Alberto Gonzales Resigns
It is no coincidence that Alberto Gonzales resigned shortly after Karl Rove. Both were facing immense political pressure from the House and Senate Judiciary committees' investigations into the U.S. Atorney scandal. Both face the choice of staying in office and contradicting the testimony of others or seeking immunity. The choice isn't that difficult.
"Al Gonzales is a man of integrity, decency and principle," said President Bush.
The seal of approval from Bush was Gonzales's kiss of death. It was only a matter of time before the Attorney General was forced out.
“I do have confidence in Attorney General Al Gonzales,” Mr. Bush said of his old friend from Texas.
Bush's seal of approval did little to help Michael Brown, Tom Delay or Dennis Hastert. The President's loyalties and political instincts are so misplaced it's as if he is trying to intentionally screw up.
Fired U.S. Attorney David Iglesias had this advise on the qualifications for the next Attorney General.
"Get an attorney general who's respected by the courts and by Capitol Hill and somebody who has experience as a federal prosecutor.... You need someone who understands that the attorney general has to say no to the president sometimes."
One can only hope.
USA Today has an Alberto Gonzales timeline.
Update: Here are comments from Florida congressional members.
Mel Martinez: "Alberto Gonzales is an honorable man whose life history speaks volumes about what’s best about America. ... Alberto Gonzales has conducted himself always with honesty, dedication and integrity. He is my friend and he is a good man. He and his family have my thanks for their sacrifice for serving during difficult times, and my best wishes for the future."
Bill Nelson: “We have an urgent need to restore credibility at the Justice Department. My hope is President Bush’s new pick will take politics out of enforcing the law.”
Adam Putnam: “The Department of Justice now has the opportunity to benefit from fresh leadership. What the American people need right now is an effective, independent Attorney General who will be undistracted in his or her efforts to enforce our laws, secure our borders, and vigorously prosecute the war against militant Islamist jihadists.
Martinez is a Bush loyalist to the end.
Update: Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Ron Klein offer their opinions on Gonzo's resignation.
"We need an Attorney General who will act as a lawyer for the American people rather than a lawyer for President Bush- that is why he has a White House Counsel," said Wasserman Schultz, a member of the House Judiciary Committee. "Attorney General Gonzales was the antithesis of the blindfolded Lady of Justice; rather than providing a blind, balanced justice, he tipped the scales to the right. The President must now appoint an Attorney General who will serve as the nation's chief law enforcement officer and as defender of our constitution independent of political influence."
"The Attorney General is one of the most critical positions in our government as he or she is tasked with overseeing the enforcement of our laws, and the prosecution of suspected criminals and terrorists. Thus, it's essential that the Attorney General is a person that maintains our sense of justice and keeps Americans safe," Klein said. "Unfortunately, the retention of Alberto Gonzales is another example of President Bush favoring loyalty over competence and integrity. Strong, honest, independent leadership must be restored to the Office of Attorney General or else the American people's faith in our justice system will continue to be comprised. I strongly urge President Bush to appoint a person that meets these high thresholds of character and integrity when searching for a replacement to Mr. Gonzales."
Update: Litbrit has a post on Gonzo. She is surprised by Gonzales's resignation. I'm not. Both Rove and Gonzales know that a grand jury investigation(s) will go beyond Bush's term. The prospects of another Republican president is not guaranteed. They can't rely on a pardon. They need legal council and will likely point blame at Bush and Cheney. The President and Vice-President will hide behind executive privilege and run out the clock.