Hearing: Gonzales Says Firings Justified

Fighting to save his job, embattled U.S. Attorney Alberto Gonzales today told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he had not fired eight prosecutors for political reasons. “I would not do that, I would never do that,” he said.

In a case-by-case review, Gonzales—in what one committee member termed a “reconfirmation” hearing—was asked why he had fired each of the eight U.S. attorneys. Many of the dismissals, the A.G. said, were for poor judgment or poor management skills. He said he had played only a minor role in the dismissals.

Committee members, however, reacted with skepticism. “As I see it, you come to this hearing with a very heavy burden of proof,” said Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., the ranking Republican on the committee. “This is a matter where we want the facts,” Specter told Gonzales, urging him to say so if some prosecutors were asked to resign for political reasons and consider reinstating them.

For more coverage of the hearing, see the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times (registration required), Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal (subscription required), which was relying on AP coverage.

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