Lawmakers go to former Deputy Attorney General in Gonzales case

On Capitol Hill, Democrats are keeping their promise to dig deeper into the firings of eight U.S. attorneys.

After grilling Attorney General Alberto Gonzales three weeks ago, lawmakers heard from one of his former deputies on May 3, 2007.

The Justice Department has begun an internal investigation into whether a former advisor to Attorney General Gonzales tried to fill vacancies for career positions with political loyalists.

Monica Goodling resigned in the midst of the scandal and took the Fifth Amendment when asked to testify. The probe is focused on whether she tried to determine the party affiliation of applicants for career prosecutor jobs. If she did, she may have violated civil service laws.

Meanwhile, former Deputy Attorney General James Comey testified before a House committee on May 3. He said at the time he left the Justice Department in 2005, he thought most of attorneys who would later be fired were doing a good job.

“My experience with the U.S. attorneys just listed was very positive - numerous positive interactions with the others,” Comey said.

“My interactions with her were always positive,” Comey said in response to the firing of Carol Lam.

“He was one of my favorites - I worked with him pretty closely. I was inspired by him,” Comey said in response to the firing of McKay.

It was soon after Comey’s departure that Goodling and Gonzalez’s counsel, Kyle Sampson, began the process that led to the firings.

The elephant in the room here is what role White House advisor, Karl Rove had in the firings. The Senate Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed Gonzales for emails connecting Rove to the decision. The White House said those emails may have been lost.


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