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Goodling: Talk with AG was 'uncomfortable'

Monica Goodling capped her testimony today by recalling her last conversation with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and saying she felt uncomfortable when Gonzales began recalling for her his understanding of the process that led to the firings of nine U.S. attorneys last year.

Her gripping comments before the House Judiciary Committee were made in response to roughly 20 minutes of questioning by Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.) and prompted questions of whether Gonzales tried to shape her testimony.

With all Republicans done asking questions - there are 23 Democrats and 17 Republicans on the panel - Democrats repeatedly deferred to Davis so he could finish asking her about her conversation with the attorney general, just as Goodling took a leave of absence in advance of her early April resignation from the panel.

Admittedly "paralyzed" and "distraught" from the burgeoning scandal, Goodling went to Gonzales late one Thursday or Friday evening in mid-March to at first ask for a transfer from his office, prompting what Goodling considered a potentially inappropriate conversation. Gonzales brought up the process leading up to the mass firings last year of U.S. attorneys.

"Let me tell you what I remember," Gonzales said to her, according to Goodling.

This, according to Goodling, crossed into a gray area, as she and the attorney general were both going to be fact witnesses in the congressional investigations into the U.S. attorneys: "This was something we were all going to talk about. ... It made me a little uncomfortable. ... I did not know if it was appropriate."

Goodling, startled the by the questions, clammed up. "I didn't say anything," she told Davis, a former assistant U.S. attorney.

With the hearing room generally falling silent on Goodling's every word, Davis then asked if she felt that the attorney general was trying to "shape your recollection" - potentially crossing into a borderline area of coaching a likely witness before the eventual testimony. But Goodling said "no," adding that she thought he was being friendly, but added again that it made her feel uncomfortable so she didn't respond.

Two quick other highlights from afternoon questioning:

• Goodling is in the process of establishing a legal defense fund to pay for her high-priced legal team: "I intend to establish a legal defense fund at some point, but I haven't had the chance to do that." For now, she's paying out of pocket.
• Under questioning from Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), the former opposition researcher for the Republican National Committee admitted that she conducted research into the political donations of potential hires in political positions: "We did in some cases check those records." As for non-political positions as career prosecutors, she thinks it's possible she researched potential hires donations: "I can't rule it out. I did a lot of research."

By Paul Kane  |  May 23, 2007; 4:21 PM ET
 
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Comments

Not sure why others aren't focusing on her repeated comments about inaccuracies in AG Gonzales testimony before Congress, which immediately preceded her comments where it sure sounded like Gonzales was trying to coach her testimony on the way out the door.

Isn't lying to Congess a crime?

Posted by: MarkGo | May 23, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

"Isn't lying to Congress a crime?"

hard to say... not being able to remember for the FBI is a crime (Libby)... but admittedly perjuring oneself before a grand jury is not (Clinton).

Depends on which double standard the two sides of the aisle can determine corresponds to the direction the public opinion winds are blowing that day.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 23, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

I find it so funny that the republicans refuse to apply the same standards they used for the Clinton administration. they seemed like a bunch of old coddling a beautiful young woman. Between the White House, Attorney General's and RNC would do anything to prevent the her from answering the hard question.

Posted by: DARRELL | May 23, 2007 5:16 PM | Report abuse

As a god-fearing graduate of Pat Robertson's Regent Academy, Goodling obviously feels that Ends Justify Means. This is standard for any religious fanatic. Too bad the current congress has the spine of a night-crawler.

Posted by: Nick Stuart | May 23, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

"Additionally, entries that are unsigned...will be removed."
And post no. 2, the clinton obsessed isn't signing in now is he?

Posted by: Phil | May 23, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Yo tengo un chocho pocito

Posted by: Alberto Gonzalez | May 23, 2007 5:40 PM | Report abuse

all this dirty business is going swell up and drown the whole bush regime. it's sad that the spine-of-a-night-crawler congress, run as it is by the so-called opposition party, embodies the only viable "alternative" to the disfunctional political culture in our great nation.

Posted by: Billy P | May 23, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

How does somebody get one of the highest positions in our Justice system after graduating from one of the lowest ranked law-schools in the country? "It made me a little uncomfortable. ... I did not know if it was appropriate." Hmm, I wonder why? "I can't rule it out. I did a lot of research." Complete Idiots Guide to Law?

Posted by: John | May 23, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

As a lifelong Republican, who voted for Bush TWICE, I must admit that the last two AG's were absolutely horrible.

My opinion has nothing to do with this stupid firing flap nonsense either. It's clearly a democrat political pony show.

Clinton fired WAY more than 6 prosecutors during his tenure in the white house, but don't confuse them with facts.

I'm frankly tired of Bush's AG selections, and I will concede that I almost feel bad that I voted for him. Kerry was just so much worse, and the thought of Teresa Kerry as the first lady makes me sick. In fact, I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

Stick a fork in the AG, he's done, which is good news as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by: doug | May 23, 2007 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Pretty clear now that Gonzalez can add liar to his sterling resume. Bush & Co will yet make Nixon & Co. look like saints.

Posted by: Scott | May 23, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse

If those fired attorneys had anything to
do with Jefferson taking bribes and the
whole thing being dropped and Berger
stealing and destroying papers that might be embarrassing for the former adm. and
getting a tap on the wrist, I would have
fired the lot of them, too.

Posted by: bor5raw | May 23, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Coaching or preagreeing testimony is a standard operating procedure for these guys. Remember Judith Miller explaining how Libby's Atty. tried to suggest what she should remember Libby saying when she was trying to get approval to identify Libby while she was in Jail. The reason why Fritzpatrick put her in jail was to force her to reveal that Libby lied when he said he had told no one. The reason why she stayed was that she was unwilling to agree to Libby's version of what happened, which was the price of getting Libby to agree to release her.

Posted by: Steve | May 23, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

What the hell is a "pocito"? On that note, what the hell is a "chocho", man? No hablo Tex-Mex. Aprende a hablar bien, baboso. Not even that moron (your boss) speaks that lingo, amigo (unless he's doing lines, maybe).

Posted by: Speedy Gonzalez | May 23, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

I´m from Texas too and I have never heard of chocho pocito. What the hell is he (attorney general) babbling about?

Posted by: arthurmsalazar@sbcglobal.net | May 23, 2007 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Still shocked from ignorant Republicans, the issue is NOT the firing of 6, that is a ridiculous argument (or counter-argument). The issue is that six were TARGETED for removal based upon political ideology, and then this action was LIED about to the Congress. Wake up to the reality that we have a populous that believes anything they hear on Fox News or from an incompetent administration and never takes the time to understand real issues for our country.

Monica Goodling should be in handcuffs in a jail cell right now. She did not incriminate herself today, she incriminated with she 'mistakenly' violated the law.

Since when did the answer 'I don't remember' become so highly regarded, and even allowed, for people at the highest levels of government. If you really want to use the Clinton defense, what would have been your reaction if Clinton had instead said 'I don't remember if I had sex with her.' I'm sure you would have just let him off the hook!

Posted by: Ryan Sprengel | May 23, 2007 6:28 PM | Report abuse

I used to vote for Republican because I felt that preservation of values and American culture is important. After now suffering from almost 8 years of BS, I just want a politician who is not worthless. George W. Bush, after going through Harvard and Yale cannot even compose a simple sentence without screwing it up. Talk about a waste of money on an Ivy League education, however, I am sure that both institutions grind their collective teeth whenever he speaks.
Its funny how many people still defend the Republican party and Bush after all their fallouts. A failure Sec. of Defense-Rumsfeld, A rat, Scooter Liby, the lies of Alberto "the crook" Gonzales, an unjust war based on lies (considering al-qaeda was never in Iraq til recently), secret CIA prisons, the patriot act that invades everyone's privacy, the FBI's unconstitutional search and surveilance program, using the "no child left behind act" to benefit his friend's by giving special treatment of his cronie's reading program, the high gas prices due to Bush alienating countries like Venezuela whom have a massive amount of oil that normally keep gas under $2,
Do I need to continue?...
There is a reason why the Texas Rangers failed when Bush owned them and why his Texas Oil company never made any money. Everything he touches he destroys and screws up.
All I ask is Open your effing eyes...He has NOT I REPEAT HE HAS NOT MADE THIS COUNTRY ANY SAFER. The only reason we are safer now is because we the people (not him or his administration) can take care of

Posted by: The Navy Corpsman | May 23, 2007 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, either our AG is totally incomptetent or he just plays one. Even Ms Goodling who claimed several times in the hearing that she did not know the rules, realized that AG was crossing the line. I am not sure what keeps him in his job, but suitability is not one of them. As for the searching the net for political donations while considering people for apolitical apointments should be illegal if it aint already.

Posted by: RC | May 23, 2007 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Let me also add that when a soldier asked Rumsfeld in front of TV cameras if they can get better equipment such asbody armor and reinforced armor panels on the Humvees Rumsfeld told the young man, "You fight with the Army that we give you not the Army that you want."
If Generals George Patton and Dwight Eisenhower were still alive they would beat the sh*t out of the President and Rummy.

Republicans:
If you claim that you support the troops, why would you send them without properly equipping them with body armor and reinforced humvees?

Posted by: George | May 23, 2007 6:41 PM | Report abuse

The Bushies seem to think they can get out of anything by saying "I don't remember".

Libby said he didn't remember at least seven different conversations he had before he spoke to the first person he testified that he spoke with. Oh, before you Bush apologizers, start yammering about how Libby is going to jail and no crime was committed: Fitzgerald specifically said that just because he didn't indict anyone else did not mean that a crime had not been committed. He said he had been lied to so many times, he really couldn't get to the truth. Oh, and before you Bushies bring up that half-quote from one of the jurors about how they "felt sorry for Libby", let's not forget the other part of that quote from the same juror (this is for those of you who get your news from Faux News): he said the reason he felt sorry for Libby was because he thought Libby was the fall guy for Cheney and Rove, and that Cheney and Rove should be the ones on trial. Fitzgerald said publicly that the reason he didn't prosecute them because he didn't think he had enough hard evidence to get a conviction, and that a trial would thus be a waste of valuable time and money. "I don't remember" didn't work for Libby, and it shouldn't have.

Gonzales said he couldn't remember 79 times in his testimony about the attorney firings before Congress. His sworn testimony before Congress is also contradicted by testimony from several other witnesses, as well as memos and other pieces of paper with his signature on them. And what about those missing emails? Here's where some of them ended up:

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/05/14/1426254

For those of you too lazy or too narrow-mined to click on the link, 500 of those emails were misaddressed (someone put ".org" instead of ".com") and they ended up in the hands of an organization with no love for Bush. Oh, and they contained 70,000 names on caging lists. Oh, and guess who was directing the caging activities (which, by the way, are illegal)? Tim Griffin, the guy Rove pushed into the U.S. attorney position for Arkansas. Hmmm...

Oh, yes, and the article also shows an interview with former Republican U.S. Attorney Iglesias, where he outlines how he was being pressured by senior people in the Republican Party to arrest innocent people to intimidate minority voters in New Mexico.

No, there's no politicization of justice at the DOJ...

Posted by: John B | May 23, 2007 6:43 PM | Report abuse

What seems to have been overlooked is where Goodling went to law school. She is just another example of how the Bush administration values loyalty over ability.

Posted by: Richard B. | May 23, 2007 6:48 PM | Report abuse

We have a seriously truth deficient Aministration, a stupid President who can't speak English properly and probably can't write coherently either.
I seriously question whether we can weather this storm and come out with our reputation intact, or morals steadfast, and our politics less demeaning.

Posted by: PhyllBa | May 23, 2007 7:34 PM | Report abuse

We have a seriously truth deficient Aministration, a stupid President who can't speak English properly and probably can't write coherently either.
I seriously question whether we can weather this storm and come out with our reputation intact, or morals steadfast, and our politics less demeaning.

Posted by: PhyllBa | May 23, 2007 7:34 PM | Report abuse

We have a seriously truth deficient Aministration, a stupid President who can't speak English properly and probably can't write coherently either.
I seriously question whether we can weather this storm and come out with our reputation intact, or morals steadfast, and our politics less demeaning.

Posted by: PhyllBa | May 23, 2007 7:34 PM | Report abuse

We have a seriously truth deficient Aministration, a stupid President who can't speak English properly and probably can't write coherently either.
I seriously question whether we can weather this storm and come out with our reputation intact, or morals steadfast, and our politics less demeaning.

Posted by: PhyllBa | May 23, 2007 7:34 PM | Report abuse

The BIG question is what did Gonzales know about the illegal political requirements that Goodling used to decide whom to hire.

When did he learn Goodling was biasing the hiring of Republicans over Democrats in violation of the law?

What did Gonzales do once he learned one of his staff was violating the law?

Did Gonzales approve, guide, or in any way support Goodling's hiring practices either before or after the fact?

Did anyone in the White House approve, guide, or in any way support Goodling's hiring practices either before or after the fact?

If no one in the White House or in Justice knew of Goodling's hiring practice until today's hearings, why didn't they know? Did Gonzales fail in his roll of overseeing Justice?

Posted by: Pablo B | May 23, 2007 7:36 PM | Report abuse

I say waterboard her and then ship her a$$ to Guantanamo

Posted by: james | May 23, 2007 7:38 PM | Report abuse

This is the same AG who thinks Ed Rosenthal is public enemy #1. Thank god his days are numbered.

Posted by: Ed | May 23, 2007 8:21 PM | Report abuse

To James,

I say waterboard the AG and ship him to Guantanamo!

Posted by: Jokester | May 23, 2007 8:43 PM | Report abuse

This administration is a disgrace.

Posted by: John | May 23, 2007 8:49 PM | Report abuse

If hiring based on political affiliations is wrong, and Ms Goodling is a certified attorney,why did this practice continue?

Was this sanction from above?

If this is only a sample of one department, are all department like this?

I think we need to review all aspects of this administration to give it oversight.

It looks like FEMA's Brown is everywhere in this administration.

Posted by: Anne | May 23, 2007 8:52 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats are just making political theater to deflect attention from their ultra-secularists, anti-war, baby-killing agenda. Gonzales is one of the best AGs we have had. He was brave enough to create the wiretapping program and other programs that, if anything, should be expanded to include anyone the Bush Administration feels they should target, inside or outside the U.S. Furthermore, there is nothing wrong with firing procecutors if they are not loyal to the Bush Administration. In fact, it would be perfectly fine if they fired them if they are not good Christians, too.

So, Democrats, stop whining. It is only too bad that Bush can't be re-elected to a third and fourth term.

Posted by: Pat | May 23, 2007 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Anyone that claims to have voted for Bush at any time but want A.G. gone is lying. The Liberals are trying to murder Republicans one by one. A.G. did nothing wrong except he should have fired all of them. At least Bubba had the sense to fire 93, but that's just fine.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 23, 2007 9:23 PM | Report abuse

"good Christians" don't qualify. that's not your local church. religious fanaticism is not a quality - it's a pathological disease. if you stop praying and start thinking instead you'll notice the benefit in a few weeks. and it wont cause drowsiness, dizziness and erection for more than 4 hours. ask Haggard.

Posted by: god | May 23, 2007 9:57 PM | Report abuse

I call parody troll on Pat.

Posted by: Unsigned | May 23, 2007 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Where do i begin? Steal an election, manufacture evidence to invade a country, scare the American public and Congress into approving the military aggression, leak the name of an CIA covert operative then lie about it, no response to a natural disaster (Katrina), illegal wire-tapping, let's not forget FEMA Director Brown, passing Bills and contracts that allow Administration cronies to legally rob the American taxpayer, employer discrimination (hiring and firing US Attorney's, never remembering important meetings or conversations and now graduates from a low rated law school (150) rising to the highest level of government (with one making hiring/firing decisions based on political ideology).

We wonder why have we lost respect and stature in the world community. Go back to the top if you do not know the answer.

With the exception of Colin Powell, Generals, Press Secretaries, other Cabinet members (including one in a hospital bed) thereby preserving their respect for the constitution stealing all the lifeboats.

THE OCEAN LINER "GEORGETTE BUSH" IS GOING DOWN AND FAST. GOOD THING CO-CAPTAINS BUSH AND CHENEY ALONG NAVIGATOR ROVE MUST GO DOWN WITH THE SHIP. I HOPE CHIEF-MATE RICE IS A LONG DISTANCE SWIMMER.

Posted by: DARRELL | May 23, 2007 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone really believe an unemployed, former government employee is paying any part of the tab for a $600 an hour DC superlawyer (plus who knows how many associates who carry his briefcase) herself? I figure that, what with having to review all the DOJ document dumps,prior testimony, research and the like, their bill has to be approaching $100K by now (if not more).

No, Monica definitely has a Sugar Daddy somewhere who's helping her foot the bill, that is, until she can tap into the same well Scooter's tapped into.

Posted by: m | May 24, 2007 12:52 AM | Report abuse

""Isn't lying to Congress a crime?"

hard to say... not being able to remember for the FBI is a crime (Libby)... but admittedly perjuring oneself before a grand jury is not (Clinton).

Depends on which double standard the two sides of the aisle can determine corresponds to the direction the public opinion winds are blowing that day."

This is moronic in the extreme. It's always about Clenis with you J*ck*sses.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 5:06 AM | Report abuse

"Let me tell you what I remember," Gonzales said to her, according to Goodling.

That is the real news! Gonzales actually remembered something!!!!!

Posted by: TM | May 25, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Paul O'Neil(Bush's first Treasury Sec'y) in his memoir, "The Price of Loyalty:" the first consideration in all of this Administration's hires is political loyalty, not experience or competence. That's why you get the Monica Goodlings and the Kyle Sampsons (and the current AG, frankly.) It is sad that there were no (political) grownups around to protect the President from this debacle.

Posted by: VirginiaDare | May 25, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Does anybody remember a super 50"s film "The Tingler" starring amongst others...not remembered.. ..Vincent Price.

Posted by: RC | May 25, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Why don't the Democrats borrow a page from the Republicans' play book? They should go through transcripts of the testimony and pursue the self-serving "can't remembers" and the inconsistencies, demanding explanations until they get to the truth. You can get a lot of refreshed memory and explanation when you threaten to prosecute perjury. You don't reach such a high position and retain such authority if you have an impaired memory or mental capacity.

Posted by: J. Simmons | May 29, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

"Complete Idiots Guide to Law?"

Do you mean they are complete idiots, or that they are just idiots and their guidebook is comprehensive?

Or both?

Posted by: JEP | May 30, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Unity is good. A bit more spine to go with it would be better.

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