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Media: Not a Lot of New Info in Latest AG Hearing

Posted May 10, 2007 1:28 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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As a daylong U.S. House Judiciary Committee hearing at which Alberto Gonzales was the star witness continued this afternoon, not a lot of new information came out, media reports agreed. However, the U.S. Attorney General was criticized for his lack of leadership in allegedly allowing politicization of the Justice Department.

Democrats on the committee pressed for more answers about claimed Republican political influence in the firings of at least eight U.S. attorneys, but the Gonzales insisted he didn't remember any more details than he did at a earlier U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last month, reports AP.

In particular, some members grilled Gonzales about former U.S. Attorney Todd Graves of Kansas City, Mo., being forced to resign, according to recent news reports, although he was not included on the list in the controversial firings of eight U.S. attorneys. Graves had not been discussed at the previous Senate hearing, and the attorney general said he didn't think Graves was at issue in earlier questioning, AP reported in a separate article. "It's always been my understanding that this focus has been on the eight United States attorneys that were asked to resign" last year, Gonzales said.

Meanwhile, some Republican members said it was time for Congress to move on. "The list of accusations has mushroomed, but the evidence of wrongdoing has not," said Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, the ranking Republican on the committee. "If there are no fish in this lake, we should reel in our lines of questions, dock our empty boat and turn to more pressing issues."

Salt Lake Tribune (Gonzales doesn't remember who decided to dismiss New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias, but it wasn't President George W. Bush or the vice president.)

Washington Post (At least nine U.S. attorneys asked to resign last year, contrary to earlier claims by officials.)

New York Times (Exasperated Democrats criticize AG, in hearing reminiscent of Gonzales' appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month.)

Medill Reports (Some new questions on additional U.S. attorney firings, but "bickering" also characterized hearing.)

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