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WaPo Officially Pronounces AG Gonzales “Dead”

From an overjoyed Washington Post:


[My caption:] Professional protesters from Code Pink including Cindy Sheehan demonstrate against U.S. Attorney General Gonzales.

Maybe Gonzales Won’t Recall His Painful Day on the Hill

By Dana Milbank
Friday, April 20, 2007; A02

Alberto Gonzales’s tenure as attorney general was pronounced dead at 3:02 p.m. yesterday by Tom Coburn, M.D.

The good doctor, who also happens to be a Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, made this clinical judgment after watching Gonzales suffer through four hours of painful testimony. The Oklahoman listed the cause of death as management failure and other complications of the Justice Department’s firing of eight federal prosecutors.

“It was handled incompetently. The communication was atrocious,” Coburn told the beleaguered attorney general. “You ought to suffer the consequences that these others have suffered, and I believe that the best way to put this behind us is your resignation.”

The hearing was billed as Gonzales’s chance to explain the contradictions, omissions and falsehoods in his response to the firings. But instead of contrition, the attorney general treated the committee to a mixture of arrogance, combativeness and amnesia

Gonzales had weeks to prepare for yesterday’s hearing. But the man who sat at the witness table sounded like the sort of person who forgets where he parked his car.

Explaining his role in the botched firing of federal prosecutors, Gonzales uttered the phrase “I don’t recall” and its variants (“I have no recollection,” “I have no memory”) 64 times. Along the way, his answer became so routine that a Marine in the crowd put down his poster protesting the Iraq war and replaced it with a running “I don’t recall” tally

For much of the very long day, the attorney general responded like a child caught in a lie. He shifted his feet under the table, balled his hands into fists and occasionally pointed at his questioners. He defended his actions: “The decision stands.” He denied responsibility: “This was a process that was ongoing that I did not have transparency into.” He blamed the victims: “Poor judgment . . . poor management.” He blamed his subordinates: “When there are attacks against the department, you’re attacking the career professionals.”

Mostly, though, he retreated to memory loss. He was asked about the firing of the Arkansas U.S. attorney. “I have no recollection about that.” The Nevada prosecutor? “I just don’t recall the reason.” The western Michigan U.S. attorney? “I don’t recall.”

The audience included demonstrators from the liberal group Code Pink, about 15 people in orange prison jumpsuits with the name “Gonzales” on them, pink tiaras proclaiming “Justice,” a black hood and a large Gonzales mask. When Gonzales took his place early after a lunch break, the demonstrators taunted him until he and his party retreated backstage. When the hearing ended, the activists treated the nation’s top law enforcement official to a version of “Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye).”

Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) did little to quiet the demonstrators and their occasional shouts of “Resign!” and “Stop lying!” In Leahy’s defense, the protesters’ sentiments were hard to distinguish from the Republican senators’

Even Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the lone member of the committee to attempt a defense of Gonzales, twice called the matter “poorly handled.”

Specter, scolding the witness for “not being candid,” pointed out: “I know you’ve been preparing for this hearing.”

“I prepare for every hearing, senator,” Gonzales replied, acidly.

Specter glared at the witness and hectored him about his past misstatements. “I don’t think you’re going to win a debate about your preparation, frankly,” he said. This, too, delighted the orange-jumpsuit crowd.

“I apologize,” the attorney general said. The water in Gonzales’s drinking glass was still sloshing from his pounding on the witness table.

Never mind that Mr. Gonzales (like him or not) did not do a single illegal act. And, therefore, Congress has absolutely no jurisdiction whatsoever over his office or actions.

Mr. Gonzales doesn’t have to answer their questions. And he was probably right not to remember — to avoid their obvious attempts to lay perjury traps. But who would remember these kind of unimportant details in any exactitude anyway?

(Q: How many times did Hillary Clinton “not remember” when queried by a House Committee over her illegal Whitewater activities? A: 50 times in less than 40 paragraphs of sworn testimony.)

Is this the US Congress or the French Revolution’s Committee of Public Safety?

Is this the United States or the Stalinist Soviet Union?

Or are these hearings a modern day Star Chamber? Only without the Star Chamber’s quiet dignity, since Cindy Sheehan and her Code Pink cohorts and pretend Marines were once again permitted to demonstrate continuously in the audience.

What an absolute disgrace. And what a perfect an example of the kind of “government” the Framers so carefully sought to avoid.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, April 20th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “WaPo Officially Pronounces AG Gonzales “Dead””

  1. GL0120 says:

    Since when is congress a judicial body?
    Seriously, whatever happened to separation of powers; with TCO in charge and a liberal congress, no one is safe.
    Gonzalez did nothing wrong yet he faces criminal charges!

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