Just heard the news this morning...
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales announced his resignation today, ending a controversial cabinet tenure that included clashes with Congress over the firing of nine U.S. attorneys and over the use of warrantless wiretaps in the war on terror.
Gonzales will step down on Sept. 17. In a brief statement, he called his 13 years in public service a "remarkable journey," but he gave no explanation about why he chose to resign now after resisting months of pressure to quit.
"I do not find your testimony credible," Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) told him flatly in a July hearing on the surveillance program.
"Under this Attorney General and this President, the Department of Justice suffered a severe crisis of leadership that allowed our justice system to be corrupted by political influence," Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), said as news of Gonzales' resignation circulated. "I hope the Attorney General's decision will be a step toward getting to the truth about the level of political influence this White House wields over the Department of Justice and toward reconstituting its leadership."
(The Washington Post article also brings up the matter of Gonzales' Hispanic ethnicity several times. Honestly it shouldn't be such a big deal.)
Many Bush loyalists didn't even support Gonzales as his plight increased this year due to questions of competence and ethics by Democrats and Republicans alike. For the last few months, it seems as if only, and I mean only, the White House supported the attorney general, if that.
The Democratically-fueled congressional investigations into the practices of the White House — e.g. the politically-motivated firing of US attorneys, illegal anti-terror tactics, etc. — are getting into murkier political waters. Key Bush administration aide Karl Rove, who departed earlier this month, was also under pressure from long overdue probes into this secretive administration.
The trend of major administration figures leaving shows the dire — if not confusing — state the White House is in. When these figures leave, they also seem to be vague as to why they are leaving and who made the decision; additional details remain as secret, as is the standard with this non-transparent government.
We may never know the full details of the many devious plots both Rove and Gonzales have been charged with spearheading, but there is one question we can expect an answer to, albeit not immediately: Who is going to replace Gonzales? Since the White House is so politically weak, even with its own party (remember also presidential appointee confirmation voting has also been along party lines and the Democrats have a rough majority in Congress), it might be a struggle to get another poor, un-judicial, un-independent AG confirmed, at least not at the yes-man level Bush will want them at.
technorati tags: gonzales, alberto+gonzales, bush