Times: AG, senior officials were prepared to quit over evidence seized from Congressional office
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Friday May 26, 2006
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and other senior officials were prepared to quit over a dispute with the White House about evidence seized from a Democratic Congressman's office, according to a front page story in Saturday's New York Times.
Excerpts from the article written by David Johnston and Carl Hulse:
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and senior officials and career prosecutors at the Justice Department told associates this week that they were prepared to quit if the White House directed them to relinquish evidence seized in a bitterly disputed search of a House member's office, government officials said Friday.
Mr. Gonzales was joined in raising the possibility of resignation by the deputy attorney general, Paul J. McNulty, the officials said. Mr. Gonzales and Mr. McNulty told associates that they had an obligation to protect evidence in a criminal case and would be unwilling to carry out any White House order to return the material to Congress.
The potential showdown was averted Thursday when President Bush ordered the evidence to be sealed for 45 days to give Congress and the Justice Department a chance to work out a deal.
The evidence was seized by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents last Saturday night in a search of the office of Representative William J. Jefferson, Democrat of Louisiana. The search set off an uproar of protest by House leaders in both parties, who said the intrusion by an executive branch agency into a Congressional office violated the Constitution's separation of powers doctrine. They demanded that the Justice Department return the evidence.
Full Times article here