Gonzales suggests firings 'all Harriet Miers' fault': Analyst
During a panel discussion on the US attorney purge scandal, CNN legal analyst Jeffery Toobin says that the bottom line from Gonzales is that the blame for the US attorney firings lies with Harriet Miers.
"He said, basically, when President Bush started his second term, Harriet Miers called and said maybe we should replace all 93 US attorneys. Gonzales said no, but maybe we should review whether all of them should continue serving," says Toobin. "At that point he says he got periodic updates but essentially knew nothing about who was going to be fired or why they were going to be fired, and that's his explanation."
John Roberts, the co-anchor of American Morning, chimes in to say he thinks Gonzales will have a "really hard time on Tuesday" when he testifies to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and that he will not get any breaks from the senators.
The following video clip is from CNN's Late Edition.
BLITZER: You have had a chance to read all of those pages that the justice department released this morning. What's the bottom line on his defense?
TOOBIN: The bottom line is it's all Harriet Miers' fault. It's really an amazing document, this uh, uh, this opening statement.
BLITZER: Harriet Miers, to our viewers who might not be familiar, was the White House counsel.
TOOBIN: He said, basically, when President Bush started his second term, Harriet Miers called and said maybe we should replace all 93 US attorneys. Gonzales said no, but maybe we should review whether all of them should continue serving. She then -- and he delegated the issue to his chief of staff, Kyle Sampson. At that point he says he got periodic updates but essentially knew nothing about who was going to be fired or why they were going to be fired, and that's his explanation. I think it's perplexing the Attorney General would seemingly have nothing to do with firing 10% of the US attorneys in the country, but certainly this will add to the Democrats' wanting to ask questions of the White House because they appear to be the people who were running the show.
BLITZER: It sounds like a no-win sort of defense, John, because on the one hand if he was involved, that might not necessarily be good but basically he's saying I really wasn't involved so what does that say about his management style when they fire eight US attorneys?
ROBERTS: That's the point a lot of people made, is what kind of CEO are you if you don't know what's going on in the department? He's not going to get a break from any of the senators who listened to him, either. I listened to Arlen Specter on the Stephanopolous show a little earlier and he said, you know I looked at that editorial he wrote in The Washington Post today and there were no facts in it. I'm dealing with facts here. Arlen Specter will not cut him a break and Chuck Schumer is not going to cut him any kind of a break. He was saying this morning in a pre-release to a press conference he was supposed to have today, "I do not recall" is not going to be an acceptable answer. And take a look at this testimony, on page four when he's talking about a couple of potential suggestions for replacements that Kyle Sampson brought to his attention. He says four times, "I do not recall, nor do I recall, I do not recall, i do not recall." He's going to have a really hard time on Tuesday. He's going to get flensed and Chuck Schumer is probably correct when he says it's a make-or-break day.