As another Republican called for his resignation, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told a skeptical Senate panel yesterday that he didn’t know why two federal prosecutors were being fired when he abruptly dismissed them, reports USA Today. He admitted he never reviewed evaluations for any of the eight U.S. attorneys fired last year. Senate Judiciary Committee members from both parties openly questioned whether Gonzales should remain. The attorney general conceded that he couldn’t remember exactly when he fired the prosecutors.
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), said Gonzales should step down. “Confidence in U.S. attorneys has been undermined, and the reputation of the attorney general’s office has been tarnished,” he said. “The best way to put this thing behind us is your resignation.” Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the panel’s top Republican, said Gonzales’ testimony had not repaired “a loss of credibility.” President Bush was “pleased” with Gonzales’ testimony. Some of the harshest questioning came from Republicans. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), was convinced that department officials “made up reasons” to fire the prosecutors because of personality clashes and other differences. Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) suggested that the Justice Department “seems to have lost its way” and is “experiencing a crisis of leadership” unlike others in its 137-year history.