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Archive for Thursday, May 24, 2007

Former Gonzales aide: A.G. made me ‘uncomfortable’

May 24, 2007

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— A former Justice Department official told House investigators Wednesday that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales tried to review his version of the prosecutor firings with her at a time when lawmakers were homing in on conflicting accounts. Gonzales has testified he hasn't spoken with witnesses.

"It made me a little uncomfortable," Monica Goodling, Gonzales' former White House liaison, said of her conversation with the attorney general just before she took a leave of absence in March. "I just did not know if it was appropriate for us to both be discussing our recollections of what had happened."

In a daylong appearance before the Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee, Goodling, 33, also acknowledged crossing a legal line herself by considering the party affiliations of candidates for career prosecutor jobs - a violation of law.

And she said that Gonzales' No. 2, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, knew more than he let on when he did not disclose to Congress the extent of White House involvement in deciding which prosecutors to fire. McNulty strongly denied that he withheld information, saying Goodling did not fully brief him about the White House's involvement.

Goodling's dramatic story about her final conversation with Gonzales brought questions from panel members about whether he had tried to align her story with his and whether he was truthful in his own congressional testimony.

Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee last month that he didn't know the answers to some questions about the firings because he was steering clear of aides - such as Goodling - who were likely to be questioned.

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