Embattled Gonzales: I'm sticking around to 'fix the problems'
Embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales made a surprise appearance Friday on Justice Vision -- an internal videoconferencing feed of the Department of Justice -- to assure employees that he would not step down from his post after his department was found taking political considerations into account during its hiring procedures.
"From my perspective, there are two options available in light of these allegations. I could walk away, as some have demanded, or I could devote my time, effort, and energy to fix the problems," he said. "Since I've never been one to quit, I've decided that the best course of action was to remain here and fix the problems. That is exactly what I'm doing."
Bush's former lawyer expressed slight regret over the practices. "I am troubled because the allegations regarding the politicization of this historic institution, an institution that stands for and protects the rights of the citizens of the greatest and most free nation on Earth, have occurred on my watch," he said.
Gonzales also outlined a number of reforms his department was undertaking, including replacing many top members of his team, such as the Deputy Attorney General, his Chief of Staff and the Director of the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys.
"The strength of any institution, including one as great as the Department of Justice, lies in its people," he said. "And with that particular principle in mind, I have appointed individuals to serve in critical leadership positions who understand and embrace the independence of our law enforcement mission and who will ensure that our work and our hiring will never be influenced bu improper political considerations."
Among the other reforms implemented to reinforce the public's confidence in the department, Gonzalez pointed to revisions in the hiring process of immigration judges, the DoJ honors program and the summer law interns program.
The Attorney General finished with a call for dialogue. "I have learned that there is a real need for improved communications with our U.S. Attorneys and other components," he said, citing that he had met or spoken with all of the U.S. attorneys in the past few months to express regret over the flawed hiring process and to seek feedback about ways to improve the department.
The following video is from ABC, released on July 20.