law Professor Neal Katyal, who was National Security Advisor to the Deputy Attorney General under Bill Clinton. 'The hospital room of a cabinet official is exactly the type of target ripe for surveillance by a foreign power,' Katyal says. This particular information could have been highly sensitive. Says one government official familiar with the Terrorist Surveillance Program: 'Since it's that program, it may involve cryptographic information,' some of the most highly protected information in the intelligence community."

Just what Gonzales needs, right? More ammunition for his growing list of critics to use against him as they try to convince Gonzales and his stubborn boss, President George W. Bush, that the jig is truly up for one of the worst attorneys general in modern history.

By Andrew Cohen |  May 21, 2007; 7:45 AM ET agag
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I suspect that Senator Specter's comment was either wishful thinking or a blunt hint to the President and the Attorney General that it is past time for Fredo to hit the bricks. I'm still of the mind that these two guys, who are the soul of shamelessness, will continue to 'tough it out.' I was struck, by the way, with your closing reference to "one of the worst attorneys general in recent history." I can't think of any who comes close to Gonzales other than John Mitchell and to a lesser extent Bert Lance. Are there others?

Posted by: P. Bosley Slogthrop | May 21, 2007 11:38 AM

I suspect that Senator Specter's comment was either wishful thinking or a blunt hint to the President and the Attorney General that it is past time for Fredo to hit the bricks. I'm still of the mind that these two guys, who are the soul of shamelessness, will continue to 'tough it out.' I was struck, by the way, with your closing reference to "one of the worst attorneys general in recent history." I can't think of any who comes close to Gonzales other than John Mitchell and to a lesser extent Bert Lance. Are there others?

Posted by: P. Bosley Slogthrop | May 21, 2007 11:38 AM

I'm beginning to think that the Attorney General could survive a nuclear blast or a ride in a microwave.

Let's face it, the man has become the quintissential "survivor."

Posted by: DC | May 21, 2007 11:59 AM

FYI - Bert Lance was a businessman and Director of OMB, never Attorney General.

Posted by: DC | May 21, 2007 12:01 PM

Thanks for the correction on Bert Lance. That leaves the field to John Mitchell and Alberto Gonzales. Anyone else come close?

Posted by: P Bosley Slogtrhop | May 21, 2007 12:33 PM

Anything I've read or will read regarding positions or actions taken by the Justice Department or the department's federal prosecutors will not be believed or accepted as credible (except for Patrick Fitzgerald). I am suspcious of everything they do and will continue to be suspicious until ONE: Gonzalez and the 150 religious finatical children posing as lawyers are PURGED. TWO: The new AG'S integrity is unquestionable (Comey, Fitzgerald) and THREE: Each one of those fired prosecutors are re-instated without consquence and permitted to pursue their previous caseload. Without these three immediate (and pretty darn easy to obtain if you ask me) corrections, we simply don't have a justice department anymore. Justice? What's that?

Posted by: Maureen | May 21, 2007 12:53 PM

No incentive for him to leave. No incentive for Bush to fire him. They don't care whether Gonzales has the confidence of Congress or not. They just honestly don't give a damn. He's going nowhere.

Posted by: Helena Montana | May 21, 2007 01:16 PM

Perhaps Gonzo will take the hint and resign beforehand, but I am eagerly awaiting Monica Goodling's testimony. This could be the nail in the coffin, so to speak. Her testimony can only be damning to Gonzo and the White House. What's more, she's been immunized, so perhaps we will hear from someone not afflicted with amnesia.

I am still trying to understand how, Goodling, a 7 year lawyer with no trial or other real legal (as opposed to political) experience who graduated from a barely accredited law school was put in a position to have any input whatsoever on the hiring or firing of assistant attorneys general in the US Justice Dept. It literally makes me sick to my stomach. A monkey with a gun, literally.

I am no more impressed by Kyle Sampson. What a duo!! Under any other admin, I doubt either of them would even be hired to work at entry level prosecutor positions at the Justice Dept.

Also, as to what Gonzo will do when he "retires". I suspect he'll end up back at his old firm Vinson & Elkins (unless of course he gets disbarred or suspended by the TX bar first). Texans always take care of their own and these dudes always land on their feet. They'll give him some BS area of expertise like "crisis management". The former US attorney for (I think) the middle dis of CA discussed at the latest hearings (Ms. Wang Yang, I believe) is now specializing in "crisis management" at Gibson, Dunn. Sounds more like PR work than legal work to me. Look at the Gibson, Dunn website if you don't believe this. According to testimony at the hearing (based on a NYT story), she got a $1.5 M signing bonus from Gibson Dunn. At the hearings Gonzo said that he thought that was a "fair" bonus for an "Asian American female". I know this kind of thing happens in the "real world", but I was astounded that Gonzo would venture any opinion whatsoever on this question at the hearing. I wonder what kind of a signing bonus he got at V & E as an "hispanic". Well, at least it shows he can answer some questions as long as they are totally irrelevant to the substance of the hearing.

Interestingly, Wolfowitz hired Gibson Dunn (Ted Olson, also working in the "crisis management" team at Gibson, Dunn) to approve the severance agreement between his girl friend and the World Bank.

Posted by: Reatty | May 21, 2007 01:22 PM

Perhaps Gonzo will take the hint and resign beforehand, but I am eagerly awaiting Monica Goodling's testimony. This could be the nail in the coffin, so to speak. Her testimony can only be damning to Gonzo and the White House. What's more, she's been immunized, so perhaps we will hear from someone not afflicted with amnesia.

I am still trying to understand how, Goodling, a 7 year lawyer with no trial or other real legal (as opposed to political) experience who graduated from a barely accredited law school was put in a position to have any input whatsoever on the hiring or firing of assistant attorneys general in the US Justice Dept. It literally makes me sick to my stomach. A monkey with a gun, literally.

I am no more impressed by Kyle Sampson. What a duo!! Under any other admin, I doubt either of them would even be hired to work at entry level prosecutor positions at the Justice Dept.

Also, as to what Gonzo will do when he "retires". I suspect he'll end up back at his old firm Vinson & Elkins (unless of course he gets disbarred or suspended by the TX bar first). Texans always take care of their own and these dudes always land on their feet. They'll give him some BS area of expertise like "crisis management". The former US attorney for (I think) the middle dis of CA discussed at the latest hearings (Ms. Wang Yang, I believe) is now specializing in "crisis management" at Gibson, Dunn. Sounds more like PR work than legal work to me. Look at the Gibson, Dunn website if you don't believe this. According to testimony at the hearing (based on a NYT story), she got a $1.5 M signing bonus from Gibson Dunn. At the hearings Gonzo said that he thought that was a "fair" bonus for an "Asian American female". I know this kind of thing happens in the "real world", but I was astounded that Gonzo would venture any opinion whatsoever on this question at the hearing. I wonder what kind of a signing bonus he got at V & E as an "hispanic". Well, at least it shows he can answer some questions as long as they are totally irrelevant to the substance of the hearing.

Interestingly, Wolfowitz hired Gibson Dunn (Ted Olson, also working in the "crisis management" team at Gibson, Dunn) to approve the severance agreement between his girl friend and the World Bank.

Posted by: Reatty | May 21, 2007 01:22 PM

P. Boz:

Harry Daugherty would be in contention, but was just a criminal wile Gonzon seems to be involved in somethig darker.

There is at least one suicide & one murder that some link to H. D.

"As an Ohio Republican party boss in 1920, engineered Harding's ascendency as the Republican Party Presidential nominee at that year's Chicago Republican National Convention. The decision to propel Harding forward if the nomination wasn't decided on the first ballot, was made in what became known as in American politics as the smoke-filled room in the Blackstone Hotel. Daugherty served as campaign manager for Harding in the U.S. presidential election of 1920. He ran the campaign based on Harding's affable personality and fairly neutral political stance, advocating a return to "normalcy" after World War I.
Harding won the Republican Party nomination after the vote deadlocked between Leonard Wood and Frank Lowden, an event whose possibility Daugherty had suggested months before in an interview. After Harding won the general election, he appointed Daugherty United States Attorney General.
Daugherty's controversial three years in office saw his name surface in connection with veterans bureau irregularities, alien property conspiracies, as well as his role in the pardoning of Eugene V. Debs and Charles W. Morse. However it was his alleged knowledge of a kickback scam involving bootlegers (operated by his chief aid Jess Smith) that led to his eventual resignation in March 28, 1924. As the subject of a U.S. Senate investigation begun the year before, spearheaded under the direction of Junior Senator Burton K. Wheeler of Montana, Daugherty, was eventually not found guilty in the investigation.
He returned to practicing law until his retirement in 1932, and that year published along with ghostwriter Thomas Dixon, The Inside Story of the Harding Tragedy about his time in the Harding administration. In the book, he claimed that Albert B. Fall had become Secretary of the Interior by forging Daugherty's name, and that his close friend, Jesse Smith, had killed himself because of diabetes, not a guilty conscience."

Posted by: wrb | May 21, 2007 01:28 PM

Answer? Like I said before, nope, he'll still be here!

Posted by: chiaramente | May 21, 2007 02:07 PM

"Perhaps Gonzo will take the hint and resign beforehand, but I am eagerly awaiting Monica Goodling's testimony. This could be the nail in the coffin, so to speak. Her testimony can only be damning to Gonzo and the White House."

Reatty: Um, no, not really for "Gonzo" as you all put it, or the White House, really: But Paul McNulty has got to REALLY be sweating bullets now! (smile)

Posted by: chiaramente | May 21, 2007 02:12 PM

DC:
Is this what it means to be a "survivor"?To avoid consequences for and admitting something one has done?


Posted by: Ted | May 21, 2007 02:23 PM

One more thing before I have to go: Don't be overly reactive to Comey's "hospital story"- Comey knew EXACTLY WHAT HE WAS DOING WHEN HE SAID THAT.

You see, Comey HATES Gonzales, (remember what Comey said about Gonzales when he came to the hospital? "he paid no attention to me"-Comey didn't LIKE THAT).

So does McNulty, by the way, (hates Gonzales, I mean) so the two are working together in common concert on this matter- and have been relatively successful, Time magazine, Congress, everyone really going bonkers over essentially nothing-(those kind of situations happen more than you think-someone is sick, even in the hospital, yet, they are the point person, so they have to be in on the action).

And remember, Comey's reactions now are PRESENT memories and feelings, clearly not contemporaneous with the time!

Understand what's going on here: Comey is DEFLECTING THE HURT THAT WILL COME RAINING DOWN UPON MCNULTY, HIS FRIEND, WHEN MONICA GOODLING TESTIFIES.

WH understand this situation good, real good!

WH don't like either one of those "fine, upstanding Virginia men." Hee Hee Hee!

Posted by: chiaramente | May 21, 2007 02:30 PM

RE Reatty on how could Goodling could have been put in her authority position:

Well we have recently had 19 and 20 year olds (or not much better, college-"educated" ideologues who could get the respected degree while only pursuing departments of indoctrinating ideology-and there are many such-without needing to meet any real general education requirements) forcibly disseminating abroad their received wisdom (much informed by MTV and other such disinterested bastions of real knowledge) of the universal superiority of "our way of life" (which they presume themselves to embody)and dismissively judging, even persecuting members of longer-established societies (some not without some desirable modifications) than ours, who differ from our own young adults' arbitrarily/commercially concocted collective "identity".

Posted by: Bill | May 21, 2007 02:54 PM

Chiar..:

What do you mean Comey's reactions are not contemporaneous? He ran up the stairs to forestall what they were attempting to do.

Posted by: Elois | May 21, 2007 02:59 PM

chiaramente:

So why are you trying to cover for Gonzalas?
We all saw his flagrant perjury, we've all read his "quaint" memos.

Nothing McNulty has or has not done could excuse Gonzalas at this point.

Are you providing a preview of Goodling?:

"Paul did it all, except for what I did, but those in the White House are saints"

Not gonna fly.

Posted by: wrb | May 21, 2007 06:10 PM

Yesterday Michael wrote:
The real question for the timeframe is when is the next Congressional recess?

According to the NYT (and the congressional calendar), the next recess starts this weekend for memorial day.

What are the chances the AG resigns on Friday and the WH appoints their preferred candidate by the following Friday?

Posted by: LR | May 21, 2007 06:56 PM

Come, on Chiaramonte. If Comey is lying or embellishing, I don't see Gonzales or Card running out to correct the record. And no wonder -- Comey dwarfs them in the integrity department. Card is the guy who is running around telling people that Bush standing in front of the Mission Accomplished sign was not an attempt to convey the idea that the Iraq mission was accomplished. Gonzales is the guy who told Congress that there was no serious disagreement in the administration about the NSA program, even though Comey, Ashcroft's chief of staff, and perhaps Ashcroft himself were prepared to resign over it. No serious disagreement, eh, Alberto? Or maybe he knew nothing about it, yeah, that's the ticket.

Sorry, but I'll take Comey's word over Gonzales any day.

Posted by: ExAUSA | May 21, 2007 08:20 PM

I don't know when Gonzales goes, but I do know the longer he stays on the job the more likely that an impeachment vote is. A lot of ill-will is growing in the face of this one within Bush's party, because the decision to keep Gonzales beyond his "sell by" date has implications for the national party and not just Bush's political interests. He is mortgaging the party's capital and future in order to keep Gonzales on the job. He's throwing other people's good money behind a mind-bogglingly ill-advised "investment". At this stage, Bush has no political capital of his own to throw around.

The fact that Gonzales is still around also helps to amplify the storyline every time new revelations emerge (e.g. the story line isn't just "look at these unethical and unlawful things that the top law enforcement officer did," but "look at the unethical and unlawful things done by the guy who is STILL in the job of the nation's chief law enforcement officer; and look at how passive George W. Bush is in the face of this ongoing crisis").

Posted by: JP2 | May 21, 2007 09:01 PM

I'm with ExAUSA whose past posts have demonstrated both a close following of the US attorney scandal and his or her own experiences of life within the USDOJ. Chiaramente also seems to have some personal experience, directly or indirectly, with DAG McNulty, which gives rise to some animus toward him, and perhaps towards Mr. Comey. Pointing out that Mr. Comey's testimony related his present recollection of occurrences that happened some time ago is simply pointing out a fact that is true of the testimony of all fact witnesses: they relate their recollections of past facts. Some suffer from defective memories or poor powers of verbal expression or from some other testimonial weaknesses, but the truly extraordinary events in AG Ashcroft's hospital room would likely remain rather vivid in any one's memory. There is nothing to suggest either that Mr. Comey's memory is bad or that he doesn't possess sufficient verbal skills to describe the events accurately, or that he is seriously biased (Chiaramente's suggestion to the contrary notwithstanding.) On the other hand, I suspect that we all share Chicarmente's eager anticipation of Monica Goodling's testimony on Wednesday. It may be that a lot of people will emerge from that hearing bloodied. Of course, considering the incredibly bad witness examination skills of most members of the House Judiciary Committee, perhaps the blood-letting will be much less than expected.

Posted by: P. Bosley Slogthrop | May 21, 2007 09:24 PM

JP2

Quarter please?

Posted by: wrb | May 21, 2007 09:36 PM

P. Bosley, in reference to the Goodling testimony my expectations are more in line with "don't expect much" likelihood.

While Goodling doesn't strike me as having the same kind skilled story-teller skills of an Oliver North; or the parsing skills of Gonzales, she has had over a month to prepare for her testimony, and is being handled (coached perhaps?) by seasoned pros. She is also likely to benefit from the large tracts of documents that the DOJ and White House have withheld/lost (although I understand they have "found" some additional documents this evening).

She also has the benefit of facing too many undisciplined and time-crunched interlocutors, who are teamed with badly compromised colleagues who will be running interference over the testimony all day long.

I would expect that she'll point the finger at McNulty, and perhaps even Gonzales. I will be very surprised if we learn new details about the White House operation, because given the way that Sampson's public testimony went, and that documents have been released, it seems like there has been a fair amount of collaboration in spinning the narrative away from the people who did the "inputs" into the aggregation machine.

Posted by: JP2 | May 21, 2007 10:00 PM

wrb, I'm down TWO quarters if I'm not mistaken. Such is life.

Posted by: JP2 | May 21, 2007 10:40 PM

First question for Monica should be, "who coached you for the last 2 months?" Keep after them, under oath. Keep adding to the mountain of evidence of their conspiracy to impose a radical christian corporate government by depriving voters their rights and citisens their constitution rights. Investigate under oath.

Posted by: thebob.bob | May 21, 2007 11:40 PM

jp2

I agree that you are down two quarters, such is the fate of the reasonable & the idealistic.

Please donate mine to the feeding of urban doves. But it must be shiny.

Posted by: wrb | May 21, 2007 11:53 PM

jp2

I agree that you are down two quarters, such is the fate of the reasonable & the idealistic.

Please donate mine to the feeding of urban doves. But it must be shiny.

Posted by: wrb | May 21, 2007 11:53 PM

ExAUSA-who said Comey was lying? Embellishing? Now that's a different matter!

However, for those of you who are interested, I have the brand new, May 21 issue of LEGAL TIMES magazine-and guess who has the cover article? Why my favorite person in the whole world-PAUL MCNULTY! Huge Huge Article! Very very interesting! Run out and buy it people, before Goodling testifies on Wednesday!

Here's a sampling!

"With Goodling's scheduled appearance before the House Jud. Comm'tee on May 23, McNulty could find the scandal hard to put behind him. Goodling's version of events may contradict McNulty's statements and spur further questions (or appearances) on the Hill. The judiciary committees are also likely to try to exploit what looks to be an ever widening rift between McNulty and Gonzales as well."

Now HERE'S THE KICKER:

"It's unclear how signficant a hurdle the controversy will present as McNulty searches for a job in the private sector. Some law firms and major corporations may want to steer clear of anyone connected to the scandal. WHAT'S MORE, MCNULTY LACKS ANY REAL TRIAL EXPERIENCE."

Hey! Someone is stealing Chiaramente's posts, I think!

But the best for last:

"...leading the U.S. Attorney's Office in the ED Va. AND THE LARGELY BUNGLED EFFORT TO WIN A DEATH SENTENCE FOR ZACARIAS MOUSSAOUI."

Can you spell-OPR?

Sweet, sweet karmic payback time! (sorriso grande)

Posted by: | May 22, 2007 12:02 AM

Sorry, can't resist just a couple more paragraphs from the LT Article!

But as Gonzales is now eagerly pointing out, McNulty is the direct supervisor of U.S. attorneys and MCNULTY APPROVED THE FINAL PLAN-EVEN THOUGH EMAILS RELEASED BY JUSTICE SHOW HE (McNulty) HAD NO IDEA ABOUT THE JOB PERFORMANCE OF AT LEAST ONE OF THOSE CHOSEN TO BE FIRED.

"McNulty also BEARS A LARGE SHARE OF RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT'S DISASTROUS HANDLING OF THE FALLOUT FROM THE FIRINGS."

okay, WHO said this first folks?? (smile)

Goodling gonna be bad bad news for McNulty!

Posted by: | May 22, 2007 12:11 AM

Chiaramente/Anon 12:11 AM, you are quoting statements from Gonzales as if they are statements of fact. That's problem #1.

The quotes that you cite are also out of context.

Here's the lede:

"Few in Washington have envied Paul McNulty over the past three months. But with the deputy attorney general's resignation last week amid the scandal over the firings of at least eight U.S. attorneys, there's one person whose position might be even less desirable: McNulty's yet-to-be-named successor.

"I'd rather trade places with Jose Padilla," jokes Viet Dinh, a former senior Justice official under then-Attorney General John Ashcroft."

Another very good article by Jason McLure who has been doing some excellent reporting on this issue. Worth checking out:
http://www.law.com/jsp/dc/PubArticleDC.jsp?id=1179219893186&hub=TopStories

Posted by: JP2 | May 22, 2007 09:52 AM

JP2:
Lemming-like Republican partisan affiliation or Bush's delusional desperately held-onto ego. That's going to be a tough competition. And Alberto is no mere appointee but CLOSE confidante whose personal model in both public and private
life is the president.

Posted by: Ferenc | May 22, 2007 01:07 PM

chiarmante/_: As is consistently glibly misused these days (by an odd WholeFoodsgranolahippy/myopically neocon Zionist fusion)as if to justify the "justice" of punishment and retaliation, karma which all of a sudden has this opportune credence with people even though it is a thousands of year-old idea inextricably linked to reincarnation, has to do with what form one may be reborn as, and when one may be free of the repetition of rebirth. IT HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH SOME SELF-APPOINTED PRESUMED ROLE AS SELF-DECIDED REACTION/RETALIATION IN THIS LIFE OR ONE'S SELF-DECIDED PRESUMPTION OF "JUSTICE"!

Posted by: swami | May 22, 2007 01:28 PM

Justice/"payback"

Posted by: swami | May 22, 2007 01:29 PM

The AG is gone - he just doesn't know it yet. Just like the Wolf was gone from the World Bank when new came out that he gave his girlfriend a $50,000 raise.

Best indication would be how much background material the Post has ready for when the resignation hits. Same with all other major newspapers and newswires. CNN has the film clips ready to go and a list of people (with phone numbers) to call for sound bites.

The cause of the delay? Political infighting and egos. That can hold things off for a while, but time is getting short for the AG & friends,

Posted by: Ken | May 23, 2007 10:50 AM

P. Bosley --

In response to your question about recent attorneys general, I don't think that Ed Meese would make many people's "most distinguished" list. If we go back further in history -- where my knowledge is considerably spottier -- how about A. Mitchell Palmer of the "Red Scare" and the infamous "Palmer Raids?"

Posted by: lydgate | May 23, 2007 12:42 PM

P. Bosley --

In response to your question about recent attorneys general, I don't think that Ed Meese would make many people's "most distinguished" list. If we go further back -- where my knowledge is considerably spottier -- how about A. Mitchell Palmer of the "Red Scare" and the infamous "Palmer Raids?"

Posted by: lydgate | May 23, 2007 12:44 PM

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