Without public trust, Gonzales should go
The attorney general did little to convince a Senate panel that he is to keep his job.
IF President Bush will not ask his friend and erstwhile personal lawyer to step down, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should do his patron a favor and resign.
Had Gonzales ever had the confidence of the U.S. attorneys and others who work in one of the government's most powerful and important agencies, he no longer does. Had he had the trust of the American people to execute U.S. laws fairly and without prejudice, he has lost that, too.
Appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Gonzales failed to convince even Republicans that the firing of eight federal prosecutors was not done for partisan reasons. Nor was he able to dispel the perception that he either lied about his participation and the participation of high-level White House officials in the purge or that he fecklessly allowed inexperienced aides to drive the initiative.
After weeks of preparation -- reviewing documents and undergoing daily practice sessions -- Gonzales could not construct a logical narrative for the firings.
Confronted with the sworn testimony and materials that directly contradicted his assertions, he repeatedly answered he could not remember, using a variation of the word at least 64 times.
Gonzales said he was unaware of the reasons some of the prosecutors were dismissed and that he did not compile the list of those to be fired. Three of his key aides, two of whom have since resigned, also contend they were not the authors. Until the committee can get straight answers about who did and, more importantly, why, it should pursue its investigation.
U.S. attorneys do, as Bush has said, serve at the pleasure of the president, but their duty is to the public and the laws of the nation.
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