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Talking Points: Back to the Hill

With damning new details about the U.S. attorney firings still emerging, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales returns to Capitol Hill to appear before the House Judiciary Committee.

With damning new details about the U.S. attorney firings still emerging, and with increasing evidence of White House involvement, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales returns to Capitol Hill today to appear before the House Judiciary Committee. The last time Gonzales testified, even White House allies were “flabbergasted by how poorly they think the attorney general [had] done,” having claimed on more than 70 occasions that he could not recall or did not remember events surrounding the dismissals. One prominent conservative compared his testimony to “clubbing a baby seal.” Now, Gonzales appears ready for a repeat performance. Asked Wednesday during a news conference whether he’s refreshed his memory, he replied: “I can only provide information as to what I know and to what I recall, and that’s what I intend to do, as I have done in the past.” Thankfully, the truth about the firings is slowly being learned despite his stonewalling. “This is going to get worse, not better,” fired U.S. Attorney John McKay told journalists this week. “I think there will be a criminal case that will come out of this.

  • With the discovery of a ninth fired attorney, the scandal continues to grow. We also learned this week that “there were not 8 but 9 US Attorneys fired last year by the Department of Justice — the earliest, Todd Graves in Kansas City, way back in March 2006, right after the passage of the revised USA Patriot.” Graves said yesterday he was told simply that he should resign to “give another person a chance.” That other person was a controversial Justice Department figure named Bradley Schlozman, who was installed in Graves’ position without Senate confirmation. The news about Graves directly contradicts “repeated suggestions by Gonzales and other senior Justice officials in congressional testimony and other public statements that the firings did not extend beyond the eight prosecutors already known to have been forced out.”