The panel’s chairman, Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, and its ranking Republican, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, assailed Mr. Gonzales on a host of issues involving the Justice Department, including the firings of nine prosecutors last year and the White House’s assertion of executive privilege to keep key aides from testifying about those events.
Perhaps, Mr. Specter suggested, it was time for the appointment of a special prosecutor to look into the firings of the prosecutors. “There is evidence of low morale, very low morale, lack of credibility,” Mr. Specter said, scoffing at Mr. Gonzales’s promise to repair his agency. “Candidly, your personal credibility.”
“What is this White House so desperate to hide?” Mr. Leahy asked early on, alluding to the administration’s invocation of executive privilege. “This White House claims to be above the law.”...
Mr. Specter signaled that he did not accept Mr. Gonzales’s explanation about the hospital incident. “What credibility is left for you?” the senator asked at one point.
Mr. Specter has accused Mr. Gonzales before of dodging questions, and he did so again today. At one point, the senator said, “I see it’s hopeless.” At another point, he said acidly, “Let’s see if somewhere, somehow we can find a question that you’ll answer.”
Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, also expressed exasperation. “I listen to you,” she said. “Nothing gets answered directly. Everything gets obfuscated.”
Yet for all the hostility vented at Mr. Gonzales, there was no sign that today’s hearing would change anything. ...
And Mr. Gonzales, besides promising that he “will not tolerate any improper politicization of this department,” said he would not leave under a cloud.
Actually, it's the politicization that he considers proper that worries me. That, and the Class Five hurricane swirling around his head.