Gonzales Says He Thought About Resigning

by TChris

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is portraying himself to the press as a prosecutor of principle, claiming he would have resigned had the White House ordered him to return the property seized in a search of Rep. Jefferson's office. Stalling the investigation for 45 days by secreting the evidence with the Solicitor General is apparently an insufficiently significant interference with the FBI's work to trigger a resignation.

The practice of standing up for the law in a principled manner is new to Gonzales, who has been an untroubled defender of torture, secret and indefinite detention without trial, domestic spying, warrantless wiretapping and scrutiny of calling records, while advocating the suppression of whistleblowers who expose the illegal acts that he defends. Ignoring the law is easy for Gonzales. It isn't so easy to ignore FBI agents and career prosecutors who would go public if Gonzales permitted obvious political obstruction of criminal investigations.

The good news is that Gonzales' sudden concern for the appearance of principle might prevent a coverup of Republican scandals.

Tensions were especially high because officials at the Justice Department and the F.B.I. viewed the Congressional protest, led by Speaker J. Dennis Hastert and House Republicans, as largely a proxy fight for battles likely to come over criminal investigations into other Republicans in Congress.

Separate investigations into the activities of the lobbyist Jack Abramoff and Randy Cunningham, the former congressman from California, have placed several other Republicans under scrutiny; in the Cunningham case, federal authorities have informally asked to interview nine former staff members of the House Appropriations and Intelligence Committees.

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