Defenders of doomed US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales have repeatedly maintained that he did nothing illegal, and, for that reason alone, he is still the best person in all of America to be Attorney General. Slate's Frank Bowman puts the lie to that and explains that, indeed, Gonzales may have committed an impeachable offense.
Congress could and should impeach Alberto Gonzales. One ground for doing so, as I have previously suggested, is the attorney general's amnesiac prevarication in his testimony before the Senate and the House. But if Congress wants more, it need look no further than the firing of David Iglesias, former U.S. attorney in New Mexico. The evidence uncovered in Gonzales' Senate and House testimony demonstrates that he fired Iglesias not because of a policy disagreement or a management failure, but because Iglesias would not misuse the power of the Department of Justice in the service of the Republican Party. To fire a U.S. attorney for refusing to abuse his power is the essence of an impeachable offense.
David Iglesias is a United States Navy Reserve Captain who was the basis for the character played by Tom Cruise in the movie "A Few Good Men". He was appointed in 2001 by Bush to be the United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico after having lost a 1998 run for New Mexico Attorney General as a Republican. His enjoyed stellar ratings as US Attorney until, quite coincidentally I'm sure, eight days after the Nov 2006 elections when his name first appeared on lists of candidates to be fired drawn up by former Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson. Bowman gives us the "reasons" that Gonzales came up with for Iglesias' firing:
Showing that Gonzales knew that the only real reasons for dismissing Iglesias were improper ones is critical to the case for impeaching the attorney general. Remarkably, Gonzales has effectively admitted as much. In his testimony, Gonzales provided three explanations for his decision to fire Iglesias: 1) Iglesias "lost the confidence of Senator Domenici," 2) Karl Rove and President Bush complained, and 3) "the consensus recommendation of the senior leadership."
But the last explanation is a lie...
All of the "senior leadership" to have testified so far--including Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, Acting Associate Attorney General William Mercer, and Sampson--deny proposing Iglesias for removal.
We now know that the only complaints made against Iglesias came from New Mexico Republican Senator Pete Domenici and Karl Rove who had demanded that Iglesias pursue politically useful prosecutions against Democrats before the 2006 election. They were upset that Iglesias staunchly refused to time any indictments or bring cases for the political benefit of the Republicans. Iglesias maintains that after reviewing over 100 complaints he never found enough evidence to warrant a prosecution.
I've heard enough. Impeach Gonzales now.
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