Attorney General Alberto Gonzales took responsibility for “mistakes” related to the firing of eight U.S. attorneys last year but rejected calls for his resignation from Democrats who accuse him of misleading Congress, reports the Washington Post. “I acknowledge that mistakes were made here. I accept that responsibility,” Gonzales said. He said he did not know the details of the plan to fire the prosecutors, but he defended the dismissals: “I stand by the decision, and I think it was a right decision.”
Internal Justice Department e-mails and documents, show that political loyalty and positions on signature GOP policy issues loomed large in weighing whether a prosecutor should be dismissed. One e-mail from departed Gonzales aide Kyle Sampson, for example, notes that the appointment of a new U.S. Attorney in Little Rock “was important to Harriet, Karl, etc.” (referring to White House counsel Harriet Miers and political aide Karl Rove). It wasn’t only Democrats who were critical. Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wi.) called the department “dysfunctional,” while Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tx.) said “the appearances are troubling” and criticized Gonzales’s handling of the issue.