Both Gonzales and McNulty to Go?:
"The Politico" is reporting that the White House has begun seeking a possible successor to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and that Deputy AG Paul McNulty is also expected to resign. I don't know if the source is reliable, but I figured it was worth noting (in part because I saw it via a link from Drudge, which means that a few million people saw it, too).
violet (mail):
Do you think it is likely that any of the involved parties will be prosecuted in the future?
3.20.2007 1:27am
Eli Rabett (www):
How about these and these
3.20.2007 1:42am
My name is McNulty (mail):
McBulty? Buck you!
3.20.2007 5:35am
loki13 (mail):
Deputy AG McNulty sez-

"What the f*** did I do?"

(q- how many Wire quotes can we get on this thread?)
3.20.2007 9:03am
Hmmm... maybe OK should put his name in the hat!
3.20.2007 10:07am
Justin (mail):
According to Adam Cohen, these are the following potential crimes:

[...] 1. Misrepresentations to Congress. The relevant provision, 18 U.S.C. § 1505, is very broad. It is illegal to lie to Congress, and also to “impede” it in getting information. Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty indicated to Congress that the White House’s involvement in firing the United States attorneys was minimal, something that Justice Department e-mail messages suggest to be untrue.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales made his own dubious assertion to Congress: “I would never, ever make a change in a United States attorney position for political reasons.”

[...] 2. Calling the Prosecutors. As part of the Sarbanes-Oxley reforms, Congress passed an extremely broad obstruction of justice provision, 18 U.S.C. § 1512©, which applies to anyone who corruptly “obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so,” including U.S. attorney investigations.

[...] 3. Witness Tampering. 18 U.S.C. § 1512 (b) makes it illegal to intimidate Congressional witnesses. Michael Elston, Mr. McNulty’s chief of staff, contacted one of the fired attorneys, H. E. Cummins, and suggested, according to Mr. Cummins, that if he kept speaking out, there would be retaliation. Mr. Cummins took the call as a threat, and sent an e-mail message to other fired prosecutors warning them of it. Several of them told Congress that if Mr. Elston had placed a similar call to one of their witnesses in a criminal case, they would have opened an investigation of it.

[...]4. Firing the Attorneys. United States attorneys can be fired whenever a president wants, but not, as § 1512(c) puts it, to corruptly obstruct, influence, or impede an official proceeding.

Free Link to NYT
3.20.2007 10:50am
David Maquera (mail) (www):
Bush should nominate Kenneth Star to replace Gonzalez as AG.
3.20.2007 11:15am
Houston Lawyer:
I propose Ted Olson for AG.
3.20.2007 11:21am
Justin (mail):
Maybe Bush should consider nominating someone who would have a chance to be confirmed, no?

Olsen - MAYBE (but doubtfully). Starr would be an exercise in theatrics at expense of the Republican party. The fact that you think the GOP should be popular and powerful does not change the public or political realities.

I'd suspect that Bush will go with someone capable, loyal, and relatively anonymous - someone like (but not actually) Fred Fielding.
3.20.2007 11:28am
This NEVER would have happened if Cheney were alive.
3.20.2007 11:37am
JosephSlater (mail):
I heartily second the nomination of Orin K., or alternatively anybody from the excellent "The Wire" (for those that don't watch that show, one of the main characters is named McNulty, hence the jokes above). Stringer Bell would have been great, had he not been killed at the end of season three.
3.20.2007 12:12pm
loki13 (mail):
I do not believe Bush would nominate Stringer Bell for AG.

I think that SB's opinions about wiretapping are less law-enforcement friendly than are the administration's.

3.20.2007 12:17pm
Cold Warrior:
Gonzales's "crime" here is that he has been exposed as an extraordinarily weak AG. He wasn't the person who initiated the US Attorney firings. And he certainly didn't have the guts to stand up to those from the White House who presented the list to him as a fait accompli.

Of course, everyone seems to have forgotten last month's minor scandal, in which the AG and FBI Director Mueller both appear to have been left in the dark about the magnitude of the Government's use of Patriot Act authorities.

What we need is a real AG. One who comes in with the stature sufficient to stand up to the politicos and to demand that he be given the opportunity to actually perform his/her mandated duties.
3.20.2007 12:20pm
loki13 (mail):
stepping away from my Wire jokes for a second...

i agree with Cold Warrior and will advance a second meme:

AG Gonzalez never made the mental switch from being Bush's Lawyer and advancing Bush's interests (and, in some cases, the interests of the Republican hierarchy as exemplified by the Bush wing) to advancing the US Government's interests.

The two are not mutually exclusive- the Executive (President) sets the policies for enforcement, and defines the priorities. For example, I may believe that voter fraud is a completely bogus issue, but it is the executive's right to define that as a law enforcement priority, and my remedy is the ballot box in 2008 if I disagree with that priority. However, there is a difference between the executive and the party that the executive represents. I think that AG Gonzalez has subordinated his own understanding of what is right to, instead, act to carry out partisan instructions (US Attorney) or to stretch the law (terrorism cases) in ways that do not befit someone who should be serving the Constitution. In short, the AG serves the President AND the Constitution (and the people), and doesn't only serve the President.

In the end, it's about integrity. I never thought I'd say this, but Gonzalez makes me miss Ashcroft. I was a huge Ashcroft-hater, but I thought he had a smidgen of integrity- he may have been a breast-covering fool in some aspects, but I don't believe he would have acceded to the US Attorney purge.
3.20.2007 12:40pm
Justin (mail):
"Of course, everyone seems to have forgotten last month's minor scandal, in which the AG and FBI Director Mueller both appear to have been left in the dark about the magnitude of the Government's use of Patriot Act authorities."

Call me a skeptic, but I do not believe AG Gonzales's lack of knowledge (about either event). I do believe that AG Gonzales isn't in "control" of the DOJ though, and that the White House (particularly Karl Rove) is directing the (perhaps criminal) activity.
3.20.2007 2:07pm
Eli Rabett (www):
Every libertarian should be screaming for the head of AG.

The US had a system where by informal agreement the local US Attorneys had much independence although their initial appointment was political. They were not removed for political reasons during an administration, although it was understood that a new president could and would replace them at the start of his term. In that former system while corrupt politicians would scream that they had been targetted because of their politics not very many believed them, and it was also the case that when prosecutions were not brought the US Attorney's received the benefit of the doubt.

That's gone folks. There are going to be new, complicated and stupid laws passed to try and get back to go. Just like the IRS code, bloated and technical because people stay up nights trying to figure how to game it.
3.20.2007 6:45pm
DWPittelli (mail) (www):
When I delve into the various "lie" claims there always seems to be less there than met the eye of the press or of Senator Schumer et al. I have concluded that when it comes to the question of whether Attorney General Gonzalez (or anyone else) lied, you should never trust short quotes -- or, even more so, characterizations -- provided by the media or Senators.

Instead, read the full transcript* and come to your own conclusions. For example, the news that Gonzalez signed off on the 8 dismissals, and how they would be effected, in a one-hour meeting isn't in conflict with any reasonable interpretation of what he said on March 13.

The infamous "I was not involved in seeing any memos" quote is, in context, clearly describing his lack of involvement in "the process of determining who were the weak performers", and is not a claim to have never signed off on the decision.

Indeed, if the evidence showed any less involvement on Gonzalez' part, that would itself be the latest "scandalous" twist in this story.**

*The actual transcript of Gonzalez' March 13, 2007 press conference is at:
Washington Post

**(As it is, on this last note, see Citizens For Ethics "Ousting a group of top federal prosecutors isn't some minor, inconsequential act. It's the sort of thing that a responsible attorney general would be deeply immersed in. Gonzales's depiction of his own marginality is the most damning evidence of his unfitness for the job.")
3.25.2007 12:40am
DWPittelli (mail) (www):
Let me try the transcript link again:
Washington Post
3.25.2007 12:44am