What and When Gonzo Remembers

A new revelation about Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' propensity for untruths:

In October of last year, President Bush had a conversation with Gonzales about U.S. attorneys. According to the White House's public statements, the conversation was a broad one, about voter fraud in three districts. Gonzales has said publicly that he doesn't remember such a conversation taking place. But that's not what Kyle Sampson told congressional investigators this past weekend. According to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sampson said that in early March of this year, Gonzales told him about a conversation he'd had in October with Bush that was specifically about U.S. Attorney for New Mexico David Iglesias. Remember that the White House was getting heavy pressure from Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) and other New Mexico Republicans to can Iglesias.

The problem here for Gonzales is while he insists he did not remember the meeting, Sampson seems to think Gonzales did remember when he spoke to him in March:

[I]f Schumer's relation of Sampson's testimony is accurate, it seems clear that Sampson had not been under the impression that Gonzales himself didn't remember the conversation when they spoke about it in early March.

Gonzales simply has no credibility. None. He has told too many untruths. To me, the biggest whopper remains this:

[Pete] Williams: Can you answer some of the questions that have come up over the weekend? As you know, there was a — an email that came out Friday night that showed that ten days before the firings there was a meeting in your office which you attended to discuss the firings. And yet when you talked to us here at the Justice Department two weeks ago, you said you were not involved in any discussions about the firings. Can you — can you explain what seems like a contradiction? Gonzales: . . . Let me try to be more precise about my involvement. When I said on March 13th that I wasn't involved, what I meant was that I — I had not been involved, was not involved in the deliberations over whether or not United States attorneys should resign. . . .

Let's consider this for a second. Gonzales had a conversation with Sampson in EARLY March in which he told Sampson that he discussed "performance" issues of three USAs with the President and then on March 13, he told the public that he had had no discussions about the firings with ANYONE, much less the President. "Early March" would be sometime between March 1 and March 13 one presumes. Did Gonzales "forget" again, by March 13, that he had discussed the matter with the President in October?

And of course what a remarkable thing to have said in the first place. How could he NOT have had discussions with the President about the firings? Heck, that is the most damning statement about his competence. That he thought that was a reasonable thing to say.

The only defense I think can be offered for Gonzales now is that he has Alzheimer's disease. Truly, the man is and was a proven incompetent.

And it now seems hard for me to escape the conclusion that he is also a proven liar.

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    I disagree (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by sphealey on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 09:48:13 AM EST
    > The only defense I think can be
    > offered for Gonzales now is that
    > he has Alzheimer's disease.

    I disagree:  he is going to sit in the witness chair and lie.  First quietly, then forcefully, then in counterattack mode.  But above all he is going to lie consistently - sufficient to trigger the traditional media's "he said/she said" reflex.  Then it will all die away.

    The key point about Watergate is that eventually many traditional media outlets picked up the story and started digging in, including the then-national TV news networks.  That created the firestorm that eventually sank Nixon.  The hearings were a catalyst and vehicle but the adversarial press did the deed.

    Today the press is no longer adversarial.  If Gonzales digs in sufficiently and does not break, the media will take care of the rest for him (and Rove).


    i beg to differ, politely, sphealy. . . (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by the rainnn on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 10:27:54 AM EST
    i think mr. gonzales will fall-
    completely-a-part, in little tiny
    pieces, to be swept-up, at/after
    the judiciary hearing on thursday.

    and i say this, not because i do
    not think he has been well-coached,
    and not because i do not think he
    is smart enough to understand the
    committee's questions -- mostly put
    to him in advance, in writing (so
    read: no "unprepared" stalls). . .

    no -- i think the documents will
    do him in.

    i have posted a series of easy-
    view images, and analyzed each, bit
    by bit, going substantially beyond
    the abc news report of a direct con-
    tradiction in gonzo's own written
    -- his opening statement.

    take a look, but i think he is toast.

    he cannnot escape the documents, plus
    kyle sampson's (and other staffer's) direct
    testimony.  if three people remember clearly
    that he attended a meeting in june 2006, and
    that he received documents, he can't credibly
    be heard to say he didn't have anything to
    do with the carol lam cover-story.

    he is done.  stick a fork in him.

    it is all over, save for the shouting.


    I hope you are correct... (none / 0) (#27)
    by sphealey on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 11:42:37 AM EST
    > no -- i think the documents will
    > do him in.

    I hope you are correct rainnn.  I fear I have little faith in the ability of most of our Congresspeople to conduct a good, understandable cross-examination (that doesn't seem like a cross-examination).  My expectation was set by the Roberts hearings where no one asked him the simple question: "since I am not a lawyer, please explain the Unitary Executive theory to me", "what affect does a Presidential signing statement have on a law passed by Congress", or any similar simple-but-loaded question.  Instead they spent 60% of their time bloviating and then launched into very complex, nuanced interrogations that gave Roberts all the room in the world to slip by.



    well -- at least as to ms. goodling. . . (none / 0) (#28)
    by the rainnn on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 11:45:05 AM EST
    no cross needed -- she's
    very likely to sing -- in
    the narrative, under an
    immunity deal, some time
    after 10 am tomorrow. . .

    see the newest thread above.


    Betterfield's testimonry revealing (none / 0) (#6)
    by oculus on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 10:28:12 AM EST
    the existence of the tapes is what did in Nixon and his advisors.  

    oculus -- ding! (none / 0) (#13)
    by the rainnn on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 10:52:04 AM EST
    exactly! -- the tapes, and the
    18 minute gap in them. here,
    gonzales will say he only re-
    members "uninvolved" or
    "under-involved, general" moments,
    but all the while, his staffers
    in contrast, are preparing (and producing)
    charts, talkers and approaches
    for a meeting designed to "cover
    " the carol lam firing with
    an immigration enforcement (non-)
    deliverable? no way. won't sell.

    not even for free. . .


    consider this: (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by cpinva on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 10:01:26 AM EST
    mr. gonzales has admitted to staggering ineptitude as a manager, regardless of the reason(s) behind the firings. he has essentially said he is totally disconnected from his employees.

    for that reason alone he should be fired.

    The Decider (none / 0) (#4)
    by sphealey on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 10:10:59 AM EST
    One thing is certain though:  only George W. Bush decides if Gonzales will be fired.  If Gonzales doesn't make a mistake at the hearing that immediately translates to impeachment and/or criminal prosecution that can also be explained on a 15-second soundbite on Thursday night's news, then the fear of a confirmation hearing (for any Gonzales successor) will prevail and he will stay through the end-of-term.



    agreed. n/m (none / 0) (#14)
    by the rainnn on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 10:52:33 AM EST
    Time Magazine (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 10:51:24 AM EST
    yesterday finally got around to talking about Gonzales and the US Attorney firings. I'm guessing that they really didn't have much choice and were probably told to do so.

    Conservatives to Bush: Fire Gonzales
    The two-page letter, written on stationery of the American Freedom Agenda, a recently formed body designed to promote conservative legal principles, is blunt. Addressed to both Bush and Gonzales, it goes well beyond the U.S. attorneys controversy and details other alleged failings by Gonzales. "Mr. Gonzales has presided over an unprecedented crippling of the Constitution's time-honored checks and balances," it declares. "He has brought rule of law into disrepute, and debased honesty as the coin of the realm." Alluding to ongoing scandal, it notes: "He has engendered the suspicion that partisan politics trumps evenhanded law enforcement in the Department of Justice."

    The letter concludes by saying, "Attorney General Gonzales has proven an unsuitable steward of the law and should resign for the good of the country... The President should accept the resignation, and set a standard to which the wise and honest might repair in nominating a successor..." It is the first public demand by a group of conservatives for Gonzales' firing.
    The letter is signed by Bruce Fein, Chairman Richard Viguerie, David Keene, Bob Barr, and John Whitehead

    yep -- and most of them have. . . (5.00 / 4) (#15)
    by the rainnn on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 10:55:54 AM EST
    received substantial business
    from this white house -- yet, they
    are crossing the president publicly.

    that is something, given his
    legendary reputation for retribution.

    i don't trust this group
    any farther than they can
    be thrown -- but about this,
    they are clearly correct.

    he must go.


    This is not the first (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 11:17:19 AM EST
    time they've gone after Gonzales. They have been doing it by going after Bush indirectly by demanding that the Democratic Leadership rein him in.

    But the letter yesterday takes it to a new level - it appears to be the first time they have gone after Bush and Gonzales directly, by name.

    04 April 2007, The Right Seeks to Rein In Presidential Power
    "We elect members of Congress to lead, not to follow. If they are going to lead, they need to understand the Constitution and the vision of its framers, and then have the backbone to insist that the executive branch stop usurping the responsibilities assigned to the legislative and judicial branches of our government."

    --Bruce Fein

    I don't trust them either. (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 11:20:56 AM EST
    It's just that Bush has become their scapegoat now. They will burn him hoping to excuse and save themselves.

    I'll wait to hear what Gonzales has to say... (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by cal11 voter on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 11:18:51 AM EST
    about it under oath before Congress.  Maybe he'll remember more about the meeting now that he's had time to reflect on it.

    hmmmmmmmmmmmm (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by cpinva on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 12:43:30 PM EST
    Bush, inc.:

    "no crimes proven for over 6 years"

    just doesn't have quite the same ring to it as the mcdonald's slogan.

    i'm not a lawyer, and i don't play one on tv, but i always thought "obstruction of justice" was a criminal act, regardless of the political ramifications, or who's pleasure you serve at.

    i should think if it can be shown that any of the fired USA's was terminated to stop, or interfere with, an ongoing criminal investigation, that would qualify as obstruction.

    we're talking about issues a tad more important than bj's in the oval office here.

    Gonzales (none / 0) (#2)
    by Carolyn in Baltimore on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 09:59:06 AM EST
    is as convoluted at lying as Libby.

    "I forgot before I remembered, I mean after someone told me I remembered. As I  recall I don't know anything, and have no basis to believe I decided or remembered anything."

    George W. Bush is an extremely (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 10:30:12 AM EST
    stubborn person.  I think Gonzales stays unless Rove convinces W he just cannot let him stay.  

    Rove vs Gonzales (none / 0) (#18)
    by aztrias on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 11:03:54 AM EST
    "Abu" Gonzales is going down the road to impeachment.  He'll resign sometime after Thursday and prior to his impeachment.  He'll force Congress to initiate an impeachment.  They will.  

    If Abu gets thrown under the bus by Rove, he takes Rove with him.  For that reason Rove has to be careful.  Bush will let Congress' pressure and impeachment force out Abu. Abu also deflects attention from Bush & Rove.  

    These guys will try to stick together like "made men" criminals like Libby who do not turn State's evidence and take their punishment in return for an Dec 2008 pardon from Bush.


    Has any Crime Been Identified in all this? (none / 0) (#8)
    by TearDownThisWall on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 10:32:20 AM EST
    This has been going on for weeks/ months....still not sure what if any crime....where/ what is the "smoking gun" evidence?
    Not to say he shouldn't be fired....but I would let him go for not handling this "scandal" properly.
    This should have been a one paragraph scandal....at best.

    Possible crimes (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Carolyn in Baltimore on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 10:40:40 AM EST
    Lying to Congress
    Abuse of power
    Only the Pres can remove people who serve at his pleasure
    Hatch Act violations - politization of DoJ
    Obstruction of Justice - making USAs prosecute for political reasons, pressuring USAs
    Monica Goodling sure thinks there's something to hide
    Obstruction iof justice - killing investigations for political or criminal reasons

    I know I forgot some......


    Perjury is the only one that could be criminal. (none / 0) (#10)
    by oculus on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 10:48:31 AM EST
    The rest are political, unless there are actual Hatch Act violations.  

    what do you mean? (none / 0) (#17)
    by Carolyn in Baltimore on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 11:02:19 AM EST
    Lying to Congress is a crime - can get you jail time

    Obstruction of justice is a crime

    Abuse of power may be 'legal' but it brought Nixon down.

    I forgot conspiracy charges.


    Heh (none / 0) (#21)
    by scarshapedstar on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 11:10:58 AM EST
    unless there are actual Hatch Act violations

    Well, to figure that one out, we need to look at the evidence they destroyed...

    ...I don't think they planned this one out too thoroughly. :)


    Abuse of Power is a Crime? (none / 0) (#11)
    by TearDownThisWall on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 10:50:35 AM EST
    tell that to every politician from here to eternity-
    At best you have "lying to congress"....let's see  if he has the weasle capability to say while
    "I misled people", i really didn't "lie" blah blah blah....

    In all other "smoking gun" crime evidence you suggest....all can be "excused" with -
    "The AG's serve at the request of the president"-

    I say he skates


    Abuse of power is an impeachable offense. (5.00 / 4) (#29)
    by aztrias on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 11:50:32 AM EST
    Abuse of power is an impeachable offense.  Violations are determined by Congress. Abu will be impeached if he doesn't step down.  He should have told the truth and fought it out on the merits of separation of powers between Exec and Leg branches.  

    Sadly Abu also lied and apparently allowed evidence to be destroyed which violated other laws.  

    Lying to Congress to hide the abuses is illegal even if not done while not under oath.  Abu seems to have lied to Congress while under oath.  Lying under oath is a crime even if the act the liar tries to hide is NOT criminal.  So even if AG's serve at the request of the President and Congress has no role - Abu still lied.

    Abu says he forgot or cannot remember.  Forgetting isn't a viable cover story. Libby found that chronic memory failure doesn't fool a jury.  Lying is serious. You do hard time for lying.

    This isn't Cooke County Texas.  What worked in a State where the Legs Body met once every two years doesn't scale to the Federal level.  It's the U.S. of A. -- the Big League.  They pitch overhand in DC.  Abu plays Tee-Ball. He's going down hard.


    Not a crime (5.00 / 6) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 10:56:25 AM EST
    Assumng what you say is true, wehich it is not, are you saying the lack of a committed crime makes it all ok?

    That should be the Bush slogan "NO Crimes Proven"

    Talk about defining government deviancy down.


    Seems this is more a "Management Error" (2.00 / 1) (#20)
    by TearDownThisWall on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 11:06:53 AM EST
    Except for the possible "Lying" to congress....and we all know that he will use weasle words to say he didn't really "lie"-

    this whole scandal is nothing more than getting back at Gonzo...cuz right now, Gonzo is the low lying fruit in the Bush administration....and the sharks are circling (sorry for mixed metaphors)....and someone has to pay for the Bush regime errors...
    and had he said on day 1-
    "the AGs serve at the pleasuer of the President"
    This "scandal" never happens


    A Management Error (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 11:32:55 AM EST
    A nice euphemism there.

    Some of us think it was something else.


    Abu the Shield (5.00 / 4) (#30)
    by aztrias on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 11:53:18 AM EST
    Abu Gonzales is a red herring.  His problems distract the Press & Congress from the President and Rove.  They'll let him swing as long as possible.

    No Crimes PROVEN. (none / 0) (#19)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 11:06:38 AM EST
    Enter the Clenis (none / 0) (#22)
    by scarshapedstar on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 11:11:53 AM EST
    troll repellant :)

    Specter (none / 0) (#31)
    by andgarden on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 12:17:01 PM EST
    can have it both ways both times!

    How do we as Americans get the TRUTH.... (none / 0) (#33)
    by Freewill on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 05:45:38 PM EST
    For the past several years this Administration has relied on some very handy and helpful tactics to extract the truth from those whom they are trying to urge the truth from. When they receive the "Truth" from these individuals we, as Americans are told that our way of life was threatened by "Evil Doers" and how do we know this, we extracted the TRUTH.

    I truly believe that being one of the Authors of this Administration's and Party's Torture rules set into law last year, Alberto Gonzales should prove these tactics work! He can set up the water tank and the dipping board right in the middle of the Senate Hearing Chambers, have himself bound and strapped to the board and when a Senator asks him a question dip him until he has successfully demonstrated "THE TRUTH". Alberto believes in these tactics, so does Bush, his Party and Administration so, I say show us how these things work! The G.O.P.ers, all around could then gain the Moral High-ground once again by showing those nasty Liberals that their tactics indeed do work!

    Wow, and I gave that advice for free! I should be charging a fee! Just write your check to me, G.O.P.!