Holtzman: Axing AG Would Put Bush on Hot Seat

In all the arguing over whether U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should be asked to resign, several important facts seem to have been forgotten, a former member of Congress says.

If Gonzales goes, his replacement would have to be confirmed by the Senate, and the last thing the White House wants is a confirmation hearing right now and the additional scrutiny it would bring to bear on the administration of President George W. Bush, says Elizabeth Holtzman, a former Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York. Plus, should the ongoing Congressional investigation of the White House on several fronts get that far, the new attorney general would be in a position to name a special prosecutor, she writes in a Los Angeles Times op ed piece.

“Rather than face such scrutiny, the White House may prefer keeping a drastically weakened Gonzales in place,” she writes. “But doing so exacts a high price for the Justice Department and the nation. It damages department morale and credibility, undermines its ability to recruit and could affect perceptions of federal prosecutors, jeopardizing important cases. By retaining Gonzales to preempt Senate action, the president has signaled that this is a price he is willing to make the nation pay.”

Holtzman is openly no friend to President Bush, and has previously called for his resignation in the Nation.

For those seeking a very readable roundup of the overall issues in the Gonzales controversy, New York trial lawyer James D. Zinn provides a roadmap in an opinion article in today’s London Times.

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