I am open to correction on this, but it sure seems like Gonzales lied. From the Washington Post:
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales met with senior aides on Nov. 27 to review a plan to fire a group of U.S. attorneys, according to documents released last night, a disclosure that contradicts Gonzales’s previous statement that he was not involved in “any discussions” about the dismissals.
Justice Department officials also announced last night that the department’s inspector general and its Office of Professional Responsibility have launched a joint investigation into the firings, including an examination of whether any of the removals were improper and whether any Justice officials misled Congress about them.
The hour-long November meeting in the attorney general’s conference room included Gonzales, Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty and four other senior Justice officials, including the Gonzales aide who coordinated the firings, then-Chief of Staff D. Kyle Sampson, records show.
Documents detailing the previously undisclosed meeting appear to conflict with remarks by Gonzales at a March 13 news conference in which he portrayed himself as a CEO who had delegated to Sampson responsibility for the particulars of firing eight U.S. attorneys.
“I was not involved in seeing any memos, was not involved in any discussions about what was going on,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales spokeswoman defends her boss:
Spokeswoman Tasia Scolinos said last night that there is no “inconsistency” between the Nov. 27 meeting and Gonzales’s remarks. She argued that Gonzales was simply emphasizing at the news conference that he was not involved in the details of Sampson’s plans.
Scolinos also said there is no evidence that meeting participants reviewed a draft memo on the firing plan, written by Sampson, that was dated six days earlier and widely distributed among Justice Department and White House officials.
According to Scolinos and her deputy, Brian Roehrkasse, there is also no evidence that individual U.S. attorneys were discussed at the meeting.
Now, not having seen the documents etc., perhaps its possible that the Post’s description (“to review a plan to fire a group of U.S. attorneys, according to documents released last night”) is overstated. But I kind of doubt it. Regardless, isn’t the upshot of the Gonzales defense that he wasn’t paying attention during the relevant meeting and there’s “no evidence” that he was?
This is such a stupid, unnecessary scandal. Not since some carny deliberately climbed into a cannon and shot himself at a brick wall has there been a better example of self-inflicted stupidity. Doesn’t Gonzales need to spend more time with his family?