Testimony Makes it Urgent that the Attorney General Explain Himself

A former top aide to Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, was before a Senate committee. He answered questions about the highly-disputed firings of eight U.S. attorneys.

ABC's Maya Kulycky reports he cast doubt on previous testimony by his old boss.

All along Gonzales has denied he was involved in discussions about the firing of 8 U.S. attorneys.

"I'm not aware of every bit of information in on all our decisions," Gonzales said.

But today, March 29, 2007, Kyle Sampson, Gonzales' former chief of staff, contradicted his former boss.

"Was your e-mail correct that Attorney General Gonzales was present at a meeting on Nov. 21, 2006, at which there were discussions about U.S. Attorneys?" Senator Arlen Specter asked Sampson.

"I don't think the Attorney General's statement that he was not involved in any discussions about U.S. attorney removals is accurate," Sampson replied.

With Sampson under oath, senators tried to figure out who did what and why. On March 28, 2007, the Justice Department admitted that in the past it gave senators inaccurate information about the firings and about Karl Rove's part in getting a U.S. attorney post for one of his former aides.

Sampson said he's sorry for his part in unintentionally misleading Congress about the firings, but he maintained there was nothing wrong with why they were fired.

"U.S. attorneys are political appointees, and as I said in my opening statement, I think the distinction between performance-related and political is artificial," Sampson said.

Gonzales is scheduled to testify before this committee on April 17, but that may not be soon enough for the White House. The administration has signaled that Sampson's testimony makes it urgent that Gonzales explain himself sooner.

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