click here for on-line video of Senator Schumer grilling Attorney General Gonzales:
Transcript of Gonzales’s testimony to Senate Committee today:
Senator Schumer, in Committee: I’ll get it to you.
As everyone here knows, Senator Pryor is one of the most temperate members of the Senate. He’s mild-mannered, and his words are all the more striking for that reason. He said, quote, The attorney general not only lied to me as a person but, when he lied to me, he lied to the Senate and he lied to the people I represent.
I spoke to Senator Pryor yesterday. He stands by those words.
Now, Kyle Sampson wrote that — wrote to Harriet Miers last September — that’s what he wrote — he wrote that they wanted to do this plan of getting around the Senate and appointing interim U.S. attorneys.
And he also told Congress that the White House never rejected the idea of evading the Senate confirmation in the Eastern District of Arkansas.
According to Kyle Sampson, you became aware of this idea or plan in early December of 2006. He told you about it; you did not reject it.
Then on December 19th, Kyle Sampson is promoting this astonishingly perverse plan. He’s going forward with it.
And this poster which we have here — and I’ll get you a copy of what it says — shows it. Sampson’s advice to the White House is, quote, We — we, meaning the department — should gum this to death, to run out the clock.
He lays out a specific plan for running out the clock: The Department of Justice should ask Arkansas senators to meet Tim Griffin, give him a chance; after that, the administration to pledge to desire a Senate-confirmed U.S. attorney and so forth.
The plan was to use these tactics of delay so Griffin could stay in, without Senate confirmation, until the end of the president’s term.
But now, four days before Kyle Sampson sends that plan, you personally talked with Senator Pryor. Kyle Sampson testifies that he was in the room — you talked to him twice, he was in the room on one of those occasions — about Tim Griffin.
Kyle Sampson says you talked with Senator Pryor two times. He was in the room. And you said to Senator Pryor that you wanted to go through a Senate confirmation. This is in December.
SCHUMER: Well, what would you think if you’re in Senator Pryor’s shoes? There’s a plan to circumvent U.S. attorneys early in December. You go along with that.
GONZALES: I didn’t go along with it.
SCHUMER: On December 19th, a memo was sent to implement it. Yet, on December 15th, you’re on the phone with Senator Pryor saying oh, no, no, you’re going to get confirmation.
So, which is it? Again, did Kyle Sampson put out this memo completely on his own?
SCHUMER: And if he did — I mean, you can’t have it both ways. If your chief of staff is implementing a major plan that contradicts what you just told the U.S. senator from that state, in my view, you shouldn’t be attorney general.