Specter Says Gonzales Is Hurting Justice Department

By Zachary A. Goldfarb
Special to The Washington Post
Monday, April 23, 2007

Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales is hurting the Justice Department and the Bush administration by not resigning.

Gonzales testified before the committee last week, addressing questions about whether the Justice Department dismissed federal prosecutors for partisan purposes.

Specter did not call directly for the attorney general to step down, but said Gonzales's testimony "was very, very damaging to his own credibility. It has been damaging to the administration."

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), the Judiciary Committee chairman, upped the stakes on the White House by saying on CBS that it is not enough for Gonzales to resign; he must be replaced by someone more independent.

"If the White House is continued to be allowed to interfere with the criminal justice system throughout this country . . . then it does no good," he told "Face the Nation."

Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) was already looking ahead on Fox, suggesting as possible Gonzales replacements James B. Comey and Larry Thompson, both former deputy attorneys general, and former federal judge Michael Mukasey.

Guns and video games: ABC's "This Week" host, George Stephanopoulos, noted that the father of Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) called for new gun laws the day after 14 were shot dead at the University of Texas in 1966, and the host asked Dodd, a 2008 presidential hopeful, whether he would follow in his father's footsteps. Dodd replied that there is more than guns to talk about: "mental health, what's on our television and video things. And it isn't just about legislation or regulation. It's having a leader in the White House that's willing to talk about these issues."

Brownback's Iraq: Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) likes to suggest he is one of the more reliable conservatives running for president, but when discussing Iraq on CNN's "Late Edition," he sounded a bit like a Democrat. The war-torn country, he said, needs a "political solution." He added, referring to a Democratic senator from Delaware: "What I think you have to do is mix both the military and the political . . . and that's why I've been joining with people like Joe Biden . . . to push a three-state, one-country solution in Iraq."

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