Monica Goodling, former aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, admitted yesterday taking political considerations into account when screening applicants for prosecutorial positions. “I know I crossed the line,” she told the House Judiciary Committee. This was “a sad moment for anyone who cares about the Justice Department,” editorializes the Washington Post. The newspaper said it was sad that so many Republican committee members “chose to ignore this ugly fact and heap praise on Ms. Goodling.”
The president is entitled to have U.S. attorneys who reflect his law enforcement priorities, the Post says. So far, no evidence has emerged to support the allegations that some prosecutors were fired for pursuing public corruption cases against Republicans. At the same time, the firing of David Iglesias, U.S. attorney for New Mexico, after improper phone calls from Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) and Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) about a pending case is highly suspicious. The complaints from lawmakers that President Bush passed on to Gonzales and the involvement of Karl Rove “contain more than a whiff of political self-interest,” the Post says. It is looking increasingly as if the answers are to be found at the White House.