Goodling Testifies Before The House Judiciary Committee
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
REP. JOHN CONYERS JR., D-MICH.CHAIRMAN:Good morning, Madam Witness, and to the members of the committee.
Today, the House Judiciary Committee continues its investigation into the controversy surrounding the United States attorneys and related matters.
Our sole witness today is Ms. Monica Goodling, who served as senior counsel to the attorney general and White House liaison until she resigned on April 7th, 2007.
As the members know, two months ago Ms. Goodling informed us that she would assert her Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself if she was called to testify.
As a result of that assertion, this committee, after careful consideration, authorized, by a vote of 32-6, a grant of immunity to Ms. Goodling, which we have secured from the chief judge of the United States District Court for the District -- the D.C. District.
The committee also authorized a subpoena to compel her testimony, as well as the production of documents.
Now, these are steps that I did not take likely, but only after consultation with the ranking member, Lamar Smith, and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle with the Justice Department.
I believe that this is an important and necessary step to help us get to the bottom of the U.S. attorney matter and other concerns regarding possible improperly politicalization of the Justice Department.
As the White House liaison and one of the attorney general's most trusted advisers, Ms. Goodling may well have information that will help us in our inquiry.
Let me observe that the fact that we are granting limited immunity to Ms. Goodling for her testimony should not be taken as any indication that the committee believes that she is guilty of a crime. Nor does the fact that she is testifying today mean that she necessarily has a greater role than some of the other individuals involved in the firing whom we have already interviewed or who have testified.
CONYERS:She is before us today in a public hearing simply because we have no other means of obtaining her testimony in a timely manner.
We appreciate your cooperation.
I would hope that the fact of her testimony would encourage others to come forward and cooperate with our inquiry.And that includes personnel in the White House itself, whose role in these firings appear to grow more central every day, every time another Department of Justice official denies recommending putting any particular prosecutor on the firing list.
The issues we are examining -- which include possible obstruction of justice, misleading the Congress, violations of the Hatch Act -- are obviously serious.If we cannot trust the Department of Justice to fairly and impartially enforce our nation's laws, if we cannot trust the testimony of our most senior officials in the administration, if it appears that the U.S. attorneys are merely pawns in a game of politics, then we will have suffered the loss of one of our nation's most fundamental principles, the rule of law.
And I would now recognize our ranking minority member -- whom I commend for the cooperation that has existed between all of us on this committee -- the distinguished gentleman from Texas, Lamar Smith, the ranking minority member.
REP. LAMAR SMITH, R-TEXAS RANKING MEMBER:Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Goodling, welcome.You are apparently the last witness we're going to hear from who's worked within the Department of Justice.
And let me say at the outset, I know this is not an easy process for you to go through, and I know you've never had to endure anything like this hearing before, which I think makes us all particularly appreciate of your being here.And thank you for being here.
Mr. Chairman, we, our staff, the public and the media have pored over reams of documents, heard from nearly 20 witnesses, issued a plethora of subpoenas and taken the extraordinary step of immunizing your testimony.
The Senate has received and examined evidence as well.
For some time, many have been on the edges of their seats, waiting for the moment in which you, Ms. Goodling, as the department's former White House liaison, might link the U.S. attorney dismissals to any appropriate action by Karl Rove or Harriet Miers.
I understand that the majority staff already has learned that you never had any contact with Mr. Rove or Ms. Miers.I do not share their disappointment.
When this investigation began, the department defended its actions on the ground that the dismissed U.S. attorneys served at the pleasure of the president.
When pressed, the department volunteered that the dismissals were mainly performance-related.
When examined, the evidence of performance problems was in some cases well-documented, and in other cases not.
SMITH:The questions about the differing degrees of proof as to whether this or that U.S. attorney really was dismissed for performance reasons have helped fuel the speculation.
With regard to the dismissals, the right interpretation may just be that the dismissals were in fact for performance reasons or, in one case, to offer an opportunity to another qualified candidate.
Finally, with regard to this investigation itself, we and our investigators see ever more clearly that the accusations of wrongdoing in these eight U.S. attorney dismissals don't seem to have legs.
But we won't stop.Instead, some try to graft on new legs, whether with regard to other U.S. attorneys, or with hearings in which we hear about the attorney general's activities as White House counsel or with new allegations against you, Ms. Goodling.
We want to hear from you today so that we can find out the truth, clear the air or take other appropriate steps.
We have not reached any final conclusion.And we should not until we know all of the relevant facts.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.I'll yield back.
CONYERS:I thank the gentleman.
And without objection, all other members' opening statements will be included in the record.
We'll now hear from Ms. Monica Goodling.
Ms. Goodling served in a variety of capacities in the Department of Justice, beginning in the Office of Public Affairs, then for a short period in the U.S. attorney's office in the Eastern District of Virginia, then in the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys and most recently in the Office of the Attorney General, where she was senior counsel to the attorney general and White House liaison.
She received her law degree from Regent University School of Law in 1999.
CONYERS:Ms. Goodling is accompanied by counsel.And we would please ask that he introduce himself for the record.
CONYERS:Good morning, Mr. Dowd.
DOWD:Mr. John Dowd and Jeff King and Jim Sherry, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer Feld, on behalf of Ms. Goodling.
CONYERS:Thank you very much.We'll welcome-- we welcome you and are happy that you are here.
And under our House rules, Ms. Goodling is entitled to have counsel present for the purpose of advising her as to her constitutional rights.
And we thank you very much, sir.
I want to make sure you understand that your authorized role is to advise Ms. Goodling, and more specifically to advise her as to her constitutional rights.And with that understanding, we have furnished you with your own copy, counsel, of the notebook that we have given Ms. Goodling containing a number of documents that she may be questioned about today, to facilitate you and her memory and cooperation.
Have you received those documents?
And have you received them, Ms. Goodling?
GOODLING:Yes, thank you.
CONYERS:The documents are tabbed to make it easier to locate them if and when there is any necessity to use them.
We have also provided copies of the notebook to our friends up here for the same purpose.
REP. DAN LUNGREN, R-CALIF. :Mr. Chairman, point of personal privilege.
CONYERS:What is it?
LUNGREN:You just referred to some documents.We don't have them at our place here.
CONYERS:We gave a number of them...
LUNGREN:Are those the ones that were just given to us beforehand that...
CONYERS:Yes, sir.They're being copied now, Mr. Lungren.
One housekeeping matter before we proceed.
Ms. Goodling, our subpoena requires that you furnish us documents in your possession, custody or control relating to matters we're investigating.And although we have mentioned this to your counsel, we believe the committee is entitled to receive the documents without delay.
We understand from counsel that you wish to confer with your former employer, the Department of Justice, before they're released to us.And we will work with you to give you a reasonable time to take care of that, reserving the right to take further action if necessary.
Oh, you do have them?Thank you.Thank you very much, Counsel Dowd.
Ms. Goodling, given -- yes, sir?
DOWD (?):We're already corresponded and communicated about the balance of them with both you and the Department of Justice.
DOWD (?):Thank you, sir.
CONYERS:I thank you, sir.
Ms. Goodling, given the gravity of the issue we're discussing today and your role in the hearing, and to help ensure that there's no misunderstanding about your obligation here, we would ask that you be sworn in before we proceed.
Would you kindly raise your right hand?If you would please stand and raise your right.
Do you solemnly swear or affirm under penalty of perjury that the testimony you are about to provide the committee will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Ms. Goodling, let us begin.
I will ask you, who made the recommendations to place the list -- place on the list of the United States attorneys to be fired each of the nine U.S. attorneys who were in fact terminated in 2006?
GOODLING:Upon the advice of my counsel, I respectfully decline to answer the question, based upon my Fifth Amendment right not to be a witness against myself, and my Sixth Amendment right to rely on my counsel's advice.
CONYERS:Ms. Goodling, I am hereby communicating to you an order signed by Chief Judge Hogan of the United States District Court for the D.C. District.
The clerk is bringing to you now a certified copy of the order to you.And we've made a copy for your counsel.And without objection, the order will be placed in the record.
The order provides, in substance, that you may not refuse, on the basis of your Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, to provide testimony or other information to this committee under compulsion.
The order also provides that testimony or other information obtained from you under compulsion pursuant to the order may not be used against you in any criminal proceeding, nor may information derived from what you provide us under compulsion be used against you as long as the testimony and other information you provide us is truthful.
As I am sure your counsel has no doubt advised you, you are obligated to answer each question completely and truthfully.And failure to do so could subject you to prosecution for perjury or for giving false statements to Congress.
So I want to be careful about how you answer each question.
CONYERS:And if you occasionally need to confer with your counsel, Mr. Dowd, before answering a question, we will be happy to accommodate you in that regard.And if a member has that happen, the clock will be suspended so that our time won't be running while she might be conferring with her counsel.
With that said, Ms. Goodling, pursuant to the order you now have in front of you, I direct you to answer the questions that will be put to you regarding our investigation as I have just described it.
This, Ms. Goodling, completes the procedure for conferring use immunity on you pursuant to the order.
Now, before we begin questioning, Ms. Goodling, I appreciate that you have a statement in writing that you would like to make.And we welcome it at this time.And we will include your statement in the record, and invite you to begin whenever you would like.
I ask the clerk to distribute copies of Ms. Goodling's written statement to every member of the Judiciary Committee.
You may proceed whenever you'd like.
GOODLING:Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Good morning, Chairman Conyers...
CONYERS:Pull the mike up just a little closer to you, please.
Nice loud voice.
GOODLING:Good morning, Chairman Conyers, Ranking Member Smith and members of the committee.Thank you for allowing me to make this statement.
With the committee's permission, I would like to submit lengthier written remarks to be entered into the record.
CONYERS:Without objection, so ordered.
GOODLING:My written remarks will address four topics that I expect will be of interest to the committee.
GOODLING:First, I wish to set the record straight regarding what I understood to be the deputy attorney general's allegation to Senator Schumer that I withheld information from him prior to his public and private testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The allegation is false.I did not withhold information from the deputy.
To the contrary, I worked diligently to compile and provide the deputy with dozens of pages of statistics and other information that I thought he was likely to need, based on the questions that were being asked at that time.
Despite my and others' best effort, the deputy's public testimony was incomplete or inaccurate in a number of respects.
As explained in more detail in my written remarks, I believe the deputy was not fully candid about his knowledge of White House involvement in the replacement decision, failed to disclose that he had some knowledge of the White House's interest in selecting Tim Griffin as the interim U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Arkansas, inaccurately described the department's internal assessment of the Parsky commission, and failed to disclose that he had some knowledge of allegations that Tim Griffin had been involved in vote- cadging during his work on the president's 2004 campaign.
After the deputy's public testimony, I continued to work to assemble information that the deputy had promised to provide in a future, private session.
On February 14th, 2007, the deputy attended a private briefing with the Senate Judiciary Committee.That afternoon I rode with him to the Senate building, intending to observe the session and support the deputy by providing any information that I had.
GOODLING:However, a few minutes before the private Senate briefing was to take place, the deputy made clear to me that he did not think I should attend.The deputy suggested that if someone recognized me as the White House liaison, the members would be more likely to ask questions about the White House.
As a result of that conversation, I waited outside the room while the deputy briefed the Senate committee.
During a break, Richard Hurtling told me the briefing was not going well, and recommended that I return to the department immediately.Like the deputy, Mr. Hurtling suggested it could complicate matters if I was recognized as the White House liaison.As a result, I returned to the department in a taxi.
In light of these events, I was surprised to learn that the deputy had blamed me for his incomplete or inaccurate information.
Second, I wish to clarify my role as White House liaison.
Despite that title, I did not hold the keys to the kingdom, as some have suggested.I was not the primary White House contact for purposes of the development or approval of the U.S. attorney replacement plan.
I have never attended a meeting of the White House Judicial Selection Committee.The attorney general and Kyle Sampson attended those meetings.
To the best of my recollection, I've never had a conversation with Karl Rove or Harriet Miers while I served at the Department of Justice.And I'm certain that I never spoke to either of them about the hiring or firing of any U.S. attorney.
Although I did have discussions with certain members of their staffs regarding specific aspects of the replacement plan, I never recommended to them that a specific U.S. attorney be added to or removed from Mr. Sampson's list.And I do not recall that they ever communicated any such recommendation to me.
Third, I wish to address my role in selecting U.S. attorneys for replacement.
I first learned that others more senior to me were discussing the possibility of replacing some U.S. attorneys at some point in mid- 2005.And I believe I first saw a list of candidates for replacement in January 2006, when Mr. Sampson showed me a draft memorandum he was preparing for Harriet Miers.
GOODLING:At that time, I recommended that two of the U.S. attorneys Mr. Sampson had listed be retained in office and that certain other U.S. attorneys be considered for replacement.
Paul Charlton and Daniel Bodgen were two of the U.S. attorneys that I recommended considering for replacement.However, it appears from the documents produced to Congress by the department that Mr. Sampson did not initially accept that recommendation.Mr. Bogden and Mr. Charlton did not appear on iterations of the list sent to the White House in January, April or May, and first appeared on the list in September 2006, presumably for reasons unrelated to my initial recommendation.
Although I'm prepared to tell the committee what I know about the eight replaced U.S. attorneys, the truth is that I do not know why Kevin Ryan, John McKay, Carol Lam, Paul Charlton, Daniel Bogden, David Iglesias and Margaret Chiara were asked to resign in December of 2006.
I can describe what I and others discussed as the reasons for their removal, but I just can't guarantee that these reasons are the same as those contemplated by the final decision-makers who requested these resignations.
However, I'm not aware of anybody within the department ever suggesting the replacement of these U.S. attorneys to interfere with a particular case or in retaliation for prosecuting or refusing to prosecute any particular case for political advantage.
Fourth, I wish to clarify my role in career hiring at the department.
During my five years at the department, I believe that I interviewed hundreds of job applicants, and the vast majority of these were applicants for political appointee positions.But some were applicants for certain categories of career positions.
Specifically, I interviewed candidates who were to be detailed into confidential policy-making positions and attorney general appointments, such as immigration judges and members of the Board of Immigration Appeal.I also interviewed requests for waivers of hiring freezes imposed on districts with an outgoing U.S. attorney or interim or acting U.S. attorney.
In every case I tried to act in good faith and for the purpose of ensuring that the department was staffed by well-qualified individuals who were supportive of the attorney general's views, priorities and goals.
GOODLING:Nevertheless, I do acknowledge that I may have gone too far in asking political questions of applicants for career positions, and I may have taken inappropriate political considerations into account on some occasions.And I regret those mistakes.
In conclusion, I'd like to give the committee a little better sense of who I am, because the person that I read about on the Internet and in the newspaper is not me.
At heart, I'm a fairly quiet person.I try to do the right thing, and I try to treat people kindly along the way.I always knew that I wanted to grow up and do something to serve or help other people.I went to public schools growing up, but I chose Christian universities in part because of the value that they place on service.
I've seen in my life what violent crime can do to its victims. And I knew that at some point I wanted to do my part to seek justice on their behalf.And that's why I've loved the Department of Justice, particularly my time as a prosecutor.
For the five years that I spent there, I worked as hard as I could at whatever task that was put before me.And I hope that's the reason that I was promoted five times during my time at the department.
I considered the people that I worked with to be my family.And I care about them deeply.
I have no desire to say anything negative about anyone that I worked with, including the leadership team or the U.S. attorneys who are the subject of my testimony.But I'm here to be a fact witness to what I heard, saw, did or know, and I'll do that to the best of my recollection.
Thank you for allowing me the time to make this statement.I'm prepared to answer your questions.
CONYERS:And I thank you for your statement.
Let me begin the questioning.And I want to just go back to the beginning here.
Could you tell the committee who made the recommendations to place on the list of U.S. attorneys to be fired each of the nine U.S. attorneys who were in fact terminated last year?
GOODLING:Mr. Conyers, let me just say that, in relation to Todd Graves, who I believe you're considering as the ninth, my recollection on that is slightly -- I have slightly conflicting testimony -- or memories.So I'd prefer to leave him out of most of what I talk about today, if I could, just...
CONYERS:You're going to be talking about the eight?
I'm happy to tell you what I remember about Mr. Graves, but in my mind, I have slightly conflicting memories of what happened there. So, for purposes of the testimony, I'd prefer to reference the eight.
In terms of those eight, I know that Mr. Sampson compiled the list.And I know that he told me that, at different times, he talked to different people about it.He never told me exactly who recommended which name and at what time they did that.And that's...
CONYERS:So, from your point of view, your answer to the question would be Kyle Sampson.
GOODLING:I mean, Mr. Sampson compiled the list.I know that he did speak to the deputy attorney general about it.And I know that he presented it to the attorney general.
CONYERS:And the attorney general being Mr. Alberto Gonzales?
CONYERS:Now, let's just take one example, the one that is so paramount here, David Iglesias, who was not put on the list to be fired until November 2006, according to our records.
CONYERS:Who put his name on the list, ma'am?
GOODLING:I don't know.
CONYERS:Well, who would you recommend a committee, just seeking the facts in the matter -- who would you recommend to answer that question?
GOODLING:I think Mr. Sampson's the only person who can tell you at what point he put that name on the list.
I can tell you that before I left the department, because there were questions about Mr. Iglesias, we had a staff meeting.And I believe the attorney general, the deputy attorney general were in the room, as well as a number of those of us that had been involved in this process.
CONYERS:The deputy attorney general and the attorney general.
GOODLING:It was toward the end of my time.
And I said -- I asked the question at that point -- I still don't know how Mr. Iglesias got on the list.And someone in the room just said, That's been addressed.And that was all they said.
So I didn't get from that answer any answer that I could provide to the committee.
CONYERS:Do you know who it was that gave that answer?
GOODLING:I don't remember.
CONYERS:Now, what did Mr. Kyle Sampson tell you about the origins of the process and how he came up with the names that were on the list?And I know you had a number of discussions with him, but just pulling them all together, as you can best recall.
GOODLING:To the best of my recollection, the first time he mentioned it to me was in January, when he stopped by my office with a draft copy of the memorandum and asked me to take a look at that.I don't believe he gave me any context at that time.
I had heard that he was engaged in an effort in mid-2005, because I was working in the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, and I know that he had spoken with both Mary Beth Buchanan and Mike Battle at various points.
GOODLING:And they had mentioned it to me.
So I knew that he had been engaged in some effort to evaluate U.S. attorneys before I spoke to him in January about it.But that's the first time I recall.
And I don't remember him telling me -- giving me any background at that point other than just handing me the memo and asking me to take a look at it.
Later in the year, he sent me a memo in September -- an e-mail in September.And, again, because he sent me the e-mail I don't remember that he gave me any context, of course, other than what was in the e- mail.
CONYERS:That was last year, in 206 -- 2006.
GOODLING:Yes, I'm sorry.September of 2006.
When we had the November 27th meeting, I feel like he did discuss a little bit of the context of this as something that he'd been working on for awhile.But, you know, I don't recall that we had any specific conversation where he sat down and laid out to me the origins of the entire thing.
There was some point that I remember him mentioning to me that he had consulted with different people throughout time.
But, you know, he was my boss.And he didn't necessarily explain everything that he was doing or why to me.He just sometimes asked for my help and I tried to provide it.
CONYERS:He didn't have to explain everything he was doing and why, did he?Because he was your boss.
GOODLING:Because he was my boss.
I mean, I'm sure that there were other conversations.But if your question is asking, you know, did he ever sit down and lay out for me exactly what this was all about, I don't recall that there was ever any point that he did that.
GOODLING:It was just, kind of, from time to time he would -- he would show me something and ask for my thoughts.Then, you know, I would gather some context from it.
That's the best I can do.
CONYERS:Thank you very much.
My time's expired.
Ranking Member Lamar Smith?
SMITH:Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Goodling, thank you for your comment about how important you consider public service to be and that being the motivation for much of what you have done.
And I certainly can appreciate your heartfelt comment about not recognizing a lot of what has been written about you.I think you will do a lot to counter that in your testimony today.
Also want to thank you for your candor.You said that you would, in fact, do some things differently, and we appreciate hearing that as well.
I just want to emphasize a couple of points in your testimony and then ask you a couple additional questions as well.
Once again, did you ever have any contact with, say, Harriet Miers about the replacement of any of these U.S. attorneys?
SMITH:Did you ever have any contact with Karl Rove about the replacement of any of these U.S. attorneys?
GOODLING:No conversation with him before the decision was made.
There was one meeting at the White House after the decision had been implemented and he attended a meeting that I was also at.But that was the only time I've been in a room with him when this topic was discussed.
SMITH:And did you talk to anybody at the White House about the need to replace U.S. attorneys?
GOODLING:About the need to replace U.S. attorneys?
I don't believe I recall any conversations.But to be complete I should inform the committee that there was, I believe, in 2005, I had a social call at some point with Tim Griffin, who indicated to me -- and he was working at the White House at the time -- that he may have the opportunity to go back to Arkansas because some U.S. attorneys may be replaced and if Mr. Cummins was one of them he might get a chance to go home.
GOODLING:And, of course, I did exchange e-mails with Scott Jennings about meeting with some lawyers from New Mexico.But I don't remember that Scott Jennings even told me what the subject of that meeting was supposed to be.
Now, you testified a few minutes ago about your role.How would you describe your role in the decision to replace U.S. attorneys? Would you describe it as direct or indirect, or significant or minor? How would you describe your role?
GOODLING:You know, I'm not sure that I'm comfortable characterizing it.I'll let others make that assessment.
I mean, certainly I saw a draft memo in January.I had forgotten it, frankly, for a long time, but I did.And I saw an e-mail in September.And I was involved in the November 27th meeting.
The way I probably would characterize my role, without giving it a qualifier, is to say that I was responsible more for what happened after the plan was implemented than maybe what -- the plan itself.My role was really to help ensure that once we had a vacancy, that we were carrying out the process of interviewing candidates and doing the paperwork that's necessary to make sure that we have a nomination eventually.
Thank you for that answer.
Couple more questions.
When you were helping prepare individuals to testify, did you ever intentionally withhold information from or mislead those you were helping to prepare to testify?
SMITH:And a last question for you.
To the best of your knowledge, do you know if the department or the White House requested the resignation of any of the eight U.S. attorneys to retaliate for, interfere with or gain a partisan advantage in any case or investigation, whether about public corruption or any other type of offense?
GOODLING:I have no knowledge along that line.
SMITH:Thank you, Ms. Goodling for your testimony today.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.I will yield back.
Congresswoman, Subcommittee Chair Linda Sanchez is recognized.
REP. LINDA T. SANCHEZ, D-CALIF.:I thank the chairman.
Ms. Goodling, in your written testimony, you stated that you had some concerns about Deputy McNulty's testimony before Congress.In what way were Deputy McNulty's statements to Congress misleading?
GOODLING:I think in some ways, he simply didn't communicate all that he knew.
And I'm certainly not saying that he did it deliberately. Testifying is, as I'm finding out right now, a difficult thing.And I'm sure that there will be things that I don't remember.And I'm going to try to be complete, but there may be things that I leave out as well.So I'm not saying that it was deliberate.
But what I'm saying is when I looked back on the testimony, I believed that there were a number of things that I did brief him on and that that information wasn't fully -- wasn't fully revealed.
GOODLING:I'm just trying to address the fact that I felt like he accused me of withholding information, and I felt like I had provided some information that didn't get communicated.
Can you be a little more specific?What things did you specifically brief him on that he -- you felt he was not entirely forthcoming before Congress when he testified?
GOODLING:He was asked whether the White House was involved in any way, and he said, Well, these are presidential appointments, so I'm sure White House personnel was informed at some point.
SANCHEZ:And why would that not be a complete answer?
GOODLING:I think because of the way -- the way it came across, I think people believed he was downplaying the role to a certain extent.
GOODLING:And the White House had been involved for several -- he was aware that the department had worked for at least several months with the White House, and that many offices in the White House had signed off, and that they were in fact, you know, participating and making phone calls and different sorts of things, with members.
SANCHEZ:So would it be fair to say that you believe that Deputy McNulty knew about the White House's role in the firing of the U.S. attorneys but wasn't -- sort of, diminished that before Congress and wasn't completely forthcoming with how active a role the White House played or was involved in?
GOODLING:I mean, they were involved in the sign-off.There were many offices that did sign off on the plan before it was implemented.And I'm just talking about the sign-off and then the actual notification phone calls and that sort of thing.
I just felt that the statement didn't fully express the fact that the White House was involved in the sign-off of the plan at the end, at least that's the part that I knew about, and that he at least knew that that was a process that had been going on for some period of months.
There were other things...
GOODLING:There were other things.
GOODLING:His knowledge of how Tim Griffin came to be recommended for the appointment in the Eastern District of Arkansas.
I met with the deputy attorney general almost every week to talk about specific U.S. attorney vacancies because he was so interested in the topic.
As far as I know, that may be the first time that someone who was involved in the process provided weekly briefings.But he was very interested.
And so, every week, I would meet with him and we would go down a list of where we had vacancies and, you know, if there was any new news there, whether we'd received names from senators, whether we'd set up interviews, how the interviews had gone...
SANCHEZ:... believe that his knowledge of how Griffin became recommended for that position wasn't fully forthcoming?
GOODLING:I know that I would have told him over the six months that that process was going on that he had worked at the White House and that the White House did want to provide him with an opportunity. I'm not sure that I would have told him who in the White House because I'm not sure that I ever knew who in the White House wanted it.
But certainly I believe that there was some information about Tim Griffin's appointment that I would have communicated in those weekly meetings.
Aside from those two examples, are there any others?
GOODLING:He testified that the Parsky Commission worked very well.That's a commission that refers to the California selection process.
And one of the things that I had been briefing him on was the fact that we had a vacancy in the Central District of California, and in the fall we did take steps to interview some candidates outside that weren't recommended by the commission.
And the reason that we did that was because Mr. Sampson told me that he and the attorney general believed that in some cases the Parsky Commission was rather slow and that they sometimes didn't include all the candidates that they had an interest in considering. And so we actually had interviewed candidates outside that process.
SANCHEZ:And so you believe that his testimony that it worked very well was not exactly accurate because you had -- there had been a way to go around that because you felt it wasn't working?
GOODLING:Now, in January he was accurate in saying that we were committed to working with it.
By the time January had come along, we -- the decision had been made, I believe at the White House, that we would continue to use the Parsky Commission, and we were using it in relation to the two new vacancies that were created there.
GOODLING:And the last thing was the voter -- the cadging issue, which was a reference to Tim Griffin.
SANCHEZ:Can you explain what cadging is?I'm not familiar with that term.
GOODLING:You know, my understanding -- and I don't actually know a lot about it -- is that it's a direct-mail term that people who do direct mail, when they separate addresses that may be good versus addresses that may be bad.That's about the best information that I have, is that it's a direct-mail term that's used by vendors in that circumstance.
But in any case, I knew that that was an issue that might arise. Because there had been stories about it...
SANCHEZ:That Tim Griffin was involved in that to some degree, or may have been involved.
And I don't -- I believe that Mr. Griffin doesn't believe that he did anything wrong there, and that there actually is a very good reason for it, for -- or, a very good explanation.
SANCHEZ:But Mr. Sampson was -- or, pardon me, Mr. McNulty was aware of that, and...
GOODLING:He was aware that that was an issue.I told him the day before that it was -- that there was a good chance that it could come up.And I did provide him with information the night before to make sure that he had some information to review so that he could help to answer those questions.
CONYERS:Gentlelady's time has expired.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
CONYERS:The chair recognizes Chris Cannon, the ranking member on the Subcommittee for Commercial and Administrative Law.
The gentleman from Utah is recognized.
REP. CHRIS CANNON, R-UTAH:Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Goodling, I would like to thank you for having -- actually I'm over here, Ms. Goodling.
GOODLING:Oh, I'm sorry.
CANNON:Down the line here, next to my good friend Mr. Lungren.
I want to thank you for being here today, and for your equanimity in difficult times.
I'd like to read a couple of things into the record here.
One is a statement I think -- this is Mr. Moschella, who was asked about Mr. Sampson and you and Mr. McNulty.
He responded, I found these people to be hard-working, smart, capable, trustworthy, exercise good judgment.So that's my general feeling about them.I mean, it was not unusual to find Monica Goodling BlackBerrying people at 2 in the morning and just working hard and being diligent on a number of matters.
CANNON:This is Moschella -- Mr. Moschella, again:I specifically asked Monica if she had put this together, because I didn't think the chart was very user-friendly.
And why did you choose Ms. Goodling to make this document? was the question.
Well, she was, you know, actively involved in my preparation. We didn't have a lot of stuff.As you see, this was sent to me at 9:56 the night before.And she was willing to put it together.
So, obviously, very hardworking.
And this, I believe is -- so I think that you have a good reputation in the department.I think that Mr. -- I'd earlier read into the record statements by Mr. Margolis about what a thoughtful and capable person you are.And you've certainly shown that thus far in your testimony.
So thank you for being so forthcoming.
And I apologize for the inconvenience.I know that we've had many discussions with your lawyer and also with you about the nature of your testimony.That has been very direct.I don't see that it is going to advance the debate very much.
Mr. Conyers initiated the discussion today by talking about getting to the bottom of the U.S. attorney matter and the politicization of the Department of Justice.And I think that that has probably not gotten us -- what we've done here over the many, many, many hours of committee work, staff work, and dozens of interrogations of people, I'm not sure we've advanced those two issues because I don't think that we've had a problem with it.
CANNON:At least, we haven't been able to -- the committee has not been able to show that there has been a problem there.
But on the other hand, we're not doing this in a vacuum.And I would like to read from the L.A. Times about another problem that we have facing Congress that we're not actually dealing with here, which, I think, is relevant in balancing out the vituperation that has tended to go on.
So this is May 23, 2007:Murtha's Misstep.
The Pennsylvania Democrat tarnishes the party's image and nearly receives a reprimand, playing earmark politics.With Democrats like Rep. John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn't need Republicans.
After Pelosi promised the Democrats would preside over the most honest, the most open and the most ethical Congress, Murtha, whom Pelosi unsuccessfully pushed for majority leader, described a Democratic lobbying reform proposal as 'total crap' -- his words.
He graciously added, however, that he would support the legislation because 'that's what Nancy wants.'
Murtha's latest gift to Pelosi is the confrontation in which he allegedly told Rep. Mike Rogers, Republican of Michigan, who had opposed one of Murtha's pet projects, that 'I hope you don't have any earmarks in the defense' -- I can't quite say it the way, apparently, Mr. Murtha said it, but with a with a great deal more intensity than I'm putting in my voice, he said, 'I hope you don't have any earmarks in the defense appropriations bill because they are gone and you're not going to get any earmarks, now and forever.'
CANNON:Rogers, a former FBI agent, asserted that Murtha had turned the House floor into an episode of 'The Sopranos,' and he filed a resolution accusing his colleague of violating House rules.On Tuesday, the resolution was tabled -- meaning it's not going to proceed -- on a largely party-line vote.
Actually, it was a party-line vote with the members of the Ethics Committee voting present, as is our custom here.
So, on a largely party-line vote, but not before Democrats were put excruciatingly on the defensive on what Pelosi made -- has made a signature issue.
(UNKNOWN):Mr. Chairman, parliamentary inquiry?
CANNON:I'm about done with this article, Mr. Chairman.
Excruciatingly on the defensive on what Pelosi had made her signature issue, that is ethical reform.Expect Republicans to continue making 'Sopranos' jokes.
Actually, Tony Soprano's less likely a model for Murtha than Lyndon Johnson, who was a tough guy and who played by rules that we've tried to change.
Going on, It doesn't help the Democrats' image that this dispute over Murtha's comments originated in an earmark, a special-interest provision...
CONYERS:The time of the gentleman has expired.
CANNON:Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And I yield back the balance of my time.
CONYERS:There wasn't any balance left.
The chair recognizes the senior member of Judiciary Committee, Howard Berman of California.
REP. HOWARD L. BERMAN, D-CALIF.:Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And I yield my time for relevant questioning to the gentlelady from California, Ms. Sanchez.
SANCHEZ:And I thank the gentleman for yielding.
SANCHEZ:To get back to the subject matter of this hearing, Ms. Goodling, you said that you had some concerns about Mr. McNulty's testimony before Congress.To whom at the DOJ did you voice those concerns?
GOODLING:I voiced them to a number of people.
And some of my concerns related -- or the majority of my concerns related more to I thought where we were going to be headed after the testimony.
I was very concerned.I didn't -- I didn't want us to go out and say bad things about our U.S. attorneys.
SANCHEZ:But to whom did you...
GOODLING:So when I left the hearing I spoke first with Will Moschella, and I expressed some concern that -- I expressed some concern about providing negative information about people who had worked for us, first.
I went back to the department and I went into Kyle Sampson's office and I told him that I did not think that the hearing had gone all that well.And I told him some of the things that the deputy had indicated he would provide.And I believe I did mention some of my concerns about some of the things that I thought he had said.
But I think the focus of my concern was really that I was afraid that we were going to down a road of saying bad things about people who had worked for us publicly...
SANCHEZ:So you didn't express a concern to either Mr. Moschella or Mr. Sampson that the testimony might not have been complete or might have been misleading to some degree, it was just you didn't want to say bad things about people?
GOODLING:I did say to Mr. Sampson, I think that there were a couple things that I didn't think were fully right, but I don't...
SANCHEZ:Aside from Mr. Moschella and Mr. Sampson, was there anybody else that you voiced those concerns to?
GOODLING:I talked to Mike Elston after.
SANCHEZ:Anybody besides Elston?
GOODLING:I talked to Tasia Scalinos, but our conversation just related more to -- it was a very short conversation.
SANCHEZ:Besides those four, anybody else?
GOODLING:I don't think so.
Before you joined the Executive Office for the U.S. Attorneys in the spring of 2005, did you have any experience in making personnel decisions involving the hiring or the firing of employees?
GOODLING:Yes.In -- putting aside -- putting aside college, where I was student body president, we actually did hire people to work on various organizations...
SANCHEZ:In a professional capacity, outside of college.
GOODLING:At the Republican National Committee, I was the deputy director there of research and strategic planning and we had...
SANCHEZ:You did hiring and firing there?
GOODLING:I did some in the research department that I....
SANCHEZ:OK.How did you get your position at the EOUSA?Who hired you?
GOODLING:I interviewed with Mary Beth Buchanan, who was the director at the time.
At EOUSA, you were involved in the hiring process for line-level assistant U.S. attorney positions in offices of acting or interim U.S. attorneys, is that correct?
SANCHEZ:And press reports say that you insisted that you retain your to review the hiring of AUSAs after you became an aide to Alberto Gonzales.Is that correct?
GOODLING:Yes.When I first -- when I was in the Executive Office, I would refer significant requests to Mr. Sampson who was in the A.G.'s office at the time.So when I moved to the A.G.'s office, and basically took that role, my position in the Executive Office actually remained vacant for a long time, so there wasn't somebody in the Executive Office to do it.
SANCHEZ:But you did retain your power to review the hiring of the AUSAs.
SANCHEZ:What leverage did you have to make any demands on the attorney general to retain that power?If the position became vacant and you were doing it in the interim, I'm assuming they filled the position.And why would you still retain power of hiring and firing?
GOODLING:Because I had referred significant requests to Mr. Sampson before I moved.You know, those were things that they just kept referring to me.I didn't mind doing it.I, kind of, liked -- I, kind of, liked having -- being able to provide input on -- one of the questions I would often ask Mr. Sampson was, Do we think we're going to have a new U.S. attorney soon?How long would it be, you know, if we held on to the waiver?
You know, if it was going to be six more months until a new U.S. attorney showed up, the waiver request might be more reasonable, but if a new U.S. attorney was going to be there in two weeks, of course you would want them to be involved in the hiring decision.
SANCHEZ:Let me ask you about this.
Recent press reports state that you moved to block the hiring of assistant U.S. attorneys with resumes that suggested that they might be Democrats.
A recent Newsweek article says that you attempted to block the hiring of a prosecutor in the office of Jeff Taylor, the U.S. attorney for D.C., for being a, quote, liberal Democratic type.And the New York Times reports that this was a Howard University Law School graduate who worked at the EPA.
Did that, in fact, occur?
GOODLING:I think that when I did look at that resume I made a snap judgment, and I regret it.
SANCHEZ:So that did occur, you blocked that hiring.
GOODLING:I didn't block it permanently.He was hired and I did authorize it.
GOODLING:I delayed it.
SANCHEZ:You delayed it.
And how many applicants did you block or delay on the basis of what their potential political leanings might have been?
GOODLING:You know, I wouldn't be able to give you a number.I don't feel like there were very many cases where I had those thoughts. Most of the time I looked at waiver requests I made them strictly based on, you know, whether there was an extraordinary need and I agreed with it and how long it would be until the new U.S. attorney got there.
CONYERS:Time of the gentlelady's expired.
SANCHEZ:Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
CONYERS:You can finish your comment, ma'am.
But I want to be honest.There were cases when I looked at resumes and I thought, You know, I don't know if this is the -- I don't know if this is the person the new U.S. attorney would want to hire.Why don't we just wait and let them take a look at the request, and if they want to hire them when they get there then they can?
SANCHEZ:I would just like to ask the chairman for unanimous consent to enter into the record the New York Times and Newsweek articles about the decision-making for hiring and firing based on...
CONYERS:Without objection, so ordered.
CONYERS:The chair recognizes the former chairman of Judiciary, Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin.
REP. F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER JR., R-WIS.:Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Goodling, welcome here.
I know this is not a pleasant experience.And I think that basically what your testimony has been doing is confirming the documentation that has been submitted to this committee.
I have a few questions.
The first is, are you aware that U.S. attorneys are appointed for terms of four years?
SENSENBRENNER:Were all of the U.S. attorneys who were replaced -- had their terms of four years expired?
GOODLING:The eight, yes.
With respect to Carol Lam, who was the U.S. attorney in the Southern District of California -- which is in San Diego -- were you aware that on June 15th of 2006, Senator Feinstein wrote Attorney General Gonzales, expressing concern about the fact that Ms. Lam had not been vigorous in prosecuting criminal alien smugglers within that district?
SENSENBRENNER:And were you aware that the attorney general did respond to Senator Feinstein in a letter that contained a lot of statistics?
GOODLING:Yes, although I don't think I saw it until sometime this year.
SENSENBRENNER:Well, this being the case, that all of the U.S. attorneys whose terms had expired, you know, were subject to replacement, what's so unusual about replacing somebody whose fixed term had expired and consequently would either have to be reappointed or would have to be replaced with somebody else?
GOODLING:I don't know that there is anything.
I don't know that this is a road that I would have decided to go down if it had been up to me.But I certainly supported the effort because I believe the president does have the right to be served by the best people that he can find and people that he'd like to have serve him.So I believe he has the right to make changes if he'd like to.
SENSENBRENNER:Isn't this an exercise of legitimate executive power which practically every president up to, including the current one, exercises all the time with officials within the executive branch subject to his appointment?
GOODLING:I believe it is.
SENSENBRENNER:Now, let me say that this committee has spent $250,000 of the taxpayers' money basically investigating the replacement of U.S. attorneys whose terms had expired.
I was the chairman of this committee for six years during the Bush administration and the chairman of the Science Committee for four years during the Clinton administration.I never signed a subpoena, because I didn't have to.And I never asked my committee to request the Justice Department to obtain a grant of immunity to anybody.
It seems to me that with this fishing expedition, there ain't no fish in the water.And we've spent an awful lot of time and an awful lot of money finding that out.
I yield back the balance of my time.
CONYERS:The chair recognizes now the chairman of the Constitution Subcommittee, Jerry Nadler of New York.
REP. JERROLD NADLER, D-N.Y.:Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Goodling, before you came here to testify, you asserted your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and you were granted immunity.
NADLER:To assert Fifth Amendment privilege, you're in effect asserting that you're aware of crimes that may have been committed. And you're saying that you don't want to be implicated.
What crimes are you aware of that you feared your testimony might get in (inaudible) be asked about?
GOODLING:I don't believe that I committed any crime.
NADLER:I didn't ask if you committed.I said, what crimes were you aware of, or possible crimes you were aware of that caused you to be concerned enough to seek or to claim the Fifth Amendment?
GOODLING:I asserted the Fifth Amendment based on the fact that these are very ambiguous circumstances in which to testify.
And I believed that the deputy attorney general had made an allegation that I had deliberately withheld information from him.And I believed that that was a concern.And I wanted...
So in other words, that his allegation might be construed by some as a crime was your concern?
GOODLING:That was the basis for my...
And are you aware -- well, let me -- thank you.Let me pursue that a moment.
You testified a few minutes ago about the deputy attorney general, Mr. McNulty, his testimony, which you said was not correct in all respects.
In your written statement, you go into some detail into how incorrect it was.And you talk about -- he did not have any -- that he testified that he did not have any knowledge of how Tim Griffin came to be recommended for interim appointment.
In fact, you had informed him of the effort to remove Bud Cummins in order to arrange an opportunity for Mr. Griffin since the spring or early summer.The status of the Arkansas office came up frequently in your briefings over the next six months.
NADLER:He testified the Parsky Commission worked very well and that they respected the process, while, in fact, he knew that the department's internal assessment was to the contrary.
The deputy also knew that although a determination had been made to continue to use it, there had been some efforts to interview candidates outside the Parsky Commission process and that he was aware of the department's dissatisfaction with the commission's process because you briefed him, you also testified that he testified that he did not know anything about allegations that Tim Griffin cadged black votes, but that in fact you had informed him that this issue could arise and you had prepared him to answer questions about it.
These would seem to be direct contradictions.In effect, your testimony is that the deputy attorney general misinformed the Senate Judiciary in small -- in sworn testimony.Is that not correct?
GOODLING:I'm just saying that I didn't believe he was fully candid.
And the point that I was trying to make is that I did give him some information, I didn't withhold information, I gave him a lot of information, and he had some of that information and didn't use of all of it.
NADLER:Although, in fact, he stated things directly contrary to what your written statement says he knew to be true.
GOODLING:Those would be conclusions for others to draw.
NADLER:OK.That's fair enough.
Now, let me switch topics for a moment and get back to -- follow up some of what Ms. Sanchez was asking about hiring -- or rather asking political questions of nonpolitical hirings.
The New York Times discussed Robin Ashton, a career prosecutor serving on detail to the Executive Office of the U.S. Attorneys, who was slated to become a career deputy director of EOUSA at around the time -- at around that time.
According to the article, the head of EOUSA told Ms. Ashton that she had a Monica problem because you believed she was a Democrat and couldn't be trusted, therefore shouldn't get the career job.
Is that correct?Did you seek to deny here a promotion because you believed she was a Democrat?
GOODLING:It wasn't my decision to make or not make in terms of giving her a promotion.
When I got to the Executive Office I was actually excited about working with Ms. Ashton because she had a lot of really good experience as a prosecutor -- much more than I did -- and I thought that we would complement each other very well.
GOODLING:You know, looking back on it, I think it was mostly the case of two type A women.She'd been in the office as the only -- as the only deputy...
NADLER:But you did not recommend that she should not be promoted.
GOODLING:You know, I don't really remember the discussions back at that time very well.
What I remember was that she had been the deputy for a long time by herself.And when I arrived, a lot of the responsibilities that she had were shifted to me.I thought she resented that.And as a result, it made for a tense office environment.
Now, in general you've testified in your -- or there's been statements made and you've essentially agreed with that and regretted it in your testimony today and in your written testimony, that you did ask a number of people either for career positions in the Justice Department or for assistant U.S. attorney positions questions about their political beliefs and affiliations.
GOODLING:Yes.Let me clarify, though, that I didn't actually interview a USA candidate...
NADLER:But you asked such questions.
My one question is, were any of your superiors in the Justice Department aware or did anybody instruct you or suggest that these questions should be asked or agree with these questions being asked or were aware that you were asking such kind of questions, either for assistant U.S. attorneys or for any other career positions -- or for career positions at all?
GOODLING:In some cases, when the -- relating to immigration judges, when I started my position as White House liaison, I was informed that the Office of Legal Counsel had said that because those were positions under a direct appointment authority of the attorney general, that we could consider other factors in those cases.
Later, concerns were raised as a result of some litigation and the Civil Division came to a different conclusion.
As a result of that, we actually froze hiring late in December of last year.
But, certainly, my supervisor...
NADLER:Wait a minute.You froze hiring why?
CONYERS:The gentleman's time has expired.
You can finish your answer, ma'am.
GOODLING:We froze hiring in relation to immigration judges.
There were some other times when I was asked to help facilitate the placement of somebody that we knew to be a Republican in career positions and sometimes those were at the request of other people in the department.
CONYERS:The chair is pleased to recognize the gentleman from North Carolina, the ranking member on the Intellectual Property Subcommittee, Mr. Howard Coble.
REP. HOWARD COBLE, R-N.C.:Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Goodling, good to have you with us today.
Ms. Goodling, as the distinguished ranking member said earlier, the U.S. attorneys do in fact serve at the pleasure of the president. That's been lost in this shuffle, it seems.
But having said that, I recall having read two articles, Ms. Goodling -- and just because I read articles, it does not mean that they're accurate.But one article indicated that the eight U.S. attorneys were terminated because of poor performances.
I read a second article that indicated most of the eight did in fact have good performances.
Can you elaborate on that, A?
And B, who was responsible for evaluating the performances of the U.S. attorneys?
GOODLING:I believe the person responsible for evaluating the U.S. attorneys is the deputy attorney general and the attorney general of the United States.
I think some of the confusion here is because offices do undergo what we call EARS evaluations.I would explain that more as a check- up of the office but not necessarily of the U.S. attorney.
It is certainly true that the EARS reports do make conclusions about the effectiveness of the U.S. attorney.But for the most part, the EARS evaluations are very in-depth and they're designed to look at the legal practice in the office and the administrative procedures.
So, for example, they would check to see if there's an inappropriate chain of indictment review.They would evaluate the supervisory structure.On the administrative side, they would check the books and make sure that the accounting's done properly, that security procedures are being followed appropriately.
And they make a lot of recommendations.In some cases, EARS reports are hundreds of pages long because they're really looking at nuts and bolts of the offices.
And certainly, it is true that they do, in some cases, reveal that there are problems in the office that relate to the U.S. attorney.
GOODLING:And in some cases, they make conclusions that the U.S. attorney is very effective.
But the person who would have the most information about the U.S. attorney's performance is, I think, going to be people at main Justice.Because they're the ones that are working with the U.S. attorney every day.They're the ones that have the opportunity to see when there's problems.Those are things that are going to be elevated above the U.S. attorney.
COBLE:Thank you, Ms. Goodling.
Ms. Goodling, if you will, explain your role -- I think most of us are familiar with it, but explain your role in serving as the White House liaison to the Justice Department.
What were your responsibilities in the White House and in the Justice Department?And what was your principal mission in serving at the White House as the White House liaison to the Justice Department?
GOODLING:I didn't actually serve at the White House at all.I worked at the Justice Department as a department employee.
My basic job responsibilities fell into three categories.
The first was hiring of political appointees.I spent a lot of time doing interviews for what we call Schedule C, for noncareer senior executive service candidates.
And I wasn't the only one that would do those.Obviously, the component head that would be ultimately hiring the person would also interview.They would have interviews at the White House, and in some cases with Mr. Sampson as well.
So I was one of maybe three or four people evaluating everybody coming in, or considering coming into the department.And so that personnel work took a lot of time.
I also served a basic liaison function that related to information.You know, for example, The president's going to be on travel here, or we would pass over, The attorney general's going to be on travel here -- just information requests that would go back and forth relating to what the White House had going on or what we had going on -- report-type things along those lines.
And then the third thing -- which took a fair amount of time, actually -- was a lot of what we would call morale-boosting for employees, and, kind of, internal communications.
Oftentimes, the White House would have bill signings, or Marine One would be landing or taking off or there would be an opportunity to see the champions of the Stanley Cup come to the White House.And so I would spend -- I mean, several times a week send an e-mail to appointees and say, Hey, who would like to go to the White House and see X, Y and Z?And we would gather their names and Social Security numbers and dates of birth and transmit that down to the White House so that appointees could have the opportunity to do those sorts of things.
GOODLING:So it was as combination of things.And there were others that I'm sure I haven't mentioned, but those are the three general categories of things.
COBLE:I thank you.
Finally, Ms. Goodling, did you ever see the initial list or the final list of the United States attorneys who were recommended for replacement?
GOODLING:If the initial list is the one in 2005, I don't have any memory of having seen that.
The final list, being the November 27th plan, yes, I was in the room with the attorney general when that plan was presented, although, actually, I'm not sure if Kevin Ryan was on the list at that point or not.It may have only been six on that day.
COBLE:I thank you again, Ms. Goodling, for your testimony.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
The chair recognizes the Subcommittee chairman on Crime, the gentleman from Virginia, Bobby Scott.
REP. ROBERT C. SCOTT, D-VA.:Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Goodling, as you just heard, I was introduced as the chairman of the Subcommittee on Crime.
The criminal justice system cannot function if the public does not trust the system to be fair.We expect judges and prosecutors to strictly follow the rule of law.We expect witnesses in criminal cases, in all phases of criminal cases, to tell the truth.We expect juries to be fair and impartial.
And this won't work if there are partisan political considerations becoming more important than fair and impartial decisions.
Unfortunately, there have been credible allegations that attorneys have been hired because of their partisan views rather than their legal backgrounds, that the culture of loyalty to the administration was more important than loyalty to the rule of law, and pressure and even firing of U.S. attorneys for failing to pursue partisan political agendas rather than the rule of law.
These allegations are serious because, if true, they can clearly undermine the confidence the public will have in the criminal justice system.
It's been hard for us to get to the bottom of it because, when we ask simply questions, you've accused others of not telling the truth under oath.
SCOTT:You in fact yourself pleaded the Fifth.So it's been hard to get to the bottom of it.
But let me just ask a couple of questions.
In your testimony, you indicate that you have -- quote, may have taken inappropriate political considerations into account on some occasions.
Do you believe that those political considerations were not just inappropriate, but in fact illegal?
GOODLING:That's not a conclusion for me to make.
I know I was acting...
SCOTT:(inaudible) Do you believe that they were legal or illegal for you to take those political considerations in mind?Not whether they were legal or illegal, what do you believe?Do you believe that they were illegal?
GOODLING:I don't believe I intended to commit a crime.
SCOTT:Did you break the law?Was it against the law to take those political considerations into account?
You've got civil service laws.You've got obstruction of justice.Were there any laws that you could have broken by taking political considerations into account, quote, on some occasions?
GOODLING:The best I can say is that I know I took political considerations into account on some occasions.
SCOTT:Was that legal?
GOODLING:Sir, I'm not able to answer that question.I know I crossed the line.
SCOTT:What line -- legal?
GOODLING:I crossed the line of the civil service rules.
SCOTT:Rules -- laws.You crossed the law on civil service laws.You crossed the line on civil service laws, is that right?
GOODLING:I believe I crossed the lines.But I didn't mean to. I mean, I...
GOODLING:You know, it wasn't...
SCOTT:In reference to the U.S. attorneys, were the investigations and indictments of Republican officials or the failure to investigate or indict Democratic officials a factor in the removal of any U.S. attorneys?
GOODLING:Not as far as I know.
SCOTT:Not at all?
GOODLING:Not as far as I know.
SCOTT:Are you aware that Senator Domenici had called one of the U.S. attorneys that was asked to leave?
GOODLING:I've seen the press accounts, yes.
SCOTT:You've seen the press accounts?
SCOTT:You know that he had a problem with one of the U.S. attorneys?
GOODLING:I was aware that he had concerns with Mr. Iglesias' performance.
In the back of Tab 26, you have a note that says, quote, Domenici says he doesn't move cases.
GOODLING:Yes, that was a comment that was made by someone else in one of the meetings that we had in the deputy attorney general's room.
SCOTT:Do you know what cases he was talking about?
GOODLING:I don't remember that the person who made the comment specified.
SCOTT:Do you know what case he was talking about?
Are you aware of a case of Manny Aragon, a Democratic office- holder?
GOODLING:I think I've seen press accounts.
SCOTT:Was that one of the cases that he could have been talking about?
GOODLING:I don't know.
SCOTT:Did -- now, the deputy attorney general's testimony did not include Domenici says he doesn't move cases as one of the reasons he was on the list.
GOODLING:It does not.
GOODLING:The reason it did not -- when we were meeting in his room, somebody made the comment that that was one of the reasons.The deputy attorney general said that he did not think that that was something that he wanted to brief to the Senate because he didn't think it was his place to raise one member's concerns with other members, and that it would be better if Senator Domenici wanted to raise the concerns with his colleagues.
SCOTT:Other than Domenici's problems that he doesn't move cases, how could Mr. Iglesias' name get on the list of fired attorneys?
SCOTT:What else could he have possibly done wrong to get him on the list?
GOODLING:The other reasons that I heard discussed was that it was a very important border district, that people just didn't think that he was doing as good of a job as we might have wanted to expect.
I know at one point I heard someone say that he had been kind -- and this is a quote -- kind of a dud on the AGAC -- that's the Attorney General's Advisory Committee.
And there were -- there was at some point a reference to him being an absentee landlord that somebody had made.Mr. Sampson had indicated that he heard Mr. Mercer express concerns about the amount of time he spent in the office.But I also heard somebody else express the concern that he delegated a lot to his first assistant.
So there were different...
CONYERS:Gentleman's time has expired.
You may finish your statement, if you choose.
GOODLING:I mean, different people did make different comments at different times.And there were other -- there were other comments that people made, based on things that they felt or believed.And I wrote those down.
The gentleman from California, Elton Gallegly?
REP. ELTON GALLEGLY, R-CALIF.:Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Goodling, almost -- I'm the tall, good-looking one here.
Ms. Goodling, almost everyone -- including the attorney general -- agrees this matter was mishandled and that if he had to do it all over again, he would have done several things differently.
Do you agree with the assessment that things could have been handled much differently?And, if so, how would you say that that, in your opinion, should have taken place?
GOODLING:I do agree that things should have been handled differently.
I think it would have been better to try to document some things.
GOODLING:It certainly would have been good to have made sure that the reasons that -- you know, when we looked at the list and when we had the meeting to discuss what we thought the reasons were, I think somebody would say a comment and somebody else would think, That's what I thought, too.
So I think when people looked at the list, people generally had the same thoughts in their mind about people, as far as I could tell from that meeting, because somebody would say one thing and other people would nod and I would write it down.
But it would have been better to document it.And it would have been better, frankly, to have given some of those U.S. attorneys a chance to understand where the problems were and a chance to address them.
And, you know, at the November 27th meeting there was a discussion about whether or not the U.S. attorneys should be told in person.And someone made the comment that, because they were presidential appointees and served at the president's pleasure, there wasn't a need to litigate the reasons with them.And I think there was some concern that if you sat down with the folks, it would get into a back-and-forth on the reasons.
And I think people felt like they wanted the U.S. attorneys to be able to leave quietly and do good things with their lives.
But I think there was a sense that they didn't want to make the departures more painful for people, I guess.
But looking back on it, I think it would have been the right thing to do to have met with people individually and notify them in person, and given them an opportunity to ask questions at that time.
GALLEGLY:Ms. Goodling, in your opening statement -- correct me if I misunderstood, but when you first saw the list of the eight, that -- I guess it was Mr. Sampson presented you with that list -- am I correct in my recollection that there was no explanation at that time for how any of those names got on the list?
GOODLING:I don't remember.
And there weren't eight at the time.It was a different number.
But I don't remember that time very well.And I had actually forgotten it for awhile.
But I think he just, kind of, brought it in and said, Can you take a look at this and give me your thoughts?That's, to the best of my recollection, what I remember.
GALLEGLY:However, subsequent to that, obviously, you have had some opportunity to learn a little bit more about specific cases, as I know you referenced in part of the questioning some statements regarding Mr. Iglesias.Is that correct?
GALLEGLY:And can you recollect any other of the judges that -- other than Mr. Iglesias -- that may have been the basis of their name appearing on that list?
GOODLING:No, wait -- I'm sorry.What did I just agree to?I think I misheard the question.
GALLEGLY:My understanding is you had -- well, just a few minutes ago, you did make reference to Mr. Iglesias.I assume this is something that you learned subsequent to first seeing the list, as, maybe, one of the reasons that his name did appear on the list.Is that correct?
Subsequent to originally receiving the list, when there was no direct explanation for how the names got on there, you have learned, or through conversations and so on and so forth, that there have been certain justifications made public, or at least beyond the water cooler discussions...
GALLEGLY:... as was the case with Mr. Iglesias.
Were there other members -- or other judges on that list that you recall any specific reasons why their name would have been placed on the list?
At the November 27th meeting, there was a discussion about Daniel Bogden specifically.I think somebody made the comment, like, I know why it's this group, or, I think I know why these are the people on the list.
And the DAG said, The one person I have a question about is Mr. Bogden.Did he do something wrong, or is it just a general sense that we could do better?
And Mr. Sampson said in that meeting something about, you know, I think it's a general sense that, you know -- it was a general, kind of, sense that we could do better, or something along that line.
And then I said that I was aware of one case involving use of the Patriot Act that had gotten a little messy a few years ago.But that was all I was aware of.
And at that point we, kind of, looked at each other and at the attorney general and said, you know, What do you want to do?And he -- I think he nodded and said, OK.
And so we had that one discussion in that November 27th meeting, which was just a brief reference.But that's the only one where I remember that the group as a whole discussed the reason...
GALLEGLY:But that clearly wasn't a statement saying it was political reasons, or implied that.
GOODLING:Oh, for political reasons, no, no.
And I didn't mean to imply that I thought it was for political reasons in Mr. Iglesias's case, if that was the question.I'm sorry.
GALLEGLY:Thank you very much.
Mr. Chairman, thank you.
CONYERS:Chair is pleased to recognize the distinguished gentleman from North Carolina, Mel Watt.
REP. MELVIN WATT, D-N.C.:Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Goodling, this obviously has national implications.But it has some repercussions at local levels, too.So I'd like to ask you a couple of questions that relate to North Carolina, which happens to be where I'm from.
You testified in your opening statement this morning that, quote, I never recommended to them that a specific U.S. attorney be added to or removed from Mr. Sampson's list.
GOODLING:I mean them being the White House.I did discuss with Mr. Sampson, of course, removing individuals.I was referencing my interactions with the White House in my statement.
WATT:That seems to be at odds with what Mr. Sampson testified in the Senate, when he testified that you suggested taking Ms. Anna Mills Wagner of the Middle District of North Carolina off the list in September of 2006.
Did you or did you not recommend taking Ms. Wagner off the list?
GOODLING:I did.I recommended...
GOODLING:... retaining her in service in January and in September.
WATT:So, when you testified this morning that you didn't make a specific recommendation to take anybody off the list, you were really not accurate in what you were saying?
GOODLING:I believe my sentence was to them, meaning the White House.
Mr. Sampson works at the Department of Justice.And I did make a recommendation to Mr. Sampson about people coming on and off the list.
WATT:What is your relationship with Ms. Wagner?
GOODLING:She's just a U.S. attorney that I've had some interactions with from time to time.She was very involved in Project Safe Neighborhoods and did, kind of, a Project Safe Neighborhoods gang conference that I attended with the attorney general.
And, of course, I've spoken with her at some U.S. attorney conferences.
WATT:And do you know who suggested putting Ms. Wagner on the list in the first place to be fired?
GOODLING:No.When I saw the list in January, she was on.
GOODLING:And I recommended she come off.She was still on in September and I recommended again that she come off.And she did.
WATT:And what was your basis for recommending that she come off?
GOODLING:I think in January I remembered her Project Safe Neighborhood work.That was something that I focused on at the department.So I had a good sense of -- or thought I had a good sense of some of the districts that were doing really good things in the gun crime area.
And I also remembered that she'd been very, very helpful when we were doing some Patriot Act reauthorization efforts.We had asked some of the U.S. attorneys to be engaged.And she had been very helpful in that effort as well.
In September, I think I was thinking mostly PSN.I'm not sure if I remembered the Patriot Act at that point.
WATT:Now, there's a document that we have had produced to us that -- where you wrote that she bends -- quote, bends over backward for A.G. visits, close quote.
You remember making that note about...
That was a reference to the Patriot Act visit that we had done.
And you thought that was a meaningful reason to keep or replace an attorney, or not replace an attorney?
GOODLING:I think it's an appropriate thing to consider, when the attorney general asks a U.S. attorney to be helpful and they do a really good job at it.I think that's a good thing.
Sometimes we would ask U.S. attorneys for help and, you know, you didn't get the same response.She was just someone that when you ask her for help, she was very responsive.And I thought that that should be rewarded or taken into account.
WATT:And what kind of help are you talking about there?
GOODLING:I'm just talking about when you ask someone to, you know, write an op-ed or just help put together a visit.
Some U.S. attorneys are just very engaged and just very responsive.I don't know that I can quantify it more than saying that they're responsive.
The specific meetings in which you participated in which Mr. Iglesias was discussed, you indicated that a number of comments were made that could have been the basis for his being on a list to be terminated.
Would you tell us who was in the room when those discussions were taking place?
GOODLING:After the deputy did his briefing on the...
WATT:Would you tell us who was in the room, when those discussions were taking...
GOODLING:The deputy, Mr. Sampson, myself, and then Mr. Elston, I believe, was there for part of the time, or maybe all of the time.
And I think there was another individual that may have come in and gone out.And I don't remember if that was Mr. Moschella, but I felt that there was someone that moved at some point during the meeting, but I don't remember specifically.
CONYERS:The gentleman's time has expired.
WATT:Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
CONYERS:The chair's pleased to recognize the only ex-attorney general that we have on the committee...
... Dan Lungren of California.
LUNGREN:Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Goodling -- I'm over here -- let me just say that we appreciate your testimony.I know this is not a particularly comfortable time for you.
You also ought to be happy you're not hearing the clicking of the cameras that often because they usually reserve those for gotcha moments and there haven't been any today.Your testimony's been very strong.
I think you have acquitted yourself well, and have shown people who are here or watching elsewhere why people in the Justice Department thought you were worthy of your job.
I have never been in the U.S. Justice Department, but as the chairman said, I was the attorney general of California, elected not appointed.And when I ran in that campaign for election, I had differences with my opponent, who happened to be the other party.
I had some differences with my predecessor.I decided I was going to put more emphasis on the criminal side of my office than on the civil side.I made decisions to shift people.
We had folks in the California Department of Justice who were conscientious objectors to the death penalty when we were the ones required to carry it out from a legal standpoint.
LUNGREN:And I had to make some decisions to transfer people out of the Criminal Division because they refused to do capital cases. And I made a decision that I was criticized for as being political, to say that you couldn't be a supervisor in the Criminal Division if you didn't believe in the death penalty because it would affect your job. We moved them elsewhere.
I thought it was appropriate to make decisions with respect to supervisors in my office, the ones who headed up certain divisions, certain offices if they believed in what I was trying to do.Because I actually thought that's the way the process works.
During election, I mentioned what I was going to do.I was elected.And then I said to the people who were there, including civil servants, This is what we intend to carry out.
Analogously, doesn't a president have a right when he appoints an attorney general, to expect him and the people in the Justice Department -- including civil servants -- to use the emphases that the president wants to make the decisions in terms of priorities that the president wants?
And isn't that an appropriate thing?And is that the kind of thing that you did while you were in the department?
GOODLING:That's what I was trying to do.
I was trying to find very well-qualified people who would be enthusiastic about, you know, supporting the attorney general's priorities and focus.
But, like I said, I may not have always got it right.I think I did in fact...
LUNGREN:Well, you were permitted to do that.
But weren't you even more than permitted?Didn't you feel an obligation to try and do that so that the American people could somehow have faith that the electoral process works, when they have a president who says he's going to do certain things?
GOODLING:I certainly hope so.
LUNGREN:And you said you believed you crossed the line.And there was some questioning and cross-examination of you.
Let me get this straight:As I understand what you said, you believe in retrospect that you may have crossed the line in terms of civil service rules.But you don't believe in your mind you had the intent to break any law at the time you did anything.Is that correct?
GOODLING:I guess what I meant is, I was intending to try to find good lawyers who would do a good job, and who would carry out the attorney general's priorities.
My focus was on that.My focus -- but in my focus, I think there were times that I thought that it would be good if we could hire some people that could be, you know, that could be other U.S. attorneys down the road.
And we also -- we brought a lot of people from the field to main Justice.
GOODLING:And I thought it would be good if we had, you know, people that would be wanting to come into leadership positions, that would be enthusiastic of the priorities.
LUNGREN:Let me ask you:Is it 93 U.S. attorneys that there are?
LUNGREN:Do you believe that there are more than 93 qualified people in the United States who are attorneys to be U.S. attorneys?
LUNGREN:Do you believe that a president has the right to refresh an office and to say, You've had your four years, I'd like to give someone else a chance?
LUNGREN:Do you think that that is violative of the Constitution?
LUNGREN:Does that in any way interfere with the prosecution of the laws?
LUNGREN:Can you have two people -- one who's in charge of an office, and then another one who comes in -- both equally committed to prosecuting the laws of the United States?
LUNGREN:And you said in your written statement, However, I'm not aware of anyone within the department ever suggesting the replacement of these U.S. attorneys to interfere with a particular case or in retaliation for prosecuting or refusing to prosecute a particular case or political advantage.
Now, after you've had all the questioning from the panelists thus far about that, do you still stand by that statement?
I mean, certainly I knew that Senator Domenici had told the attorney general he had some concerns with public corruption...
LUNGREN:And Dianne Feinstein had complained about the lack of prosecution of coyote cases in San Diego?
But I didn't understand those to be the complaints -- I didn't -- my memory is not that it was of any specific case, that it was more of a focus or emphasis.
But, again, I didn't hear the senator's comments.Because the attorney general had the phone up to his ear.So I couldn't hear exactly what he said.
LUNGREN:Thank you very much.
The chair is going to announce a five-minute recess after the gentlelady from California, Zoe Lofgren, chair of the Immigration Subcommittee, has her questions.
And we yield to her at this time.
REP. ZOE LOFGREN, D-CALIF.:Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Goodling, I want to -- we only have five minutes.So I want to ask you, if I could, two yes-or-no questions.
Did you ever, or did you ever have a member of your staff, ask a job applicant who they voted for?
GOODLING:Political appointees, yes.
I don't think we asked that of career appointees.But I can't be sure.Sometimes people would come in and would actually apply for both positions at the same time.
LOFGREN:So, when it comes to your statement on hiring of immigration judges, BIA positions, that were frozen, you never asked any of them who they voted for?
GOODLING:I don't remember that I did.But, again, I can't be sure.And I may have.
LOFGREN:Now, if I could ask, you mentioned that these positions -- these immigration and BIA positions were frozen in December of 2006, after the Civil Division expressed concerns that civil service rules might apply.
LOFGREN:Would it be true then to say that we stopped hiring in this field because you couldn't apply a political litmus test to these individuals?
GOODLING:I think the hiring was frozen to give the division time to evaluate.And, actually, I'd like to clarify my answer. There were some individuals that came in and applied for political positions and immigration judge positions at the same time, so those individuals would have been asked political questions, yes.
LOFGREN:By who they voted for?
GOODLING:Yes, because they were applying for both.
LOFGREN:I -- the first of the U.S. attorneys known to have been terminated in 2006 was Todd Graves in Kansas City, and Mr. Graves has stated publicly that he received a phone call from Michael Battle in January and was told to submit his resignation.
Now, Mr. Sampson has stated Graves was on a list of U.S. attorneys to be fired which he showed to you and that was sent to the White House in 2006.And Mr. Battle has told committee investigators that it was you who called him and told him to call Graves and tell him to submit his resignation.
Who did you discuss this with at the DOJ?Did you discuss this with anybody at the White House?Who gave you the permission to -- or directed you to make this call to Mr. Battle?And you said in your opening statement that you had conflicting memories about this Graves matter.Can you explain what you meant by that?
GOODLING:Sure.When I first heard Mr. Graves' name months ago, my memory was that he had been asked to resign.That was what I had thought.But there were two things that made me think that maybe my memory was wrong.
One was, in January, Mr. Sampson was asked a question while he was staffing the attorney general about how many U.S. attorneys had been asked to resign in the previous year, and he gave the answer of eight.
And because I knew that the eight were Mr. Cummins and then the seven in December, I thought that I must have just been remembering incorrectly, because Mr. Graves would have made nine.But, you know, perhaps Mr. Sampson just didn't think of Mr. Graves when he gave that answer.
GOODLING:I don't know.But that was the first thing that made me think that maybe my historical memory just wasn't accurate.
LOFGREN:So you do recall seeing his name now, though, or you don't...
GOODLING:Oh, I do, yes.I remember seeing it on the list.
LOFGREN:Do you think it was true that one of the factors in removing Mr. Graves so quickly and installing his replacement with Mr. Schlozman so promptly was to push forward with the vote fraud case that Mr. Schlozman was promoting and Mr. Graves was resisting in Missouri, just before that election?
GOODLING:You know, I don't remember anything like that.My memory of the reason why I was thinking that Mr. Graves had been asked to leave related more to the fact that he was under investigation by the inspector general and that there were some issues that were being looked at there.
And like I said, I had conflicting memories on it, but I thought that that was -- that was my memory of what was going on during that period of time.
LOFGREN:When Mr. Schlossman worked at main Justice, did you ever discuss the issue of voter fraud cases or voter ID laws with him?
GOODLING:You know, I think he did mention them to me from time to time.I remember one conversation where he told me that they had done an election law manual.
LOFGREN:Did you discuss it with anyone else, these voter fraud or voter ID cases?
GOODLING:The specific cases?
GOODLING:Oh, I don't have any memories, at this point.I certainly would have seen stories in the clips, and they may have come up in meetings that I was in.
LOFGREN:Did you ever discuss them, do you think, with Mr. Von Spiscospi (ph), who was over at the voting section, civil rights?
GOODLING:No, I don't remember ever having met him or spoken with him.
LOFGREN:Do you remember who told you to have Mr. Battle fire Mr. Graves?
GOODLING:If I did make that phone call, it would have been at Mr. Sampson's request.I wouldn't have had that kind of authority.
LOFGREN:Before my time expires, I just want to make sure I understand you correctly.
You never asked any people applying just for immigration judge positions or BIA positions who they voted for?
GOODLING:If they were applying for other positions, I did.
LOFGREN:But if they were just applying for that, you never did?
GOODLING:I don't remember that I did, but I can't be sure.
And I do know that we did research them.And in some cases, we learned political information in the research process.
LOFGREN:My time has expired.
Members of the committee, we'll stand in recess until 10 minutes after 12.
Thank you very much.
CONYERS:I'm pleased to recognize the gentleman from Virginia, the distinguished former chairman of Agriculture Committee, Bob Goodlatte.
REP. ROBERT W. GOODLATTE, R-VA.:Mr. Chairman, thank you very much.
Ms. Goodling, welcome.I appreciate the forthright testimony that you've given.I understand the scrutiny that is going on here today.And we very much welcome your participation.
I have a few questions.Were you ever in any way a principal decision-maker in the review process and the removal process, concerning the U.S. attorneys?
GOODLING:No, not a decision-maker.
GOODLATTE:Some have alleged that the department requested the resignations of the U.S. attorneys for partisan purposes, such as to exact retribution against U.S. attorneys who prosecuted Republicans or failed to prosecute Democrats in public corruption cases.
If that were true, would it have made any sense for the department to have named career first assistant U.S. attorneys as interim U.S. attorneys to replace these individuals, as occurred in the district of New Mexico and the district of Nevada?
GOODLING:Some would say that might seem odd.
GOODLATTE:Can you elaborate on that at all?
What was your experience in terms of who were the replacements for these U.S. attorneys?
GOODLING:There actually was a lot of debate about those topics, just because we wanted to ensure that we put good people into those spots.And we were making those decisions in a time that there was a lot of scrutiny on what was happening.
But we interviewed several people for all the spots.And ultimately we chose the people that we thought could best lead, given the circumstances and the situation that we were under.
GOODLATTE:And are you satisfied that that was the result of those who were put in those positions, that they were indeed fulfilling the responsibilities that we expect of U.S. attorneys to conduct these offices in a professional and non-partisan fashion?
GOODLING:I certainly think that they will do a good job.
I mean, in some circumstances, if it had been up to me I might have made different decisions.We interviewed, like I said, a number of people in different spots.And there were disagreements, as there sometimes are when you interview multiple people for different spots.
But, ultimately, I think the people that are leading these offices will do a good job.
GOODLATTE:Now, with regard to the question of whether or not the Congress was mislead in this matter, did you ever, in any way, intend to mislead Congress through any of your activities in preparing the people who have testified before their testimony?
GOODLING:No.I never deliberately withheld any information.I think, looking back, trying to figure out what happened, I think sometimes we started preparing answers for questions A, and then we got questions B and we started preparing answers for question B, and then we got question C.
And at some point along the line, people just started answering questions and we had never really sat down and talked them all out and put all the facts on the table and figured out what they were.And different people had forgotten different things, and it just snowballed into a not good situation.
GOODLATTE:Sure.With regard to the hiring of career officials into leadership or policy positions, in your approach to these interviews, did you attempt to follow what you understand to be accepted models at the Department of Justice, such as that of David Margolis?
GOODLING:You know, there were different categories in -- different categories and I -- I'm sorry, but in the personnel context, it's particularly hard for me to make a general statement because it won't be true in one category and not true in another.And then there were sometimes odd situations that cropped up.
I tried -- if you're asking about detailed positions at main Justice, I tried to find people that would be part of the leadership team, that would be on the same page in terms of philosophy.And in those positions, because they were in leadership offices, I really did want to ensure that ideologically they were compatible.
In other cases like immigration judges and Board of Immigration appeals, I thought that we could consider other factors because I had been told that, in relation to immigration judges -- and I think my assumption was that that applied to the BIA as well.
GOODLING:And, you know, then there were other bizarre cases that kind of cropped up individually from time to time.And, you know, but my intent was to ensure that we had well-qualified, really bright lawyers, that I wanted to have, you know, pull in the same direction in terms of priorities.
GOODLATTE:And with regard to the hiring of the career assistant U.S. attorneys in the U.S. attorneys offices led by interim U.S. attorneys, did you ever act as a screener for Republican candidates for those positions?
I think that I probably did.Not in all cases.For the most case, I looked at those waiver requests and I evaluated whether or not there really was an extraordinary need.
The role is to ensure that there isn't during the time that there's a vacancy, so that the new U.S. attorney that's coming in has the opportunity to hire some people that they'd like to work with.
I thought that was a good rule, and I tried to enforce it.
Sometimes there were cases of extraordinary need, and I looked at resumes or I might have made reference calls -- or I did make reference calls in some cases.And in some cases, I may have researched folks and learned some information that influenced my decision-making.And I regret those mistakes.
GOODLATTE:Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
GOODLATTE:Thank you, Ms. Goodling.
CONYERS:The chair recognizes the distinguished gentlelady from Houston, Texas, Sheila Jackson-Lee.
REP. SHEILA JACKSON-LEE, D-TEXAS:Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for committing this committee and yourself to the American people.
I welcome the witness.
Just for the record, I think it's important to note, because we have an important debate about immigration, there couldn't have been a greater disservice to the American people by stalling on the immigration judges and others who would participate in a process -- a legal process -- that we would hope most who are would participate in.
JACKSON-LEE:But allow me just to simply begin a series of questions, Ms. Goodling, and I would ask that they -- your answers -- be as cryptic and as brief as possible, however truthful, because we do have a shortened period of time.
I noticed that you were described as a loyal person or with extreme loyalty or deep loyalty to the president, President Bush, and certainly we welcome young people into this system of government, of public service, as you've indicated, but you might have been better served if you were loyal to the American people.And I give you counsel, whether you're willing to accept it or not.
You have been described by Bruce Fein, a former senior Justice official during the Reagan administration, both you and Mr. Goodling -- excuse me, you and Mr. Sampson -- that you knew politics and not the law.And I think that's the challenge that we face here today.
I'd like to know what your disagreement was with Seth Adam Meinero, a Howard University Law School graduate, that you apparently described or stalled in his hiring as a career prosecutor, a graduate of Howard University, one of the top, outstanding law schools in the nation, that graduates an array of diverse law students and future lawyers but has a historical grounding in the African-American community.
But you described him as too liberal for the nonpolitical position.He had formerly been a career attorney with the Environmental Protection Agency.
Why did you dislike Mr. Meinero?
GOODLING:I didn't dislike him.
GOODLING:And I regret the fact that I made a snap judgment based on that totality of the things that I saw on his resume, and I have no good explanation for it.There were...
JACKSON-LEE:But you did reject him, and it was only out of a career attorney to Mr. Taylor who pursued getting Mr. Meinero hired. Is that correct?
GOODLING:I didn't actually reject him.I actually, in fact, authorized the hire later.I delayed it.
JACKSON-LEE:After Mr. Taylor pursued it, is that correct?
JACKSON-LEE:Thank you very much.
I understand that you've made a point that you say, To the best of my recollection, I had no meetings with Mr. Rove or Harriet Miers. Did you receive e-mail?
GOODLING:I don't remember receiving an e-mail from Mr. Rove.I did receive e-mail from Harriet Miers.I...
JACKSON-LEE:But there was a possibility.You don't recollect, but there might have been a possibility of receiving an e-mail.
GOODLING:I can't say that it didn't happen during my time at the department.I certainly had e-mails...
GOODLING:... when I was at the Republican...
JACKSON-LEE:Can you tell us anything about what Karl Rove knew about the plan to fire the nine U.S. attorneys, or what he did to create the situation leading to those firings?
GOODLING:I know that Mr. Rove was consulted after the plan -- or I believe that he was consulted.I guess I may not know for sure. When the plan went to the White House for approval, it was transmitted to the White House Counsel's office, and there was an e-mail that Mr. Sampson forwarded to me, I think, on December 4, if I'm remembering correctly, that said that it had been circulated to different offices within the White House and that they had all signed off.
So I assume that that -- that he was one of the individuals that signed off as part of that process but I don't know for sure.I think the e-mail just referenced the offices.Certain...
JACKSON-LEE:But he was certainly in an office in the White House.
GOODLING:He was in an office in the White House.I think it said that White House political had signed off.Political is actually headed by Sara Taylor but does report to Mr. Rove, so I don't know for sure.
GOODLING:So I don't know for sure.
JACKSON-LEE:I thank you.
With that in mind, isn't it a fact that you cannot give us the full picture about the White House involvement in the plan to remove U.S. attorneys and isn't it a fact that the only way we can get the story is if the White House provides documents and makes its personnel available to be interviewed by the Congress?
GOODLING:For me, I can say that I can't give you the whole White House story.I...
JACKSON-LEE:And I thank you for that.I have to move to the next question, but I want the record to be clear that the only way we can get to the full truth is if Mr. Karl Rove is sitting in the very same seat that you're sitting in.And he needs to be here.And he needs to be here post-haste.
Let me ask you quickly.You testified in response to Mr. Scott that someone at DOJ made a comment in a meeting that Senator Domenici says that Mr. Iglesias doesn't move cases in connection with Mr. Iglesias being on the list of fired U.S. attorneys.
When did that meeting take place?Who made the comment about Senator Domenici?And who else was at the meeting?
GOODLING:The DAG, Kyle Sampson, Mike Elston, and there may have been another person and myself were in the meeting.It was after his Senate testimony, but before his private briefing, so it was the week before Valentine's Day.I don't remember the exact date.
JACKSON-LEE:And the year?
GOODLING:2007.It would have been, I guess, before February 12th or around that period at some point.
I don't remember who in the meeting made the comment.But I wrote it down.And I don't remember what your other question was.
JACKSON-LEE:Who else was at the meeting?
GOODLING:The meeting was the deputy attorney general, Kyle Sampson, Mike Elston for at least part of it, myself and there may have been another person that came in and came out, maybe William Moschella, but I don't remember.
JACKSON-LEE:I guess the deputy attorney general is -- the name, please?
JACKSON-LEE:I thank you very much.
I thank the distinguished chairman.
I thank the witness.
I yield back.
CONYERS:The chair is pleased now to recognize the gentleman from Florida, Ric Keller.
REP. RIC KELLER, R-FLA.:Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Goodling, when did you first get promoted to the position of senior counsel to the attorney general and White House Liaison?
GOODLING:I started in the Office of Attorney General as counsel.I became the White House liaison and was given a working title of senior counsel in April of 2006.
KELLER:And before April of 2006, you'd worked at the Justice Department in a variety of different positions for about four years?
I understand from your testimony that Kyle Sampson is the one who compiled the list of attorneys to be replaced?
KELLER:And you didn't see that list of potential U.S. attorneys to be replaced, to the best of your recollection, until January of '06?Is that right?
KELLER:I'm going to focus most of my questions on Carol Lam- related issues, since that seems to be the most controversial.
Did you ever speak to anyone within the Department of Justice regarding Carol Lam?
GOODLING:Yes.She was a topic of frequent conversation.
KELLER:Tell me what your communications were and when they took place.
GOODLING:There were a lot.I'm not sure I'm going to remember them all.
There were a lot of conversations about her work in the gun crime area, which was an area that I worked in.And so the people that I worked on in relation to Project Safe Neighborhoods would frequently name her district as one that they felt was underperforming, that she just didn't seem to be doing as much as they thought she should be.
KELLER:When do you first remember those conversations about the lack of sufficient gun crime prosecutions taking place?
GOODLING:I believe it was while I was in the Office of Public Affairs...
KELLER:What would be the timeframe for that?
GOODLING:Maybe 2003 or 2004 time period.
Were there any other topics of concern that you heard, other than gun crimes?
GOODLING:Immigration was the one that's been most frequently discussed in the past year and half or two years.
KELLER:And so when did you first start hearing about the concern about immigration prosecutions?
GOODLING:I believe while I was maybe in the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys.I'm a little tentative on this, but I think that there may have been some letters from Congress that came in, I think, during that time period.Those were...
KELLER:Would that be around the 2004 time period?
GOODLING:No.I was in the Executive Office in 2005.
KELLER:2005 time period.So, to the best of your recollection, the first concerns you heard about gun crimes and Carol Lam were 2003, 2004 and about immigration enforcement about 2004?Is that fair to say?
GOODLING:I think 2005 probably.
GOODLING:In relation to immigration...
KELLER:OK, so 2003, 2004 for gun crimes 2005 for immigration crimes.
GOODLING:To the best of my recollection.
KELLER:Did anyone at DOJ ever say to you, or did you hear or read an e-mail, that she should be fired for prosecuting Duke Cunningham or any other Republican-related official?
GOODLING:No, I don't remember anything like that.
KELLER:Did you ever have any communications with anyone at the White House wherein they suggested that Carol Lam should be fired for prosecuting Duke Cunningham or any other Republican official?
GOODLING:No, I don't remember anything like that.
KELLER:OK.The reason I bring this up is because one of the most controversial things -- and you just hear it in the L.A. Times this week, and I'm looking at an article May 18, 2007.
And I'll just read you what it says:Speaking at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles on Thursday, John McKay, who was the fired U.S. attorney in Washington state, said he suspected that U.S. attorney Carol Lam was removed in San Diego to derail the expanding probe of then-Rep. Randall 'Duke' Cunningham.
You hear that allegation over and over, and yet I have the documents here, the first of 20 members of Congress to complain about Carol Lam not prosecuting illegal immigration was February 2, 2004, from Darrell Issa, which was circulated to Department of Justice, the White House and Carol Lam.
I hear from you that you had heard complaints about not enforcing gun control gun crimes in 2003, 2004, and you had heard complaints about not enforcing immigration-related prosecutions in 2005.
And yet, the San Diego Tribune did not even break the initial story of Duke Cunningham until June 12, 2005, which is a full 14 months after Congressman Issa wrote the first of many letters complaining about her not enforcing alien immigration laws, which makes it literally impossible that she was fired as a pretext for Duke Cunningham because all the problems were occurring, as we hear from the documents and your testimony and others, before the story even broke about Duke Cunningham.
And, in fact, when I had Carol Lam right here, I asked her, Do you have any evidence whatsoever that you were fired because of Duke Cunningham?
KELLER:She said no.
When I had the U.S. attorney here, Did you fire her because of Duke Cunningham?:No.
I've looked at 10,000 documents, e-mails, many witness interviews, testimony, not a shred of evidence.But I still see (inaudible) that we saw in the L.A. Times this week saying that our attorney general's a criminal because he let Ms. Lam go because she prosecuted Duke Cunningham.
I'm happy that we were able to set the record straight with your testimony that the problems that she incurred dealing with illegal immigration and gun crimes far predated the breaking of the Duke Cunningham story.
And I will yield back the balance of my time.
CONYERS:The chair is pleased now to recognize the gentlelady from California, a distinguished member of our committee, Maxine Waters.
REP. MAXINE WATERS, D-CALIF.:Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
This hearing is absolutely necessary to continue the work that we must do to determine whether or not the Justice Department is free of political influence.So I'm very pleased that we have this hearing here today.
I'd like to ask our witness here today, why did you resign from your position?
GOODLING:There were several reasons, but the primary and most important one to me was that I just felt I couldn't be effective in the role anymore.My job required me to work with U.S. attorneys every day, and after being a part of this effort I just -- I didn't think that that was a -- realistic.
WATERS:As I understand it, before you went to the Justice Department you worked for the Republican National Committee?
WATERS:What did you do there?
GOODLING:I was -- my last position there was to be the deputy director of research and strategic planning.
WATERS:Did you do opposition research?
GOODLING:Yes, we did.
WATERS:And I understand it that you worked with Ms. Barbara Comstock.
WATERS:And she left the Republican National Committee, working with you on opposition research, and went over to head the press office.
WATERS:Is that right?
WATERS:And you went over about that same time?
GOODLING:A month later.
WATERS:Did you use any of your opposition research skills once you were at the Justice Department?
GOODLING:I think -- most of what opposition research is, and it tends to be a kind of negative term, is really just being able to use Westlaw...
WATERS:No, I know what it is.
I want to know if you used the skills that you had developed at the Republican National Committee once you had gone over to the Justice Department.
GOODLING:I certainly used Westlaw and Lexis.
WATERS:You used your opposition skills.In what way did you use them?Did you use them to do research on U.S. attorneys or anyone else when you were over there?
GOODLING:I did research people that we were considering for hiring, yes.
WATERS:Did you use them in terms of -- happen to make decisions about who should be retired?
Just -- we would get resumes from a number of sources.And you would Google people or Westlaw -- do Westlaw checks.You wanted to know if there's something negative about someone before you hired them to work at the department.
WATERS:But do you have a human resources division that's primarily responsible for doing that kind of work for you?
GOODLING:No.No.For political appointees, I and my assistant -- my deputy -- were pretty much it.
Occasionally we would ask younger staff to help.But we didn't have a staff to do that.
WATERS:So you basically was responsible for doing whatever research was necessary in the responsibility that you had for hiring? Is that right?
WATERS:Did you ever discuss any other research that you had done or discovered with Mr. Karl Rove?
WATERS:Anyone in his office?
GOODLING:Research on people?I think I had conversations with Scott Jennings or Jane Cherry...
WATERS:Well, let's think a little bit deeper.
Some of the research that you had done, where you had used your skills that you had developed doing opposition research, you may have used as you reviewed political appointees...
GOODLING:Political appointees, yes.
WATERS:... for hiring.And then did you discuss what you had discovered or found out about with Mr. Rove or anybody in his office?
GOODLING:Not Mr. Rove.
WATERS:Anyone in his office?
GOODLING:From time to time, I would talk to people in the Office of Political Affairs, and they would ask well:What do you think about this candidate or what do you think about this candidate?
And I might:Say, oh, well, I checked this person out, and, you know, for whatever reason, I don't think that they're the best fit for it.
WATERS:Did you document your research?Is it on file somewhere?
GOODLING:I didn't really keep that kind of file normally. Normally if I found something that was negative about someone, we didn't hire them.And I wouldn't have necessarily retained that...
WATERS:Do you have files that may have information in it that you gathered doing your research, using your opposition research skills?
GOODLING:There would be some files, yes.
WATERS:Where would those files be?
GOODLING:At the Department of Justice.
WATERS:Would you support us having access to those files?
GOODLING:That's really not a call for me to make...
WATERS:Well, not that your decision would be one to determine it.Just in terms of all of the problems that we have, do you think it would be helpful for us to understand how it operated over there by having those files?
GOODLING:I don't know that my opinion would be relevant in any way.And it certainly wouldn't be my call.That would be something I think that the committee would need to take up with the department.
WATERS:Your opinion would be very relevant.
Let me just ask about in preparing for...
CONYERS:The time of the gentlelady has expired.
WATERS:Thank you very much.
The chair recognizes Darrell Issa, the gentleman from California.
REP. DARRELL ISSA, R-CALIF.:Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And let me go through some areas on which your testimony really is relevant.
June 15th, 2006, the letter -- the scathing letter about Carol Lam that was written by Senator Dianne Feinstein, one of the key appointers and confirmer of Carol Lam -- wasn't that relevant to her firing?
GOODLING:I think that the concerns about her immigration work certainly were relevant to her firing.And I know that the fact that membess of Congress had concerns with her on those issues was something that we definitively talked about.
ISSA:So for three years there had been a constant drip, drip of Carol Lam not supporting the president's stated policy of enforcing the federal gun laws and doing it throughout the country.
This wasn't something he was asking for in southern California, he was asking for and getting it everywhere, including other parts of California.The president was seeking and is still seeking a comprehensive guest worker program that requires that there be a belief that there would be valid enforcement.
And yet Carol Lam was not going after coyotes.Just the opposite, she set standards so hard to reach that basically the Border Patrol complained to people like myself and other congressmen that they couldn't do their job because they couldn't meet the litmus test. Even after somebody was arrested 20 times, on the 21st time she still wouldn't prosecute.
Isn't that a factor in the firing of Carol Lam?
GOODLING:I believe it was.
ISSA:Now, Carol Lam has, to her credit, some high-profile cases, but isn't it true that U.S. attorneys have to implement the policy uniformly around the country if they're to be effective that if, in fact, you can get away with certain types of crime in a certain area crime will morph to those areas?Isn't that true?
GOODLING:Uniformity is certainly important.
ISSA:Now, do you know -- earlier you were asked about opposition research.Isn't it true that when people are being put up for confirmation positions that the FBI does an intensive search of their background, that opposition research isn't even a factor on political appointees because in fact there is a thorough vetting through the FBI?
GOODLING:The FBI is certainly much better at research than I am.
ISSA:OK.So the whole idea that somebody would go on LexisNexis to do op research when in fact you're looking at people that are disclosing in voluminous forms their entire background, and then having the FBI go through extensive checks, that's just pretty preposterous, isn't it?
GOODLING:I don't know that I would comment on the preposterous...
ISSA:Well, I guess I will for you in this case.
Now, Carol Lam, among other things, also chose to prosecute not once, but twice, her own cases, spending weeks in front of jury trials.Isn't that a little unusual, a little bit of grandstanding when you're talking about somebody who has to oversee so many other assistant U.S. attorneys?
GOODLING:It was fairly unusual in extra-large offices where you had hundreds of staff members to supervise, for a U.S. attorney to do so much trial work.And that's...
ISSA:So isn't that also a factor in the firing of Carol Lam?
GOODLING:It was something I heard discussed, yes.
ISSA:OK.Well, let's talk about Carol Lam, because Mr. Keller mentioned that members had made these complaints.Well, I'm the member.I'm the member who saw somebody who would not enforce stated national policy and brought this to the attention of Attorney General Ashcroft and then the Attorney General Gonzales.And, quite honestly, I spoke to the president directly on my concerns, and I'm not ashamed of it.
But let's go through Carol Lam.Carol Lam was not a Republican, isn't that correct?
GOODLING:I actually don't know.Someone told me she was an Independent but I never checked her voter registration.
ISSA:Right.Well, I have.It's public in California.So let's go through this.She was a career professional assistant U.S. attorney, right?
ISSA:So this administration, even though it has the absolute right to make political appointments based on party registration and party loyalty and loyalty to the president appointed a career professional in San Diego.
GOODLING:Yes, actually.We did that in a lot of districts.
GOODLING:And I supported that.In many cases, career professionals have the best backgrounds for the job.
So you were looking for people who had an obligation to deal with a policy for which the American people had chosen.But you looked to career professionals.
Isn't it also true that when people turned in their resignations or left for any reason, you also looked very often to the existing career professionals inside the U.S. attorney's office?
ISSA:So here we have an absolute right to make political appointments based on party registration, party loyalty and support of the president.And yet you chose to be non-partisan very often.And yet that's not being heard here today.
GOODLING:I'm afraid I don't have a comment on that.
ISSA:Well, I think my comment will stand on that.
Last but not least, is there any reason that this group of Republicans and Democrats -- there's not an independent sitting here -- should be surprised that the Clinton administration appointed Democrats and disproportionately made lifetime appointments for federal judges by people who were Democrats.I run into them all the time.
Isn't it, in fact, absolutely the right of a president elected by the American people to choose people who will support his policies and that in fact when you did that you were doing what was your right, and when you chose not to, was actually the exception that should be noted here today?
GOODLING:I think presidents of both parties have the right to pick the people to serve them.
And, hopefully, the chairman will respect the fact that, perhaps today, we have concentrated on whether or not the president has a right to choose people in his own party when, in fact, that's not the debate here today and shouldn't be.Thank you.
CONYERS:The chair is pleased to recognize the only state prosecutor on the committee, the gentleman from Massachusetts, Bill Delahunt.
REP. BILL DELAHUNT, D-MASS.:Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you for your appearance here today.And I just want to speak about the process -- the hiring process and the termination process.It came to me as a surprise that someone of your experience -- and I say this respectfully -- was delegated by the attorney general, via an executive order, that bypassed Mr. McNulty, that was extraordinary in its powers and authority to someone of your limited experience in terms of your legal experience.
Were you familiar with that order?
DELAHUNT:That's -- you answered my question.What came to me as a surprise -- and maybe you can explain to us why the executive order by the attorney general bypassed Mr. McNulty who is the second in command.And as an addendum to that order, a so-called control sheet, it was stated that he was not to be made aware of the order.
I find that disturbing in terms of having a professional process that wasn't about political appointees, but was about career and interim appointees.
DELAHUNT:That I find very disturbing.
GOODLING:I'd like to explain to you what the reason was.
GOODLING:This issue came up late in the fall of 2005.The Justice Management Division notified me that they had determined that the deputies attorney general going back many years -- or at least a long period of time, maybe even into the previous administration -- had been signing off on personnel actions that had never been delegated to them, and in some cases had further delegated those decisions to others.And they told me that David Margolis was one of those individuals that had made some decisions.
There had never been a delegation of the personnel authority down to the deputy attorney general, and no ability for that individual to further delegate.And they had realized that they had a problem, that there had been all these personnel actions that had been signed off...
DELAHUNT:Let me just interrupt, because my time is limited.
But why not notify the existence of the executive audit to Mr. McNulty, who was the second in command of the attorney general?
Why a specific statement -- a specific statement that Mr. McNulty was not to be notified regarding this executive order that was vetted and caused considerable controversy, considerable controversy within the Department of Justice itself, according to a report in the National Journal?
GOODLING:I actually don't think it did generate controversy. It was...
DELAHUNT:Well, according to -- are you familiar with the article that I'm referring to?
GOODLING:I did read the article.And I found it not to be very accurate.
GOODLING:There was not actually a decision not to notify him of the attorney general's order -- it actually was an attorney general's order, not an executive order.
DELAHUNT:I meant an attorney...
GOODLING:The decision was made that Mr. Sampson would tell him about it personally.But he didn't sign off on it, because what we were doing -- the first part of this chain was to delegate to the deputy attorney general the authority that people had assumed for many years had already been done.
GOODLING:And people didn't think it was right to ask the deputy to sign off and approve something that would be delegating him authority in some cases, and there was a small portion that removed it.It just seemed to be odd for the deputy to sign off on something that was giving himself authority.
DELAHUNT:OK, I'll accept that.At the same time it did remove some of the authority from him and conferred it upon you and Mr. Sampson.
GOODLING:No, it actually gave him authority that he never had. It gave him personnel authority.
DELAHUNT:Well, let me accept that answer.And, again, let me just make a comment about the process.
You know Mr. Comey -- correct?
GOODLING:Yes, I do.
DELAHUNT:You're aware of his reputation?
DELAHUNT:How would you describe his reputation?
GOODLING:I would describe him as a straight shooter.
DELAHUNT:As a straight shooter.And in terms of his professional legal credentials?
DELAHUNT:They're outstanding.And his testimony before the United States Senate was that those prosecutors that were terminated were outstanding members of the bar, were excellent in terms of their performance.
My only inference is that the process in which you were implicated was a flawed process given the disparity between the experience of those, including yourself, that were involved and that of the true professionals in the Department of Justice like Mr. Comey.
CONYERS:Did you want to respond to that?
GOODLING:I just wanted to say that it wasn't uncommon for one person to have one experience with a U.S. attorney and for someone else to have another.
GOODLING:Sometimes you might work with Mr. Smith on something and find him to be very responsive, and someone else may have a different experience.It wasn't an uncommon thing for people to assess people differently, and that sometimes happened.
CONYERS:But with this Mr. Smith, it's always quite positive.
SMITH:Thank you, Chairman.
CONYERS:The chair reminds our members to allow the witness to complete her responses to their questions.
I'm pleased now to recognize Mike Pence of Indiana.
REP. MIKE PENCE, R-IND.:Thank you, Chairman.
Ms. Goodling, appreciate very much your testimony today.I supported the granting of use immunity in this case because I'm not afraid of facts.I think Abraham Lincoln said it best when he said, Give the people the facts and the republic will be saved.And I'm grateful for your candor coming before this committee today and grateful for your service in that testimony.
I was looking a little bit at your biography.I was piqued by a story on April the 8th in, I think, the Boston Globe that reflected on the harsh spotlight that had been drawn on the administration's tendency -- I'm quoting now -- to hire individuals from, quote, conservative schools with sometimes marginal reputations, close quote.
You're a graduate, I think cum laude, from is it Regent University School of Law and Government, Virginia Beach, Virginia.
GOODLING:I have a master's in public policy and a law degree from Regent, yes.
PENCE:And is it also -- and you don't need to answer this.I think you may know that the attorney general of the state of Virginia is also a graduate of Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
GOODLING:I've heard that.
PENCE:And I would assume you're not terribly concerned about the tendency of a conservative president to hire graduates from conservative graduate schools in this country.
GOODLING:Not at all.
PENCE:Nothing that would concern you about that?
PENCE:Thank you.Well, this graduate of a Christian college appreciates your sentiment about that, and it really leads me to the -- my sense of this -- and I want to ask you just a couple of yes or no questions if I can.
Candidly, Ms. Goodling, I still haven't heard any facts or seen any facts that show anything illegal about the U.S. attorney firings themselves.
PENCE:And I'm trying to focus, as I did when the attorney general was here, on the issue of wrongdoing and of illegality.
When the attorney general came before this committee, he was very candid about mismanagement and administrative errors that were made. And I understand people's harsh criticism of those things.We expected better.We didn't get better.But that's different, it seems to me, from wrongdoing.
And I'm listening very intently.I'm studying this case.And I want to explore this issue of illegal behavior with you.Because it seems to me so much of this -- and even something of what we've heard today in this otherwise cordial hearing -- is about the criminalization of politics.In a very real sense, it seems to be about the attempted criminalization of things that are vital to our constitutional system of government, namely the taking into consideration of politics in the appointment of political officials within the government.
And I want to speak to you about that.So let me see if I can -- since you got a lot better grades, it seems to me, in law school than I did, let me see if I can (inaudible) you here.
Is there anything illegal about the president being served at his pleasure by the people he believes would be best?
PENCE:Is there anything illegal about the president being able to dismiss any of his political appointees for any reason, or for no reason at all?
PENCE:Is there anything illegal under our system about the president taking political considerations into account in determining who his political officials will be?
PENCE:Is there anything illegal about taking those considerations into account since they're vital to the president being held accountable to the people, and especially to the people who elected him?
PENCE:And, lastly:Is there anything illegal about taking those considerations into account since they're just as vital to the president's ability to assure that his officials are accountable to him?
PENCE:Well, with that, I appreciate those straightforward answers.
I -- again, I just would say to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in this committee, I'm troubled about the fact that we seem to be moving ever further down the road of the criminalization of politics.
And I appreciate the testimony that politics can be practiced in political appointments within an administration.
And I yield back the balance of my time.
CONYERS:I thank the gentleman.
The chair is pleased now to recognize Steve Cohen, the gentleman from Tennessee, former state senator.
REP. STEPHEN I. COHEN, D-TENN.:Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Goodling, I've read your vitae and it says that you grew up and you mostly went -- you went to public schools.Is that K through 12?
COHEN:And it says you went to Christian universities in part because of the value they placed on service.
What was the other part, that you chose Christian universities?
GOODLING:I chose them because I had a faith system, and in some cases -- I went to American University for my first year of law school.And then I transferred.
GOODLING:And I enjoyed studying with people that shares a similar belief system that I did.It didn't mean that there wasn't a lot of diversity of discussion, because in some cases I actually found the debate at Regent was much more vigorous than it was at American University my first year of law school.But I enjoyed being surrounded by people that had the same belief system.
COHEN:The mission of the law school you attended, Regent, is to bring to bear upon legal education and the legal profession the will of almighty God, our creator.What is the will of almighty God, our creator, on the legal profession?
GOODLING:I'm not sure that I could define that question for you.
COHEN:Did you ask people who applied for jobs as AUSAs anything about their religion?
GOODLING:No, I certainly did not.
COHEN:Ever had religion discussions come up?
GOODLING:Not to the best of my recollection.
COHEN:Is there a type of student, a type of person that you thought embodied that philosophy of Regent University that you sought out as AUSAs?
GOODLING:In most cases the people at Regent are good people trying to do the right thing who wanted to make a difference in the world.If the question is if I was looking for people like that, the answer is yes.I wasn't necessarily looking for people who shared a particular faith system.I don't have any recollection that that entered into my mind at any point.But certainly there are a lot of people who applied to work for this president because they share his same faith system and they did apply for jobs.
COHEN:Are there a lot of -- an inordinate number of people from Regent University Law School that were hired by the Department of Justice while you were there?
GOODLING:I think we have a lot more people from Harvard and Yale.
Is it a fact -- are you are of the fact that in your graduating class 50 to 60 percent of the students failed the bar the first time?
GOODLING:I'm not -- I don't remember the statistics, but I know it wasn't good.I was happy I passed the first time.
COHEN:Thank you.That was good.
You mentioned in your opening statement Mr. Charlton was a problem district, based on complaints you'd heard about unauthorized discussion with members of Congress.
Who told you about the violation of that departmental policy?
GOODLING:I think I was aware of it in part because I was in the executive office and complaints would come to me.I don't remember specifically who.But it was something I believe that had happened more than once, and I heard about it from different people at different times.
COHEN:And what are unauthorized discussions with members of Congress?
GOODLING:Almost any.We would encourage U.S. attorneys if they knew a member of Congress personally and they got invited to a birthday party or something like that, of course we didn't necessarily care if they went to the birthday party.
But if there was going to be a discussion about the Department of Justice, the policy was that they would talk to the department before they had those conversations and certainly before they asked or made any requests or stated any position.
COHEN:You also mentioned that Mr. Vines was a problem district. He's from the Middle District in Tennessee, or was.Who gave you that information and what was the reason that was a problem district?
GOODLING:I actually believe I heard most of the information from Robin Ashton in the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys.When I got to that office, she told me that that was an office that has had a lot of problems -- and they were historical problems.
COHEN:What were the problems?Define problems.
GOODLING:There were -- there was a lot of turmoil among the staff.Different camps of people that weren't working together.And the U.S. attorney, I was told by Ms. Ashton, had actually hired a management analyst to come into the office and analyze the career people that worked for him.
GOODLING:And that involved some of the career staff being asked to go to -- as she told me -- to the best of my recollection, anyway, a cabin with the management consultant and her psychiatrist for the weekend and be analyzed...
... and then they would come back and send the reports to the U.S. attorney.And the U.S. attorney thought that this would help him understand his staff.
It was a very bizarre tale and I may not be remembering it correctly.But in any case, the career staff in that office didn't appreciate being asked to be analyzed.And it caused some turmoil...
COHEN:And I understand Mr. Vines was the subject, possibly, of an age discrimination suit.Is that accurate?
GOODLING:I think there were actually multiple age discrimination suits.
COHEN:Do you know just what came out of that?
Is that still ongoing?
GOODLING:I believe I heard that one or two of them may be settled and that one might be going to trial.But I don't know.That may have been resolved by now.
COHEN:While you were asked questions, which were accurate, concerning the president's power to hire or fire who he wanted, isn't it a fact that, historically, before this president, there were not U.S. attorneys who were asked to leave or who were fired during their terms or during the term of the president, except in times of scandal or performance-related disagreements?
GOODLING:You know, Mr. Gerston (ph) testified in the Senate, and I was there.And he said that he did not think it was unprecedented.He thought it had happened before.But he didn't elaborate, and I never heard that he provided any examples.
You know, U.S. attorneys are confirmed to four years.And it wouldn't surprise me to find that, in the Justice Department's long history, it's happened before.But I can't give you any examples.
COHEN:Thank you, ma'am.
CONYERS:The committee will stand in recess for three votes and a lunch, which will require our returning at two o'clock sharp.
The room will also be cleared except for unauthorized -- except for authorized staff...
... so that the room can be reset.The room will be cleared except for authorized staff.
CONYERS:The witness and her counsel are back.Thank you.
Before we resume questioning, I would note that while a number of members haven't had the opportunity to question our witness, there are a number of questions remaining unanswered.I'd like to make the best of this opportunity while we have Ms. Goodling here.
And I will discuss with our ranking minority member, Mr. Smith, how we might best approach this situation, whether by having a second round of questions or a shorter set period of extended questioning under House rules might be the better way to go.And these discussions have not begun yet.
The committee will resume and Randy Forbes of Virginia is the next person to be recognized.
REP. J. RANDY FORBES, R-VA.:Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Goodling, many of us feared this day would come, but we did not realize it would arrive so soon, when the fact that someone was a Christian would be the subject of a line of questioning as to how someone performed their job at the Department of Justice or any other agency in the United States government.
It's not a good day, nor a good sign of things to come, and I just hope those individuals watching this across the country realize the sea change that's taken place.
In addition, since my district is contiguous to Regent University, I'd like to point out that not only is the attorney general of Virginia a graduate of Regent University, but this year, Regent University students won the American Bar Association's Negotiation Competition February 11, not only beating out 220 teams, but also beating the former winner, Harvard University.
And the American Bar Association, not exactly a bastion of conservatism, has chosen Regent University to compete internationally in their competition.And that Regent has won the ABA's National Appellate Advocacy Competition 11 out of the last 14 years, including placing first for the best brief.
FORBES:Ms. Goodling, I know it's sometimes difficult, when you sit at a table with a hearing like this, when earlier today, you had dozens of cameras snapping in your face, and trying to field questions by 40 members, some of whom we might characterize as, let's say, less than friendly.
At some of our recent hearings, some of our members, you need to know, of this very committee, have said that members of the committee have turned their words around.
And even members of this committee have been unsure of what they said five minutes after they said it, much less five minutes, or five months before, as we expect you to remember.
You've been very gracious in your testimony today, and we just thank you.
You know, we're on a fishing expedition today, to see if there was any politics involved in making what everybody here recognizes as political appointments.
As the distinguished former chairman of this committee stated earlier, quote, there just are not any fish in the pond, end of quote.
Chairman Conyers stated, at the outset of today's hearing that its purpose was to get to the bottom of, quote, any possible, end of quote, wrongdoing, not that there is even any alleged wrongdoing.
The chairman further stated the importance of the Justice Department, quote, fairly and impartially, end of quote, performing its role.
The chairman then talked about making certain employees at the Justice Department were not merely, quote, pawns in a game of politics, end of quote.
So far throughout this hearing, there not only is no evidence of wrongdoing but there is no allegation of any wrongdoing on your part.
What puzzles me, and quite honestly, embarrasses me, is that we do not apply the same standard to ourselves.
FORBES:Currently, we're a nation at war.As such, one of the most important things we can do is to, quote, fairly and impartially, end of quote, appropriate taxpayer funds for military projects.
It's absolutely crucial that these projects not become, quote, pawns in a game of politics, end of quotation marks.
Yet yesterday there was a resolution -- this resolution -- on the floor of the House that was not a fishing expedition, but rather a specific allegation that to the best of my knowledge has not been refuted, that against the rules of this House -- which are contained right here, written and adopted by the majority -- a senior member of the majority and the chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, the very committee that would allocate taxpayer funds to crucial military projects, threatened potential earmarks in the defense appropriations bill of a member of this House not because they were not needed for the defense of this nation, but merely because that member spoke against and voted against a $23 million project that chairman wanted in his own district.
If the same majority that calls these hearings today voted yesterday to not even discuss, to not even look at those unrefuted allegations, I challenge my friends on the other side of the aisle to explain how they justify these actions.
I challenge my friends on the other side of the aisle to explain why it is not as important that the American people have confidence when it comes to allocating their tax dollars for national defense, that the rules of the House should be followed and those allocations made on a quote, fair and impartial, end of quote, basis with an equal or greater priority than we have for political appointees.
FORBES:The reason some do not understand the relevance of those questions is very simple:We do not apply the same standard to ourselves as we apply to you.
For that, I'm sorry, and I want to say you have succeeded in doing what you set out to do today and that is showing your commitment and your good character that led you to a career in public service.
And I just thank you for the graciousness with which you have been here today and for coming and being here this afternoon.
And with that, I yield back, Mr. Chairman.
CONYERS:The chair now recognizes the distinguished gentlemen from Florida, Robert Wexler for his remarks.
REP. ROBERT WEXLER, D-FLA.:Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Goodling, I very much appreciate how difficult it is to sit here for extended periods and answer our questions.With that in mind, I would like to ask you a few questions about some of the things you either stated earlier or alluded to earlier.
You spoke about a meeting that you attended in the White House where Karl Rove was also in attendance.
Was that the meeting at the White House on March 5th that you refer to?
WEXLER:And could you tell us who else was at the meeting?I assume you were there Mr. Rove was there.Who else was at that meeting?
GOODLING:It was a meeting called by the White House Counsel's Office.Fred Fielding was there.Bill Kelley was there.There were some people from White House communications, Dana Perino, I'm not sure of the other, some people from White House political, I believe, but I'm not sure who.It might have been Scott Jennings, but I am not 100 percent.
From the department -- well, you mean the people from the department from the calendar entries.
The other White House people...
WEXLER:Who from the department was there?
GOODLING:Kyle Sampson and myself, the deputy, Mike Elston, Will Moschella, Brian Roehrkasse from our Public Affairs Office.
GOODLING:I'm not positive of the others.I think there were others and they were on a calendar invite that's been released by the department.
Mr. Rove came in late and then left early, but he was there.
WEXLER:Do you recall Mr. Rove, at that meeting, saying that the Department of Justice needed to provide specific reasons why the prosecutors were terminated?
GOODLING:I remember he said something, but I don't remember exactly what the comment was.I remember somebody else from the White House, I believe it was, made some comment and then he emphasized it or re-emphasized it.At least, that's what I remember.But I don't remember the substance of it.
But that's certainly something that did come up, so that might have been the occasion.I just can't remember.
WEXLER:How long was Mr. Rove in the meeting?
GOODLING:You know, I don't remember.Because I don't remember how long the meeting was.I'd guess, maybe, he was there half the time that the rest of us were there.But I didn't fix it in time.
WEXLER:What happened -- what occurred at the meeting?
Could you tell us?
GOODLING:There was a discussion about Will Moschella's testimony and particularly the position the department should take on the legislation.It was very clear -- the White House folks made clear that they did not think that the legislation should be held up, that they just wanted it to pass.
And they made clear that we weren't to take a position against the legislation in the hearing the next day.
WEXLER:Was there any discussion about the termination of the prosecutors?
GOODLING:I remember, at one point, there was a reference to when Tim Griffin's name was submitted to the president for approval. And I checked my book and said that it was June.
GOODLING:I think that's the only comment I made in the meeting. And I think that's the only reference to a specific individual I remember in the meeting.
Mr. Sampson had suggested that maybe the way to conduct the meeting would be for people to read through Mr. Moschella's prepared remarks and then comment on them.So part of the meeting was people reading the remarks and then talking about them.
There was a comment about the department needing to explain its reasons, but I don't remember who made it.But it was made.
WEXLER:There was a comment about the department needing to explain its reasons for...
GOODLING:I believe there was a reference to, the department needs to explain the reasons for the dismissals.Or maybe -- it might have been a comment made by the communications folks that they just wanted people to be clear in the testimony.I can't give you a specific.And I don't know who said it.
WEXLER:Did you go to many meetings at the White House at that time?
GOODLING:No, not that many.
WEXLER:Was that your first, second, third, fourth?
GOODLING:No.I hesitate to guess, maybe 10 or 15.
So the bottom line here is, to the best of your recollection, somebody said, The Department of Justice needs to come up with its reasons why the prosecutors were terminated.It may have been Karl Rove.Or he may have just re-emphasized what someone else said, correct?
GOODLING:There was a comment about people needing to clear about what we did, something along that line.It may have been by the communication people.I just -- I can't tell you any more than I...
WEXLER:Did Karl Rove say anything else in the meeting?Or was that the entire purpose why he came?
GOODLING:I only remember that I feel like he said one thing. But that's all that I have in my memory.
WEXLER:So to the best of your recollection, the reason why Karl Rove spent his valuable time was one.And that was to tell the Department of Justice to come up with reasons why it fired eight or nine prosecutors.
GOODLING:I don't believe anyone said come up with.I believe it was more a matter of, Explain what you've done, but, again, I don't know if that was his comment.I just can't -- I can't recall. I remember that I felt like he interjected one thing into the conversation.
WEXLER:Thank you very much.
CONYERS:Thank you, sir.
The ranking subcommittee on the Judiciary Immigration Committee, Steve King of Iowa.
REP. STEVE KING, R-IOWA :Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Ms. Goodling, for your testimony here today and for the poise with which you've presenting yourself to this committee. And as I listen carefully to the words that you've chosen, I believe it's anything but scripted.I believe that it's a careful analysis of your memory and as truthful as you can possibly be under any circumstances, let alone the circumstances with about $50,000 worth of camera lenses sitting in front of you.
Just to first reflect upon something that I think was responded to very well by Mr. Forbes of Virginia, but I had gone back in the break and took a look at the founding documents of Harvard University, and I find that Harvard University was founded upon Puritan principles, and I would point out that the founder was John Harvard who was a young minister.
And one of the principles was to be consistent with the Puritan philosophy of the first colonists.Many of its early graduates became ministers in Puritan congregations to advance learning and perpetuate into posterity, quote, dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches.
So Harvard was founded to supplement the ministry itself.And then when I looked back on the founding documents of Yale and I find that they wanted to -- they did establish Yale in 1701 as a result of a conservative reaction by congregationalist leaders worried of what they identified as the increasing departure of Harvard College from its Calvinistic heritage.
KING:So then I look at Regent University, which Mr. Forbes has so well laid out their credentials and also your credentials simultaneously -- whether it was advertent or inadvertent.
And here I read, Our students, faculty and administrators share a calling founded on biblical principles to make a significant difference in our communities, our cities, our nations and the world.
So I would submit that Regent is a successor to Yale, which is a successor to Harvard, in being founded upon religious principles.And this nation was founded upon religious principles, as was our Constitution.
So I think it is a laudable thing, not a derogatory thing.And we will on this side of the aisle stand up for all of our principles, our constitutional principles and our Christian principles whenever they are challenged or whenever we have the opportunity without them being challenged.
And I thank you for representing an opportunity to do that today.
I just -- so I dove into the serious part of this discussion -- not that that was not, but the more informative part.And that would be, if I could ask to more fully explain to us the procedures that were adopted, and the reasons for them to be adopted, your role and that of Kyle Sampson in selecting new officials.
What was the reason for that?Could you go into that with some more depth?What was the rationale behind that?
GOODLING:Do you mean the U.S. attorney officials, or...
KING:Yes.Between a U.S. attorney and that -- replacement U.S. attorneys.
Let me just -- I'll make it a little easier.Was there a legacy from the Clinton administration that needed to be addressed?
GOODLING:Do you means in terms of process of hiring, or...
KING:Well, process or rules or policy.
How about regulatory language?
GOODLING:If you're addressing the delegation and the regulation that Mr. Delahunt was asking about earlier, I appreciate the opportunity to explain that a little bit more fully.
There was a discovery that there had not been, in fact, a delegation to the deputy attorney general and that it needed to be corrected.
GOODLING:So what actually happened was the regulation was sent up to the attorney general and I received it as the staff person responsible for things that originated from the Justice Management Division.
And it was really to fix some problems.A second piece of that was a ratification of past personnel actions to make sure that all the decisions that had been made by the deputy attorney general and those he had delegated to in the past were ratified and correctly established.
So that was the second piece of the package.The third piece of the package was to do the delegation to the chief of staff and the White House liaison.And I actually wasn't the White House liaison at the time.
And as I think back on it -- and I may not be remembering everything -- but it was essentially housekeeping.And the regulation was actually giving authority to the deputy attorney general.
It did retain, from the deputy and the associate, personnel authority for their staffs, which was largely historical, but on a more informal basis.
The attorney general's staff, I understood, historically, had some responsibility for working with those staffs.But it established that for the first time.So, in that regard, it did withhold some authority.
But that's a little bit more full explanation of it.
KING:Well, thank you, and I appreciate that.And I would just quickly point into the record that we have important issues before this Congress.
One of them was raised by Mr. Forbes, with regard to the privilege motion that was brought yesterday.
Another one was raised by the gentleman from Wisconsin, in a previous hearing.That had to do with a gentleman who was under investigation, a briber and a bribee, as I recall.And the briber had been sentenced.The bribee has not been addressed.
KING:There's another investigation that has to do with the chairman of the Justice Approps who is sitting over the appropriations of the Justice Committee.
All of these things are far more important than this issue that's before you today.And I will say that this is a circus without a cause, and it's time to drop this issue.
And I thank you for your testimony.
And I yield back.
CONYERS:The chair now recognizes the gentleman from Georgia, a magistrate in his former life, Hank Johnson.
REP. HANK JOHNSON, D-GA.:Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Goodling, I notice you've got three lawyers, fine lawyers, who've been with you today.And you all have been preparing for this event for some time.
Who's paying for your lawyers?
GOODLING:I'm paying for them.
JOHNSON:Has anyone agreed to reimburse you for legal fees?
GOODLING:No.I intend to establish a legal defense fund at some point, but I haven't had the chance to do that yet.
JOHNSON:Well, ma'am, let me ask you this question.On March 1st, 2006, there was an order, order number 2808-2006, entitled Delegation of Certain Personnel Authorities to the Chief of Staff to the Attorney General and the White House Liaison of the Department of Justice.Were you aware of that order when you were hired as White House liaison?
GOODLING:Yes.That's the third piece of the discussion that I was just having.
JOHNSON:And that order granted broad authority to you and the chief of staff, who was Kyle Sampson, to take, quote, final action in matters pertaining to the appointment, employment, pay, separation and general administration, end quote, of a wide range of employees in the Department of Justice, including associate -- assistant U.S. attorneys.Is that not correct?
GOODLING:I actually don't believe that delegation related to AUSAs.
JOHNSON:Well, let me ask you this question.You acknowledged or you stated in your statement to this committee that you do acknowledge that you may have gone too far in asking political questions of applicants for career positions.
JOHNSON:Did those career positions include assistant United States attorneys?
JOHNSON:And about how many times did you exercise that authority with respect to assistant U.S. attorneys?
GOODLING:I don't recall that I interviewed any...
JOHNSON:Would you say that would be 30?40?50?Or more?
GOODLING:I don't -- I don't know that I could -- I don't know that I could estimate.I had waiver requests that came in from time to time, from...
JOHNSON:I'm speaking just of your assistant U.S. attorneys. How many times did you use political questions in your evaluation of assistant U.S. attorneys?
GOODLING:I don't know that I could estimate.Sometimes people came to the department and they were just interested in coming to the department and they interviewed with me for political positions or they were interested in...
JOHNSON:Now, a U.S. attorney's position is not a political position.That's a career position.Correct?I mean...
JOHNSON:How many times did you use that power that you had to hire and fire with respect to hiring of U.S. -- assistant U.S. attorneys and you used political reasons for making a decision not to hire?How many times did you do that?
GOODLING:I can't give you an estimate.
JOHNSON:Would you say less than 50 or more than 50?
GOODLING:I hesitate to give you a reason, just because I can't -- or, an estimate, because I can't remember.I don't think that I could have done it more than 50 times, but I don't know.I just -- there were times when people came to the department and they were interested in career positions or political positions.And those people, I certainly asked political questions of...
JOHNSON:OK.But let me ask you -- let me ask you.These people that you asked...
(UNKNOWN):Mr. Chairman?Mr. Chairman?
Can she finish her answers?This is the fourth time he's interrupted her answer.I'd appreciate letting her finish her answer.
JOHNSON:Mr. Chairman, if I might respond?
CONYERS:You may not respond.
Let's let her just finish her answers, please?
I don't want her to take up all my time, though.Because I'm trying to get forward to some other questions.
GOODLING:I was involved in career hiring in a number of different ways, sometimes because people would come in and they would be interested in different sorts of positions at the same time.And they would sometimes get asked political questions.
When I was looking at waiver requests for AUSA positions...
JOHNSON:OK, this is non-responsive to my question.
GOODLING:I did not normally ask questions.
JOHNSON:All right.Thank you.
Now, did the attorney general know that you were asking political questions of applicants for career positions?
GOODLING:I don't believe that he knew.
JOHNSON:Did the deputy attorney general know that you were asking those kinds of questions of applicants for career positions?
GOODLING:I'm sorry -- it depends on the category.I'm sorry. I was just involved in too many different categories of personnel things to give you straight answers that are going to apply to each one.
JOHNSON:Well, let me ask you this question, then:Who knew that you were asking -- let me ask it this way.Did you discuss the fact that you were asking political questions of applicants for career positions with any of the following:the attorney general, yes or no?
GOODLING:Discuss it, no.I did receive resumes from him of Republicans.
JOHNSON:Did you -- the deputy attorney general, yes or no?
GOODLING:I don't know.
JOHNSON:The associate attorney general or the acting associate attorney general.
CONYERS:The gentleman's time has expired, but please answer the questions.
GOODLING:I don't know specifically, but I do know that I did interview detailees for their offices, and I think that they had a sense that I was looking for people that were generally Republicans to work on their staffs as detailees, and those were people who currently held career positions.So in that category, I would think they had a general sense of that.
JOHNSON:Did anybody in the White House know that you were asked...
CONYERS:Gentleman's time has expired.
(UNKNOWN):Mr. Chairman, may I ask unanimous consent to introduce into the record the documents I think the gentleman was referring to.
CONYERS:Could you let me just -- let us finish this first and I'll recognize you.
(UNKNOWN):I'll wait for an introduction.
CONYERS:Could I suggest to the gentleman from Georgia that he submit any continued line of questioning for the record.And we may go into a second round or work out some sort of circumstance that you may continue on.
JOHNSON:Thank you, sir.
The chair recognizes the gentleman from Florida -- oh wait a minute.You have a unanimous consent request.
(UNKNOWN):Thank you.Thank you, Mr. Chairman.I would just like a unanimous consent to introduce into the record the document that the gentleman of Georgia was referring to, which, by the way, is very careful and narrow in its delegation...
CONYERS:Please just introduce the document, please.
(UNKNOWN):I ask unanimous consent.
CONYERS:Without objection, so ordered.
CONYERS:From Florida, our colleague Tom Feeney is now recognized.
REP. TOM FEENEY, R-FLA.:Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Goodling, just to clarify the last point, there were people interested in jobs at the Justice Department that were not particularly choosy.
FEENEY:They would be happy to serve either as a political appointee or in a career, non-political position.
Is that my understanding of the testimony that you just gave?
GOODLING:Yes.Sometimes people just wanted to work at the department because it's a good place.
FEENEY:And in order to cover the realm -- whole realm of requirements and considerations, there were times when people applying for more than one position, but including political positions, were asked appropriate political questions?
GOODLING:I would interview them as if they were a political appointee.But if I didn't have a political position I could recommend them for, then I would sometimes pass their resumes on to people for consideration for career positions.
And certainly there were other cases where the attorney general or the deputy attorney general or different people gave me resumes of people that they, you know, knew were Republicans and said, You know, would you consider passing these on to someone for consideration?
So a lot of times when somebody sent me a resume, they sent it to me because they knew that I was involved in a lot of hiring, mostly on the political side.And when they sent me the resume, they told me flat-out that the person was a Republican.So I already knew that.
Sometimes when I interviewed people, if I -- even if I wasn't trying to ask them a political question, they would just self-disclose because they knew I was a Republican and they figured it would help them get the job, I assume.
So sometimes people just self-disclose that kind of information to me.And the same thing occurred when I did reference calls.There were times I crossed the line, probably, in my reference calls by asking.But there were other times I didn't, and people just would volunteer the information.
So there were a lot of times that I received information about someone's political affiliation.And I'm just not going to sit here and tell the committee that if I knew it, I could completely exclude it from my brain.Sometimes I knew where they were coming from, and I can't say that it didn't play a factor in what I thought about someone.I'm just being honest.Sometimes it helps them.
FEENEY:Did you have any understanding of how the previous Justice Department worked under President Clinton?Was political considerations ever considered in either political or perhaps career positions, to your knowledge?
GOODLING:I don't know.
FEENEY:You weren't there at the time.
Well, you know, I just want to say that under very difficult circumstances you've conducted yourself with a lot of class and a lot of dignity.Ninety-nine percent of the cameras that were here first thing in the morning are gone.
And I ought to tell you, you've been a huge disappointment to a lot of people that were expecting to find some grand conspiracy of the Justice Department to deny justice to the American people.
FEENEY:So in that sense you've been a huge disappointment.But in another sense you have not been.You said that of the perhaps millions of people watching us at one point during the day, only a few knew you personally.Described yourself as a fairly quiet girl, tries to do the right thing, tries to treat people kindly along the way.I always knew I wanted to grow up and do something to serve or help other people.
And I would say that millions of Americans now know a lot more about you, and they're proud to have somebody like you serving in government, and they understand that this is a huge sacrifice.
And I want to tell you that, you know, when we have such big issues in front of us, it's a shame that we have spent so much time and money and resources on lawyers and investigators for a bottom-line question, and that is, was politics ever considered in the political appointment process or the replacement process of political appointees?
I supported, by the way, issuing a subpoena to you because I thought maybe you had the golden answer and could tell this committee that some huge crime had occurred in order to punish somebody because of an ongoing investigation or try to remove somebody in order to interfere with an investigation.
But in all the time I've spent listening to witnesses and reading materials, I haven't seen one shred of evidence to justify the time that we've taken on this.
The president announced yesterday that there are ongoing terrorist plots to attack us here in the United States.This committee has a lot of work to do fighting terror and crime and a number of other issues.And I just hope that Congress and this committee can get on with the real work and stop the circus.
And I want to thank you for coming today.
With that, I yield back.
CONYERS:The chair recognizes Brad Sherman, the distinguished gentleman from California.
REP. BRAD SHERMAN, D-CALIF.:Thank you.
I'd like to talk to you about your work in hiring nonpolitical folks.And you indicated, just to the last questioner, that sometimes you crossed the line when you were checking their references and you asked whether, you know, they had been involved in politics, and on what side.
Were your superiors at Justice aware that sometimes you crossed the line?
GOODLING:If we're talking about detailees to leadership offices, those are, kind of, confidential policymaking positions.
I think that people generally had a sense that, when I was looking for people to work in the leadership offices, I was looking to bring in people that were going to be working side by side with political appointees and would share those same views.
If you're asking about other categories like immigration judges or BIA members, originally, I was told that we could, particularly in relation to the immigration judges.And I assumed it applied to BIA positions as well.I was told that those factors could be considered.
In relation to...
SHERMAN:So you were told that you could ask political involvement for the BIA judges and the immigration judges?
GOODLING:I was told that, because they were direct appointments by the attorney general, that other factors could be considered.But I actually don't remember asking political questions of those applicants.I generally...
SHERMAN:Who told you that you could ask those questions?
GOODLING:I don't know that anyone told me I could ask the questions.They told me I could consider other factors.
SHERMAN:Who told you you could consider those political factors?
SHERMAN:OK.Also, in looking at the nonpolitical appointees, you've talked about doing Web searches.And I know that you had, you know, used Google or LexisNexis, see what was in the press.
SHERMAN:There are, also, though, some particular Web sites that just focus on people's political contributions.In looking at nonpolitical appointments, did you ever look at FEC.com or TRE.com (ph) or any of the other sites that are pretty much focused on political giving?
GOODLING:Occasionally.Not terribly often.It frankly wasn't very common to find people in the law enforcement area that were active on that site.
But, yes, we did in some cases check those records.
SHERMAN:Even when it was a person who had applied only for a nonpolitical position.
GOODLING:I know we checked them in relation to immigration judges, where we thought that we could consider other factors.And I think that I did in some cases check them for detailees, mostly because I was looking for people that would be working in basically political positions.
I don't have a specific recollection that I did it in an AUSA case, but it's -- I can't rule it out.Sometimes -- I did a lot of research, and sometimes I had a stack of resumes and I flipped through them.And I just -- I don't want to rule out that at some point I did that.
SHERMAN:So, detainees, BIA judges, immigration judges, were all subject, on occasion at least, even if they hadn't applied for any political position, were all, perhaps, subject to an analysis where you were just going to, say, FEC.com or TRE.com (ph) to see their political giving.
GOODLING:Occasionally.Like I said, I actually was too busy to get around to doing it terribly often.And I did sometimes direct staff to -- I would give them resumes and ask them to check them.
But, frankly, we had a lot of other things going on and it didn't often turn up anything and it wasn't very helpful most of the time, anyway, so.
There's been a discussion of Carol Lam's supposed failings.And I know that there was a letter from Senator Feinstein that's in the file of documents given to us where the Justice Department responds and says, She's doing a great job.She's getting -- we're on target to be 40 percent higher on the alien smuggling prosecutions.
SHERMAN:Why would the Justice Department tell Senator Feinstein that these criticisms of Carol Lam were inaccurate and that she was doing a great job, and then go off and fire her, supposedly for not doing a good job?
GOODLING:I think the department tried to address the concerns by saying what good things it could.You know, if you do two cases and then you change it to four, that's 100 percent increase.But four cases in a particular category may not actually be all that great.
I think, you know, the department tried to provide information to assure the senator that there was some good work being done in this area, but maybe not as much good work as the department wanted to have done.
SHERMAN:But it's an extremely convincing letter that Justice sent noting that half the assistant U.S. attorneys in this district prosecute criminal immigration cases.Was there some reason you found this letter unpersuasive?
GOODLING:You know, I'm not sure that I really had any involvement in drafting it.I did hear a lot of discussions about Carol Lam's immigration record, and I remember hearing people feeling like it was difficult to respond to those letters because they wanted to be able...
CONYERS:Gentleman's time has expired.
GOODLING:... we were doing more.
CONYERS:You can finish.
GOODLING:I think the department would have been happier to be able to have an even more positive response, but provided the best response that it could.
The chairman recognizes the gentleman from Texas, Judge Louie Gohmert.
REP. LOUIE GOHMERT, R-TEXAS:Thank you, Mr. Chairman.And I do appreciate the time.
I do think it's noteworthy in all the complaints about inquiries -- complaints about U.S. attorneys, for example, when an election is won by less than 200 votes and they're concerned that despite all the reports of potential voter fraud, that the U.S. attorney doesn't pursue it, that that somehow is offensive to inquire about that.
Yet, when Senator Dianne Feinstein writes a letter concerned about the lack of prosecutions over the immigration issue, not one person on the other side of the aisle has raised any issue about the impropriety of Senator Feinstein sending that letter.
Why?Because it's a good inquiry.Why wouldn't it also be a good inquiry when someone is not pursuing human smuggling that sometimes results in death, pursuing voter fraud?
Now, I realize that our majority is trying to make it easier to vote so nobody's checked and we can't find out about voter fraud -- that seems to be the direction we're headed.But it shouldn't be anything wrong when people are wanting that pursued.
Now, as far as politics playing a role in the appointments, I hate to be the bearer of this news, but politics has always played a role in appointments.I've known of Democrats who were seeking to get Republican appointments, and they would call known Republicans and say, Would you please put in a good word for me, because I know this will be an issue.
And, gee, I appreciate your testimony today.And you seem to believe that you may have done something wrong by saying, Gee, this person may be a liberal Democrat.
Do you have any idea how many people would have wanted your head and contacted the White House if someone like you were put into position and you thought it was a great idea to hire liberal Democrats, the same way that if Bill Clinton had put in a right-wing conservative Republican in a position like yours?His supporters would have had his head.
GOHMERT:Politics is at play.Now, I would also like to point my colleagues to the fact that I had two good friends from law school who were appointed as federal judges in 1992, early in that year. They got a letter from Chairman Biden saying he wouldn't allow politics to keep them from having a hearing and confirmation within three or four months.
Several months later, because of politics, he let those qualified judges down the vine.They were later reappointed and confirmed, showing how they were good qualified.
When President Clinton fired 93 attorneys on the same day, 12 days after Janet Reno was hired, there was no investigation.There was no quarter of a million dollars.
And, frankly, Chairman, I appreciate -- well, I see chair is not here, but when I was a judge, if somebody had a requirement to disclose a discovery to the other side and they presenting it 30 minutes before the hearing, we were either going to exclude that documentation because that was grossly unfair, or there would be a continuance.
And I think it's a little unfair to present these documents that apparently somebody's had for some times that we got 30 minutes before the hearing as a side, and I didn't get until over an hour into it because of the copying.So when some of us have been concerned about the lack of pursuit of justice, I don't see that as a problem.
And I would also point out, when we bring up God and Christianity and question somebody's belief for attending a religious college, that Harvard itself -- if we want to refer to them -- Psalm 8 is on Emerson Hall that houses the Philosophy Department.
GOHMERT:What is man that thou art mindful of him? -- talking to God, from Psalm 8.
The Latin phrase meant truth for Christ and the church, and that was the official motto of Harvard in 1692.
And the rules and precepts of Harvard in 1646 said, Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well the main end of his studies is to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life, and therefore to lay Christ at the bottom as the only foundation.
It is part of the foundation.
And I would also submit to my colleagues that the hate crime bill passed out of this committee and taken to the floor and passed recently leaves an opening.If someone here seems to indicate there's something wrong about being a Christian and someone is induced to commit violence against that Christian, then the person on this committee could possibly be charged under the hate crime bill as the principle for having committed the act of violence.
And I would just encourage my colleagues to consider well your comments and your votes in this committee.I yield back.
JACKSON-LEE:The gentleman's time has expired.
I now recognize the gentlelady from Wisconsin, Ms. Baldwin, for five minutes.
BALDWIN:Thank you.I'm hoping to be able to reach two lines of questioning.We'll see how far we get.The first relates to Attorney General Gonzales' previous acknowledgement that, for a time, Milwaukee U.S. Attorney Steve Biskupic was on the list of people to be terminated.
Do you have any knowledge about who suggested that Mr. Biskupic be placed on this list to be terminated in the first place?
GOODLING:I don't.He wasn't on the January list or the September list...
BALDWIN:I'm aware of that.
GOODLING:... that I saw.And those were the only two I can remember seeing.And those were the only two I can remember seeing. And obviously, he wasn't on the final list.I don't remember hearing anything else about it.
BALDWIN:Do you have any knowledge about why he was placed on that earlier list?
BALDWIN:Did you ever hear of any concerns of any kind about Mr. Biskupic, whether from someone inside the Department of Justice or anywhere else?
GOODLING:I feel like I would read the press clipping every day, and I feel like I did occasionally see stories that involved his office.But I can't remember any, specifically, and I don't remember any discussions about them.
BALDWIN:OK.Did you ever hear of or participate in any discussion of whether Mr. Biskupic was loyal to the president or the administration?
GOODLING:I don't remember any.
BALDWIN:OK.Did you ever hear of or participate in any discussion on whether Mr. Biskupic was sufficiently active in prosecuting alleged vote fraud in Wisconsin?
GOODLING:I just don't remember being a part of any discussion about him at all.
BALDWIN:No discussions at all about Mr. Biskupic.
GOODLING:I don't recall any.Like I said, I may have at some point, but I just don't remember any.
BALDWIN:Mr. Sampson testified that after you joined the attorney general's office, which was before Mr. Biskupic was taken off the list, that he likely would have spoken to you about Mr. Biskupic.
Did you ever have any conversation with Kyle Sampson about Mr. Biskupic?
GOODLING:As I sit here today, I don't remember any.But, you know, I can't rule it out.Sometimes what happened with Mr. Sampson is that we would talk about U.S. attorneys in the context of other jobs that were opening up, like, for example, when the associate attorney general position opened, when the ATF position opened, when the Office on Violence Against Women position opened.
Sometimes, he would say, you know, let's take a look at the U.S. attorneys and see if you see any there we should consider.And so, sometimes I would say, well, what about this one or what about this one or I don't really know much about this one.
And sometimes he would say, Oh, I like that person, you know, or he would have comments.It may have been in a context like that, but I just don't remember -- I just don't remember any conversations about him at all.
BALDWIN:OK.I'm going to turn to a different line of questioning then.You've testified today that after Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty's Senate testimony, that you were concerned about key aspects of his testimony, and you told Kyle Sampson and possibly others that part of his testimony was inaccurate.
Is that correct?
GOODLING:I said that I was concerned about the direction that we were going.I did raise with Mr. Elston that the cadging issue.I said I gave you information the night before.
And his response was he just didn't think that the deputy had had enough time to absorb it and feel comfortable with it.
I remember raising that one with Mr. Elston.
I believe I raised one or two others with Mr. Sampson.
But most of my comments to people, particularly I think Ms. Scalinos and Mr. Moschella, really just related to the fact that I was concerned that we were opening a door to saying bad things about people that had worked for us.
GOODLING:And I just thought -- and I understood that Congress was very interested in the topic.But I just -- I just didn't think that it was the right thing to do, to say negative things about people who had worked for us.
Their service had ended, and we were trying to -- or at least, my understanding was that we were trying to give them the opportunity to leave quietly and peacefully and to have a bright future.And I didn't want to do anything to damage that.
BALDWIN:With regard to Mr. McNulty's Senate testimony -- that you had concerns that key aspects of his testimony were inaccurate -- did you tell Mr. McNulty that you had these concerns?
GOODLING:I don't think I did, no.
BALDWIN:Did you tell the attorney general that you had these concerns?
GOODLING:No, he was on travel at the time.
And you said that you told Will Moschella you thought the testimony would start this issue down a bad road.
Did you tell Mr. Moschella about the inaccuracies that you outlined earlier for our committee?
GOODLING:No, I don't think so.
BALDWIN:If not, why not?
GOODLING:You know, the conversation I had with him was right outside the hearing room.And, you know, I was -- my focus was that I was just -- I was just thinking that -- I just didn't think this was going to be good.I thought it would be bad for the U.S. attorneys involved and bad for the department.I just didn't think it was a good road.
And my -- I was -- my focus was on that.And so I heard other things that I thought weren't quite right, but my focus -- I was so much more focused on the other thought.
I did go back to the department.I mentioned a few things to Kyle.But, again, my focus was really on the direction we were going.
And then -- and Kyle had asked me, Well, what does the deputy think about how the testimony went?
And I said, I don't know.I didn't speak to him.
And then the next morning, you know, I think -- my recollection is that the deputy provided feedback some point at that day that he had spoken to some folks on the Senate side and that they had basically indicated that they just needed a little bit more information and that the issue was going away.
GOODLING:And I think we went through a period of time that we basically thought that it was over, and I think, you know, I think I just moved on to the next thing.I think I moved on to getting the deputy ready for his private briefing, and I just -- I think we thought we were on the way to resolving it, and I just forgot it, I guess.I don't have any other explanation other than that.
JACKSON-LEE:Mr. Franks of Arizona is next, recognized for five minutes.
REP. TRENT FRANKS, R-ARIZ.:Well, thank you, Madam Chair.
Ms. Goodling, I have been so impressed with the way that you've handled yourself here today.I think that your testimony has been not only very credible and sincere, but it's reflected a very conscientious attitude on your part.And I think we are all fortunate to have had your presence in the Justice Department.
I was struck by your written testimony in that the motivation for coming into government and to the place that you came was to try to make a better world, to try to make things better for your fellow human beings.In a sense, that should be the motivation for government in general, you know, as a protector of people's rights and as someone that is dedicated to justice in the human environment.
With that said, you know, I can't help but hear again and again the questions to you related to, were some of these firings or were some of these considerations based on political considerations.
Well, I have to repeat what's oft been repeated here, that that is certainly within the purview of the department, certainly the purview of the president to do exactly that.And I think that if someone is dedicated and believes in what they believe in, they actually sometimes can believes that it serves the cause of justice to appoint people or to maintain people of their persuasion, of their belief structure, because they believe that's best for humanity.
So in a sense you'd be doing something against your own conscience if you didn't consider their persuasion and what they believed in their common pathos with yourself.
FRANKS:With that said, the critical question for this committee and for your department is this thing about justice.And the real issue, if there is one here -- and I have to think that Mr. Sensenbrenner is correct I don't see any fish in the pond here.
But the real question is, did you, at any time, at your stay at the Justice Department, ever seek to prevent or interfere with or affect or influence any particular case or any effort to change the outcome of justice, that is the predicate for your agency, by hiring or firing of threatening to do so any person or any of these U.S. attorneys that are under discussion?
GOODLING:I certainly did not.
FRANKS:Do you know of anyone in your department or the administration that did.
GOODLING:I don't recall anybody ever saying anything like that. I just don't.I can't say that -- I can't testify to what other people were thinking, and I can't testify to what people may have been thinking that they didn't say.
But when we -- we didn't talk about what the reasons were other than Mr. Bogden, at least in conversations I was in, until after it was in progress.And I never heard anybody say anything like that.
FRANKS:Well, I think, again, the reason I mention the questions in such direct terms is because that's really the only question that should be before this committee, even though you've received every other kind imaginable.
And I certainly have seen no evidence of any kind before this committee that says that any of these attorneys were fired because of some effort to change the outcome of a case or to influence a case or to influence or thwart justice.
And, with that, I just want to thank you for coming.Thank you for your service to your country, and I hope the very best in life for you.
FRANKS:I yield back.
JACKSON-LEE:Gentleman's time has expired.
I recognize the distinguished gentleman from California, Mr. Schiff, for five minutes.
REP. ADAM B. SCHIFF, D-CALIF.:Ms. Goodling, I'd like to ask you about some of the criteria that you and others in the Justice Department used to put people on the list to be fired.
SCHIFF:I think you testified with respect to Mr. Iglesias that there was a discussion about the rationale for his being on the list. Someone mentioned he was an absentee landlord.Someone else mentioned that there was an improper delegation of authority.
I think the documents reveal that those justifications were not learned until after he was placed on the list.But I'll cover that later.
Let me assume for the moment that that's a legitimate consideration.If a U.S. attorney delegated too much of his authority to the first assistant U.S. attorney, that might be a reason to place him on a list to be fired.Is that right?
GOODLING:It could be.
SCHIFF:So if he delegated some of the most important decisions in the office -- decisions over hiring key people like the head of a corruption section -- and delegated that away, that might be a reason to put him on the list?
GOODLING:I think that you would look at the totality of circumstances in every case.But that might be a factor you would consider.
SCHIFF:And if you remove someone who was doing a corruption investigation in his office without good reason, in a way that interfered with the investigation, that would be a good reason to put him on a list to be fired?
GOODLING:I don't know the specifics of what you may be referring to.
SCHIFF:No, but I'm just asking you generally -- that would be a good reason to be put on a list.
GOODLING:I don't know.
SCHIFF:The U.S. attorney sets the tone in the office.If the U.S. attorney's mismanagement of his office results in low morale, and that morale affects the quality of the work done by the office and the reputation of the office, that might be a legitimate reason to put him on a list to be fired, right?
GOODLING:In some cases, morale can be improved.In some cases, you do need to make a change.
But, again, it's going to be the totality of the circumstances.
SCHIFF:If Mr. Iglesias or any other U.S. attorney came before Congress and testified incompletely or inconsistently, or lacked credibility, that might be a reason to put him on a list to be fired, right?
Certainly if someone testifies incompletely or inconsistently, or not fully truthfully, that would be reason to be fired, wouldn't it?
GOODLING:I mean, I think you'd have to look at the circumstance.It's not easy to sit here and answer questions and try to give you complete answers.But, you know, I don't know.
I mean, obviously, it would be something that you would have to look at.
SCHIFF:If -- in the case of Mr. Iglesias or any other U.S. attorney -- the senators from that state, even senators of the same party, expressed a loss of confidence, as the attorney general testified, that might be a reason to place them on the list to be fired.
GOODLING:I think that that could be a factor you would consider in some cases.
SCHIFF:And if a U.S. attorney or any other key Justice Department official demonstrated an excess of loyalty, loyalty more to the person that hired them or responsible for their jobs than to uphold the laws and faithfully execute their office, that might be a reason to put them on a list to be fired, right?
GOODLING:I'm not sure that I understand.
SCHIFF:Well, you said the totality.Let's add up that totality of circumstances.You have a U.S. attorney or a top law enforcement official in the department who improperly delegates his authority, whose actions cause morale in the office to plummet, whose testimony before Congress is incomplete and inconsistent, who's lost the confidence of senators even of his own party, and who creates the impression that his loyalty takes a higher priority than his duty to uphold the laws and the Constitution, the totality of those circumstances would certainly warrant a position on the list to be fired, wouldn't it?
GOODLING:That wouldn't be my call to make.
SCHIFF:By that standard, Ms. Goodling, shouldn't someone have placed the attorney general himself on the list to be fired?
GOODLING:That wouldn't be my decision to make.
SCHIFF:That would be the president's decision, correct?
SCHIFF:But morale has plummeted in the department, hasn't it?
GOODLING:You know, I've left the department and I'm not in a position to be able to answer the question.
SCHIFF:The attorney general's testimony was inconsistent with his prior statement that he was not in any meeting or involved in any discussion of the firings.Wasn't that inconsistent?
GOODLING:I do think there were some inconsistencies.
SCHIFF:Senators of the attorney general's own party have lost confidence in his performance, haven't they?
GOODLING:I've seen newspaper accounts, but I have no firsthand knowledge other than that.
SCHIFF:The attorney general has certainly created a perception, if not a reality, that his loyalty to the president is a higher priority to him than faithfully executing the duties of his office. Wouldn't you agree?
GOODLING:I don't know what my perception of that would be.I worked for him and I thought he was a good man, and I thought he tried hard.I just don't know that I can express an opinion on that.I just don't -- I don't, frankly, know what I think about the topic.
SCHIFF:I have no further questions.
JACKSON-LEE:Time of the gentleman has expired.
I recognize the distinguished gentleman from Alabama.The gentleman is recognized for five minutes.
REP. ARTUR DAVIS, D-ALA.:Let me pick up on my colleague's questions.As you know, you're no longer at the department.Mr. McNulty is no longer at the department.The person who remains at the department is, frankly, Attorney General Gonzales.
And as you may or may not be aware, Mr. Schiff and I have introduced a no-confidence resolution for the House to vote on considering Mr. Gonzales.As you also may be aware, there's a similar resolution in the United States Senate.
So I want to pick up on his focus on the person who's still there, the attorney general of the United States.
Going back to your testimony earlier today, Ms. Goodling, General Gonzales testified that he never saw the U.S. attorneys list, the list of terminated U.S. attorneys.
DAVIS:Is that accurate to your knowledge, Ms. Goodling?
GOODLING:I believe he did see a list.
DAVIS:So if General Gonzales testified that he didn't see the list, you believe that would be inaccurate testimony on his part, don't you?
GOODLING:I believe he saw a list.
DAVIS:So therefore you believe it would be inaccurate testimony.
DAVIS:If General Gonzales testified that he had never been briefed about the list, do you believe that would be accurate or inaccurate testimony?
GOODLING:I believe it would be inaccurate.
DAVIS:Are there any other inaccuracies in the testimony that General Gonzales gave the Senate that you are able to share with us?
GOODLING:I don't know that I saw all of it.
DAVIS:Let me help you a little bit with one other one.The attorney general testified that he was not involved in any discussions about the U.S. attorney firings.Do you believe that to be accurate or inaccurate?
GOODLING:He was certainly at the November 27th meeting.
DAVIS:So you believe that to be another piece of inaccurate testimony, don't you, Ms. Goodling?
DAVIS:And when did you first become aware that the attorney general had made inaccurate statements to the United States Senate?
GOODLING:Actually, I should clarify -- I think those were statements that he made in a press conference, not in testimony.
DAVIS:Well, I've actually represented to you some of it came in testimony.But I wouldn't waste valuable time quibbling over that.
When did you first become aware there were inaccuracies in General Gonzales' public account?
DAVIS:You've mentioned three.
JOHN DOWD, AKIN GUMP STRAUSS HAUER FELD:See the testimony?
DAVIS:Mr. Dowd, as I understand, you're not a participant in these proceedings.
Ms. Goodling, would you like me to repeat the question?
(UNKNOWN):Ms. Chairwoman, he's been asking her specific questions about testimony allegedly made by the attorney general.We know he's testified several...
DAVIS:Madam Chairwoman, I would ask for a ruling that I be allowed to continue my questions of the witness.
(UNKNOWN):Well, I'll make my point of order first.My point of order is...
JACKSON-LEE:The gentleman may proceed.
(UNKNOWN):Point of order is that the witness has been asked questions purportedly to ask her opinion concerning testimony allegedly given by the attorney general.He has cited testimony here in the House and testimony in the Senate.The witness has said that she believes he's talking about...
DAVIS:Madam Chairwoman, I asked for a ruling on a point of order.
(UNKNOWN):... that she was -- it was her understanding...
DAVIS:Madam Chairwoman, I asked for a ruling on a point of order.
JACKSON-LEE:If the gentleman will suspend, let me allow the gentleman to finish...
(UNKNOWN):She has just stated that the comments she was referring to went to a press conference that the attorney general made, not to testimony.
Now, in the matter of fairness, if the gentleman is going to press his question, the witness has the right to look at the documents to which he is referring and answer the questions...
DAVIS:Madam Chairwoman, I asked for a ruling or a statement of a point of order.
JACKSON-LEE:The gentleman from California has not made a parliamentary inquiry.
I think the line of questioning of the gentleman, point of order, the line of the questioning of the gentleman from Alabama is an appropriate line of questioning, and I would allow the gentleman to proceed.
DAVIS:Ask that the time be restored.
JACKSON-LEE:Mr. Dowd, let me also indicate that I appreciate the role that you play, but you are to counsel the witness.You're not a participant in the hearing.
I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from Alabama may proceed.
DAVIS:Madam Chairwoman, can my time be restored, given the...
JACKSON-LEE:It has been suspended and your time has been restored.
(UNKNOWN):Madam Chairman, on that, I appeal the ruling of the chair.
JACKSON-LEE:The ruling of the chair has been appealed.
GOODLING:Madam Chairwoman, I'd like to consult with my attorney.
(UNKNOWN):I move to table.
(UNKNOWN):The question is on the?
JACKSON-LEE:The question is on the move to table.
The question is on the move to table.All those in favor say aye.
All those opposed no.
JACKSON-LEE:The ruling of the chair -- the ruling of the chair, the ayes have it.
(UNKNOWN):I ask for a recorded vote.
JACKSON-LEE:A recorded vote has been called.The clerk is not present.This committee stands in recess.
(UNKNOWN):Until what time?
JACKSON-LEE:Until such time as the chair recalls or calls the committee.
(UNKNOWN):Well, what do we tell the witness under these circumstances?
JACKSON-LEE:The witness has asked for a consultation time with her lawyer.That will be granted at this time, and we will call the committee in recess at this time.
(UNKNOWN):Well, I object, Madam Chairwoman.Can I proceed with other questions and move on and allow the chair to take up this issue and have a separate vote later?
JACKSON-LEE:Yes, does the gentleman suspend?
We have to suspend at this time, so the hearing is now in recess.
(UNKNOWN):Madam Chairman, parliamentary inquiry.
JACKSON-LEE:The motion on the floor is for a recorded vote on the motion to table.
(UNKNOWN):Madam Chairman, parliamentary inquiry.
(UNKNOWN):Madam Chairman, you've stated that we're in recess but it's my understanding we couldn't go in recess without -- if there was an objection and there was an objection to the recess.
JACKSON-LEE:Well, the chair has ruled that we are in the process of finding the clerk, and so we are recessing for that purpose.I heard the objection.The objection is heard.
(UNKNOWN):You cannot recess under the rules of this House unilaterally.
(UNKNOWN):Well, there is a report...
(UNKNOWN):And we can't stop the business of the House because a clerk is not here.Members are here.We've asked for a vote on the motion to table.
(UNKNOWN):A point of order.This is a recorded vote that was requested.You can't recess when that -- that's non-debatable.You go to it.
JACKSON-LEE:Let me yield to the gentleman -- is the gentleman seeking recognition, Mr. Schiff?
SCHIFF:Yes, Madam Chair.
JACKSON-LEE:Are you seeking recognition.
SCHIFF:I am seeking recognition.
JACKSON-LEE:You are recognized, Mr. Schiff.
SCHIFF:Yes, since there's no one to record the vote...
JACKSON-LEE:The clerk is now here.
SCHIFF:OK.Well, that answers my question.
JACKSON-LEE:The question is now on the motion to table.And the clerk will call the roll.
Mr. Berman votes aye.
CLERK:Mr. [REP. RICK BOUCHER, D-VA.] Boucher?
Mr. Scott votes aye.
CLERK:Mr. Watt votes aye.
CLERK:Ms. Lofgren votes aye.
CLERK:Ms. Jackson-Lee votes aye.
CLERK:Ms. Waters vote aye.
Mr. [REP. MARTIN T.] Meehan [D-Mass.]?
(UNKNOWN):Point of order, Madam Chairman.The photographers in the well are interfering with the witness' opportunity to consult with counsel.
I would ask that we...
(UNKNOWN):Madam Chair (inaudible) ask the vote continue.Ask that the vote continue.
JACKSON-LEE:I'd ask that the gentleman from California would suspend.And I'd ask that the vote continue.And I'd ask that if counsel are disturbed by any photographers, please advise the clerks or officials, and we will address that question.
Would the vote proceed, please?
CLERK:Ms. Sanchez votes aye.
CLERK:Mr. Johnson votes aye.
REP. LUIS V. GUTIERREZ, D-ILL.:Aye.
CLERK:Mr. Gutierrez votes aye.
Mr. [REP. ANTHONY] Weiner? [D-N.Y.]
CLERK:Mr. Schiff votes aye.
CLERK:Mr. Davis votes aye.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz?
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ, D-FLA.:Aye.
CLERK:Ms. Wasserman Schultz votes aye.
REP. KEITH ELLISON, D-MINN. :Aye.
CLERK:Mr. Ellison votes aye.
CLERK:Mr. Coble votes no.
Mr. [REP. STEVE] Chabot [R-OHIO]?
CLERK:Mr. Lungren votes no.
CLERK:Mr. Cannon votes no.
CLERK:Mr. Keller votes no.
CLERK:Mr. Forbes votes no.
CLERK:Mr. King votes no.
CLERK:Mr. Franks votes no.
CLERK:Mr. Gohmert votes no.
Mr. [REP. JIM] Jordan [R-OHIO]?
JACKSON-LEE:Are there other members in the chambers who wish to cast their vote?
Gentleman from Florida?
JACKSON-LEE:Gentleman from Florida, did you cast your...
CLERK:Mr. Wexler votes aye.
JACKSON-LEE:Gentleman from California?
GALLEGLY:I vote no.
CLERK:Mr. Gallegly votes no.
JACKSON-LEE:Gentleman from California?
(UNKNOWN):I vote yes.
JACKSON-LEE:Any other members of the chamber?
Gentleman from California?
(UNKNOWN):I'm from Florida.
JACKSON-LEE:That's Mr. Lungren.He gave the wrong information -- listening to the ranking member.
JACKSON-LEE:I'll have the gentleman recorded...
CLERK:Mr. Delahunt is not recorded?
DELAHUNT:I was not.
CLERK:Mr. Delahunt votes aye.
JACKSON-LEE:Any other members in the chamber?
JACKSON-LEE:Any other members wishing to vote that have not cast their vote?
The clerk will report.
CLERK:Seventeen members voted aye eight members voted nay.
JACKSON-LEE:And the motion failed.
DAVIS:May I resume, Madam Chairwoman?
The motion to table passes.The gentleman's motion does not pass.
CLERK:Excuse me.It was 17 aye and nine nay.
JACKSON-LEE:Thank you.The clerk has corrected.And the motion to table passes.
DAVIS:May I resume, Madam Chairwoman?
JACKSON-LEE:That you may.And your minutes are two minutes and 19 seconds.We suspended the clock.
DAVIS:And that's restored time, Madam Chairwoman?
JACKSON-LEE:That is restored time.
DAVIS:Thank you, Madam Chairwoman.
DAVIS:Ms. Goodling, I apologize for the interruption.Let me go back to you, and I'll give the clerk a chance to leave, so you can get set up.
Ms. Goodling, when did you first become aware that the attorney general made public statements that you thought were inaccurate?
GOODLING:I'm not sure.I think I saw the press conference that day, and it struck me that it wasn't right, but I couldn't put my finger on it right away.
DAVIS:Did you communicate to the attorney general that you felt his statements weren't right?
GOODLING:I don't think I did.I can't remember what day it was, but I don't remember that I did.
DAVIS:Did you read any of the newspaper accounts of the attorney general's testimony to the United States Senate?
GOODLING:I saw some of his Senate testimony, yes.
DAVIS:Were there aspects of his Senate testimony that you thought were inaccurate, based on what you read?
GOODLING:I've read so many things, trying to prepare for today, that I'm afraid some of it's pretty muddled.If you have a particular statement to ask me about, it might help me.
DAVIS:Well, let me come at it this way.
DAVIS:Did you communicate to Mr. McNulty that you felt that attorney general's public statements, whether to the press or the committee, were not accurate?
GOODLING:No, definitely not to Mr. McNulty.
DAVIS:Did you point -- well, did you communicate to anyone that you felt the attorney general's statements, either to the committee or to the public, were not accurate?
GOODLING:No.I think that was -- that was right toward the end of my time at the department, and I don't think I was really...
DAVIS:When is the last time you spoke to the attorney general, Ms. Goodling?
GOODLING:I spoke to him the Thursday or Friday my last full week at the department, and then I took leave the following...
DAVIS:Do you have a good memory of that conversation, Ms. Goodling?
GOODLING:I have memory of some of it.
DAVIS:Was there any part of that conversation that made you uncomfortable?
DAVIS:Would you tell the committee about it?
GOODLING:I had decided that I couldn't continue working on his staff because of the circumstances.I felt that I was somewhat paralyzed.I just felt like I -- I was distraught.And I felt that I wanted to make a transfer.
So I went back to ask him if it would be possible for me to transfer out of his office.He said that he would need to think about that.And I think he was, you know, trying to, you know, just trying to chat.I was on his staff.But he then proceeded to say, Let me tell you what I can remember.And he kind of -- he laid out for me his general recollection of...
DAVIS:Recollection of what, Ms. Goodling?
GOODLING:Of some of the process.
DAVIS:Some of the process regarding what?
GOODLING:Some of the process regarding the replacement of the U.S. attorneys.And he -- he just -- he laid out a little bit of it, and then he asked me if he thought -- if I had any reaction to his iteration.
And I remember thinking at that point that this was something that we were all going to have to talk about, and I didn't know that it was -- I just -- I didn't know that it was maybe appropriate for us to talk about that at that point, and so I just didn't.As far as I can remember, I just didn't respond.
GOODLING:And so I just didn't.As far as I can remember, I just didn't respond.
JACKSON-LEE:The time of the gentleman has expired.We now recognize the distinguished gentleman from Illinois, Mr. Gutierrez for five minutes.
GUTIERREZ:Thank you very much.
I would like to yield my time to Mr. Davis.
DAVIS:Thank you, Mr. Gutierrez.
Had you finished your answer, Ms. Goodling, regarding your conversation with the attorney general?
GOODLING:I think there was a little bit more to the discussion, but I'm having trouble remembering it.
DAVIS:Well, let me try to help you a little bit.I know it's been a long day, and so let me try to help you a little bit.
You said that you thought part of the conversation was inappropriate with the attorney general.Did you say that, Ms. Goodling?
GOODLING:I don't know if I said -- I didn't know if I meant to say inappropriate.I said it made me a little uncomfortable.
DAVIS:What was it that made you uncomfortable about your conversation with the attorney general, Mr. Gonzales.
GOODLING:I just -- I did not know if it was appropriate for us to both be discussing our recollections of what had happened, and I just thought maybe we shouldn't have that conversation.
GOODLING:So I didn't respond to what he said.
DAVIS:Why did you think it might be inappropriate for you to have this conversation with the attorney general?
GOODLING:I just knew that, at some point, we would probably all have to talk about our conversations and I just -- I'm not saying that I -- I'm not saying that I definitely thought it was inappropriate.I think, in all fairness, that he was just talking to someone on his staff and I was distraught and I was asking for a transfer.
And I think he was being kind.He's a very kind man.But I just didn't know that I thought that maybe this was a conversation that we should be having.
DAVIS:Ms. Goodling, did you tell the attorney general that you felt that part of his testimony, or part of his public statements, were not fully accurate.
GOODLING:No, I didn't.
DAVIS:And was there a reason why you didn't share with the attorney general that part of what he had said to the committee or the public might not be accurate?
GOODLING:I just -- I feel like it -- I feel like after he had the press conference, people came out fairly soon and said that they thought the statements were inaccurate.I don't think that I needed to do that.I think that other people had already raised questions about that.
DAVIS:Do you think the attorney general appreciated that he had made statements that were not accurate?
GOODLING:I don't know.
DAVIS:Did you ask him?
GOODLING:No, I didn't.
DAVIS:Do you think the attorney general would have been concerned about making public statements that were not accurate?
GOODLING:I don't know what he -- I know that he testified before the Senate, and he clarified his remarks from his press conference.So I believe he cared about the fact that he didn't express everything in the best way that he could.And I think he's already apologized for that and tried to clarify it.
DAVIS:Let me ask you this, Ms. Goodling:During the conversation that you've said made you somewhat uncomfortable with the attorney general, did the attorney general discuss the circumstances around any of the terminations of the U.S. attorneys?
GOODLING:He discussed a little bit.
As I recall, he just said that he thought that everybody that was on the list was on the list for a performance-related reason, and that he had been upset with the deputy because he thought that the deputy had indicated that -- by testifying about Mr. Cummins, that there was -- that the only reason there was to relieve him in order to give Mr. Griffin a chance to serve.
He said that he thought, when he heard that, that that was wrong, that he really thought that Mr. Cummins was on the list because there was a performance reason there, too.
And -- I think there was more to the discussion.That's the part I'm remembering right now.But I think he just kind of laid out what he remembered and what he thought.And then he asked me if I had any reaction to it.
DAVIS:Do you know -- let me ask you this way.You say the attorney general asked if you had any reaction to what he said.
Do you think, Ms. Goodling, the attorney general was trying to shape your recollection?
GOODLING:No.I think he was just asking if I had any different...
DAVIS:But it made you uncomfortable.
GOODLING:I just did not know if it was a conversation that we should be having, and so I just -- just didn't say anything.
Mr. Davis, I don't know that I have anything to add to that point, but I do want to clarify, to the extent that at the beginning of your questioning I indicated answers based on testimony, I want to be -- I want to clarify that I think that the statements you were referencing were press accounts, and I didn't mean to indicate that...
DAVIS:Well, Ms. Goodling, if you've noticed, what I've done in my questions, I've consistently said either/or.I've referred either to public statements or to testimony.
Let me ask you one final question with my limited time about the attorney general.
Do you think it is important that the attorney general of the United States give truthful, accurate, complete testimony to the United States Congress?
DAVIS:And if you were to discover, Ms. Goodling, that you left something out of your testimony inadvertently today, would you come back and correct it to the committee?
DAVIS:Would that be a good practice for a witness who discovered that he...
JACKSON-LEE:The gentleman's time has expired.The gentleman's time has expired.
Let me recognize the gentlelady from Florida, Ms. Wasserman Schultz for five minutes.
WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ:Madam Chair, I'd like to yield then one minute of my time to Mr. Davis.
JACKSON-LEE:Gentleman is recognized for one minute.
DAVIS:Thank you, Mr. Wasserman Schultz.
Let me repeat the question, Ms. Goodling.You've said that if you discovered that there was something incomplete or not accurate about your testimony, you'd come back and correct it.Is that correct?
GOODLING:I'm going to need to consult with counsel on a question like that.
DAVIS:Would it be a good practice for any witness who discovered that he had made an inaccurate statement before the Congress to come back and correct it...
(UNKNOWN):Madam Chair, she asked to consult with counsel.The chairman said that she would have the right to consult...
JACKSON-LEE:This is not a point of order.
(UNKNOWN):Point of order.
JACKSON-LEE:The gentleman is out of order.
(UNKNOWN):Point of order.The chairman said at the beginning of the hearings that she would have the chance to consult with counsel.
JACKSON-LEE:If the gentleman would suspend, if the gentleman would suspend, if the witness wishes to consult with counsel, she has the opportunity to ask, and we will suspend for a moment.
GOODLING:Madam Chair, she just said she did.She just said she did and she was interrupted...
DAVIS:Madam Chairwoman, the witness said that she would want to...
JACKSON-LEE:If the gentleman from Alabama would suspend, Ms. Goodling, could you state for the record do you need to consult with counsel at this time?
GOODLING:I wasn't asking to consult at this second.I was saying that if when I go back and review this transcript I think that there will be a lot of things that maybe I didn't get the opportunity...
JACKSON-LEE:I thank the gentlelady.So your answer is that you are proceeding with your answer to Mr. Davis' question...
GOODLING:I'm proceeding with my answer.
JACKSON-LEE:... therefore, you've answered Mr. Lungren's question that you did not ask to consult at this time.
Gentleman may proceed.
One question about Mr. McNulty.Did Mr. McNulty make any attempt to go back and correct the record regarding any aspect of his testimony to the Senate, to your knowledge?
GOODLING:I don't know.
DAVIS:Well, do you know of any?
GOODLING:I don't know of any.
DAVIS:And did Mr. McNulty, to your knowledge, make any attempt to correct the record regarding any aspect of his statements in closed briefings with the United States Senate.
GOODLING:I don't.I don't know of any.I remember -- at the end of my time at the department, I remember there was a discussion that the department was going to prepare answers to address statements that may not have been accurate.So I remember hearing that the department was going to work on answers to do that, but I don't know if it occurred.
DAVIS:My time has expired, Madam Chairwoman.
WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ:Madam Chair, I yield two additional minutes of my time to Mr. Davis.
DAVIS:Thank you, Ms. Wasserman-Schultz.
Let me shift to another area, Ms. Goodling.You have been an assistant U.S. attorney for a period of time in your own career, is that right?
GOODLING:I was a special assistant U.S. attorney, yes.
DAVIS:Did you prosecute cases at some point?
GOODLING:I did some cases.Actually, I didn't end up doing any felony trials.They all pleaded out.But I did some work.
DAVIS:Well, are you familiar with the rules and the professional rules of responsibility that govern U.S. attorneys and members of the Department of Justice?
GOODLING:I'm familiar with some of them.I wouldn't claim to be an expert.
DAVIS:All right.Let me ask you a few questions about it.In your opinion, from what you know of the professional rules of responsibility, would it be appropriate for a United States senator to contact a prosecutor about a specific case?
GOODLING:The department got inquiries about cases all the time, and there was an appropriate and is an appropriate way to address them.
DAVIS:Would it be appropriate for a senator to call the U.S. attorney and ask about the specifics of a particular case?
GOODLING:In some cases, it may be OK.If they were just calling to ask something that's in the public record, it might be OK, although, of course, the department protocol would be that that question would go to the Office of Legislative Affairs.
DAVIS:Now, what if they weren't calling about the public record but about information known only to the U.S. attorney and the Department of Justice.Would that be appropriate?
GOODLING:I don't really know the rules in this area very well...
DAVIS:Do you know of any circumstance, Ms. Goodling, in which it would be appropriate for a United States senator to call a United States attorney to ask about information known only to that U.S. Attorney's office?
GOODLING:I can't think of one, but again, I'm not an expert in this area.
DAVIS:Similar question:Would it be appropriate for a member of the United States House to call a United States attorney to ask questions about the specifics of a particular case involving facts known only to the U.S. attorney?
GOODLING:I'm not an expert in this area, Mr. Davis, and I hesitate to answer questions that I don't know the answer to.
DAVIS:Let me ask another question.Do you know of any instance in which it would be appropriate for a politician to call a U.S. attorney to ask him or her to prosecute anyone?
GOODLING:I don't think that would be appropriate -- unless, of course, the person had evidence of wrongdoing, in which case, they should take it to the FBI...
DAVIS:And if the person didn't have evidence of wrongdoing and simply called and made the inquiry, you agree that would be inappropriate, wouldn't it?
GOODLING:If someone called someone and said, go prosecute this person because I don't like them, and didn't have evidence, that would clearly be a problem.
DAVIS:And let me ask you a question about that.
To your knowledge, based on everything that you've learned about these facts, and your previous position, was there a phone call from a member of the United States Senate to David Iglesias, regarding prosecution of particular cases?
GOODLING:I've seen press accounts, but I don't have any...
DAVIS:Would that be appropriate for Senator Domenici to call...
JACKSON-LEE:I would remind members that they must allow the witness to answer the question.I ask the members to be reminded that witnesses must be able to answer the question.
GOODLING:I don't know if the call happened, and I don't know the specifics of the call if it did, and I can't address a hypothetical or something that I don't know anything about.
GOODLING:I'm not an expert in this area.I just, frankly, I think it raises questions, but I don't know the rules in this area well enough to say.
DAVIS:Final question, Ms. Goodling.During your briefing session with Mr. McNulty for his testimony did the Domenici call to Iglesias come up?
GOODLING:I don't think that -- I'm trying to remember the date of the call.
Do you remember the date of the call?
DAVIS:Well, I'm asking you, Ms. Goodling.You participated in the briefing.
GOODLING:I can't remember the time sequence, I'm sorry.I did address the call, or the call was something that was discussed in the deputy attorney general's office.But I don't remember when that was.
JACKSON-LEE:Now recognize the gentleman from Minnesota, Mr. Ellison, for five minutes.
ELLISON:Do you know Thomas Heffelfinger, ma'am?
GOODLING:I've met him, yes.
ELLISON:Before he resigned, was there any conversation about problems with his performance?
GOODLING:I believe I did hear a few.
ELLISON:What were they?
GOODLING:There were some concerns that he spent an extraordinary amount of time as the leader of the Native American Subcommittee of the AGAC and put -- clearly, people thought that that was important work, but I think there was some concern...
ELLISON:Excuse me, thank you.You've answered it.
ELLISON:Ma'am, excuse me, could you tell me please, was there concerns about whether or not he was allowing members of Native American tribes to use tribal IDs in order to vote?
GOODLING:I don't remember anything subject specific.The concern that I heard raised was just that he spent an extraordinary amount of time on the subcommittee business.
ELLISON:Did his -- did anything about voter, tribal IDs ever come up in that discussion about problems with Thomas Heffelfinger?
GOODLING:I don't have any recollection of it.
ELLISON:Did you receive any communications from Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer regarding Thomas Heffelfinger?
GOODLING:I don't have any recollection of ever seeing anything like that.
ELLISON:Did you ever interview Joan Hume?
ELLISON:When did you interview you?
GOODLING:It would have been -- it would have been after Tom Heffelfinger notified us that he was going to leave.
ELLISON:Now, you know she's a 1990 graduate of the University of Minnesota, right?
GOODLING:I don't remember her resume.
ELLISON:Well, do you recall that she's the chief of civil in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minnesota?
ELLISON:And you understand that she had clerked for Judge Rosenbaum, who's a Minnesota federal judge, right?
GOODLING:I don't remember her resume.
ELLISON:Well, you recall that she -- do you recall that she at least had a good, solid resume, had worked for the U.S. attorney's office and had been practicing law for some 15, 16 years?
You know that?
GOODLING:I remember she was the civil chief.That's my recollection.
ELLISON:She didn't get the job, did she?
GOODLING:No, she didn't.
ELLISON:You knew she was Democrat, right?
GOODLING:I actually don't know that I heard she was a Democrat. I did hear she was a liberal.
ELLISON:OK.You heard she was a liberal.
Was that a factor -- was that a factor in your decision to bypass her?
GOODLING:I think it was a factor in some ways.But it wasn't the overarching factor.
ELLISON:Now, the person who you did hire was Rachel Paulose. Is that right?
GOODLING:There was a panel of people involved, but yes.
ELLISON:Rachel Paulose was hired.
Now, you know that four assistant U.S. attorneys have quit because she is so inadequate in management, in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minnesota.
You know that today, right?
GOODLING:I read press accounts that they went back to...
ELLISON:You know that's true, don't you?
GOODLING:I don't believe they resigned.I believe they went back to their positions as AUSA.
ELLISON:No, they quit their leadership positions...
(UNKNOWN):Would you let her answer the question?
ELLISON:They quit their leadership positions.Is that right?
ELLISON:And they went back to (inaudible) positions.
Is that right?
GOODLING:That's what I understand from the paper.
ELLISON:So Ms. Paulose was -- and you know Ms. Paulose personally, isn't that right?
GOODLING:I met her during the interview process.
ELLISON:She described you as a friend of hers.
Would you use that term friend as well?
GOODLING:We became friends after the hiring process.
ELLISON:And you're friends today, right?
GOODLING:I haven't spoken to her in some time, but yes.
ELLISON:How much time has gone by since you spoke to her?
GOODLING:Maybe February, maybe early March.
ELLISON:So you spoke to her as early as last -- as March '07.
GOODLING:Maybe I -- maybe the first week of March.I can't recall.
ELLISON:Did you as Ms. Humes if she was a member of the Federalist Society?
ELLISON:Did you ask her about her religious affiliation?
ELLISON:Did you ask her specifically about her party affiliation?
GOODLING:I don't believe that we did.The interview was conducted by Mr. Margolis, Mike Battle and myself, all three of us.
ELLISON:Excuse me.That's not responsive to my question, but we'll move ahead.
Did Ms. Paulose ever lead a department at the office -- any office of a U.S. attorney?
GOODLING:I don't believe she had.
ELLISON:And Ms. Joan Humes had lead the civil division, is that right?
ELLISON:So you all bypassed a chief of civil and went to somebody who had no experience in management simply because they were a liberal?
GOODLING:No, not at all.There were other reasons involved in the decision.
GOODLING:To clarify, we...
ELLISON:No, I don't need a clarification.Thank you, ma'am.
GOODLING:Well, I would like to complete my answer.
ELLISON:Well, I don't need an answer.
(UNKNOWN):These are not the rules we started under.
ELLISON:No, Madam Chair, I have the authority to control my questions.I got an answer to my question and I'd like to proceed on.
(UNKNOWN):You're a member of this committee and those are not the rules under which the chairman announced this hearing.
ELLISON:Madam Chair, this is a military...
JACKSON-LEE:I'll allow witnesses to answer the question.You can ask them to abbreviate.
Ms. Goodling, because of the shortness of the time, I would ask you to be more precise in your answers to the gentleman.
JACKSON-LEE:The gentleman may continue.
ELLISON:Madam Chair, I'd like to ask for at least two minutes of my time to be restored.I've been interrupted here.
JACKSON-LEE:Time has been suspended on each of the times we have.Thank you, gentlemen.
ELLISON:Thank you, Madam Chair.
GOODLING:Could I continue my answer?
ELLISON:... did you ask Rachel Paulose.
JACKSON-LEE:Let the gentleman proceed.
ELLISON:There's no question before the witness.
GOODLING:I didn't finish...
(UNKNOWN):There is a question before the witness.She's trying to answer it.
JACKSON-LEE:Regular order.Regular order.The chair will rule.The gentleman will proceed.
You can include your answer that you wanted to complete as the gentleman finishes his other question.
Will the gentleman proceed?
ELLISON:Did Rachel Paulose's political affiliation play any role in her hiring?
GOODLING:Yes, it did.
ELLISON:And that would be that she was a Republican?
ELLISON:Did her religious affiliation play a role in her hiring?
GOODLING:No, it did not.
ELLISON:Did her membership in the Federalist Society play a role in her hiring?
GOODLING:I don't remember that was something we talked about.
ELLISON:Did the fact that she never tried a case to a jury impact your thinking on her hiring?
GOODLING:She had two to three years prosecution experience as an AUSA, which is a lot more than some of the U.S. attorneys that we hire.And that was significant experience...
ELLISON:How did that experience compare to General (ph) Hume's (ph) experience?
GOODLING:As I recall, Rachel's experience was some civil and some criminal.
JACKSON-LEE:The gentleman's time has expired.And she can complete her answer.
GOODLING:Rachel Paulose was selected based on her qualifications overall.And we did include the fact that she might be able to be a candidate for the presidential nomination.We sometimes thought if we had somebody that we could put in to be an interim U.S. attorney who also had the opportunity to be considered for the presidential nomination, then that was a factor.
JACKSON-LEE:The gentleman's time has expired.
We have been summoned to the House floor for votes.We will take a short recess and reconvene as promptly as we can after we vote for a second round of questioning.
The committee stands in recess.
CONYERS:We conclude the afternoon by offering our deepest thanks for the cooperation of Monica Goodling and her counsel for the length of time that this has taken.As you know, we've been interrupted by requests for recorded votes on the floor, but we're grateful to you.And we can assure you we will not keep you very long at all.
We've already -- we've discussed with Lamar Smith and myself, and rather than have a second round of questioning, we have decided to dispense with that and move pursuant to clause J-2B, rule 11, to have a questioning for the last 30 minutes to be divided between the majority and the minority.
Each will be recognized for 15 minutes.First one member of the minority, whom the ranking minority member may designate, will be recognized for 15 minutes, then one member of the majority will be recognized for 15 minutes.
Without objection, so ordered.
To begin the questioning, I recognize the ranking member, Lamar Smith, to designate a member on his side for 15 minutes of question. And I yield to the gentleman.
SMITH:Thank you, Mr. Chairman.I'm glad we were able to come to an agreement on how to divide this time and how much to divide. And our time will be -- the person I'm going to designate for our time if going to be Chris Cannon, the gentleman from Utah and the ranking member of the Administrative Law Subcommittee.
CONYERS:I thank you.
We will designate Adam Schiff, the gentleman from California, to control our 15 minutes.And, obviously, whoever is controlling time can yield to others if he so chooses.
I would ask the gentleman from Utah, Mr. Chris Cannon, to begin his 15 minutes, please.
CANNON:Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I thank the ranking member as well.
And would just like to say on the record, Mr. Chairman, that I appreciate the way you handled the lobby reform bill and my amendment, that I spent some time with the Rules Committee just before coming down here and they have that all straight, and I appreciate your involvement in that.
And we'd like to begin by yielding so much time as he may consume to the gentleman, Mr. Keller.
KELLER:I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Ms. Goodling, I have been here and listened to you carefully all day.And I believe the gist of all your testimony can be summarized as follows:You had no major role in assembling the list or firing the U.S. attorneys you wish there were some questions you hadn't asked of Civil Service employees on a political level and, while you agree with Mr. McNulty that the firings by the attorney general were not for an illegal or improper purpose, you have some disagreement with other aspects of his testimony.
Is that a fair summary?
GOODLING:I wouldn't want to say I didn't have a major role because certainly I was a part of the circle of people who reviewed the list and made recommendations and was a part of that.So I wouldn't -- I wouldn't want to say that I wasn't a major part.I certainly was part of the core.
I think I would summarize just by saying that as far as I know, the dismissals were made for appropriate reasons...
GOODLING:... but that the handling of it and the explanation of it was poorly managed and not always as accurate as it could have been.
KELLER:So you agree with two of my three summaries, but you wouldn't say you wouldn't have a major role.
Let's turn to, if you would, your packet of documents there, number five, which is tabbed.
And that is an e-mail at the top of this.And this is, for those following, this is tab number five, Office of Attorney General, number 22 (inaudible).
That is an e-mail dated May 11, 2006, from Kyle Sampson to William Kelley.Do you see that?
GOODLING:Yes, I do.
KELLER:And you were in fact the senior counsel and White House liaison at that time, right?
GOODLING:Yes, I was.
KELLER:Were you even aware of this e-mail at the time?
GOODLING:I don't remember learning about it at the time, no.
KELLER:And the reason I say that is because I think your testimony to me earlier was you weren't even aware of a particular list until January of 2006.
And here is a list from May 11, 2006, from Kyle Sampson.So that's how I get the point that you really weren't a major player in all this.Because here you were liaison at the time, and you weren't even aware that this list was starting to be compiled.
GOODLING:The list that I saw, I believe, was January of 2006, so it would have predated this e-mail.
KELLER:OK.This e-mail here is what the other side, and some have called the smoking gun.As you see, it says, among other things, The real problem we have right now with Carol Lam leads me to conclude that we should have somebody ready to be nominated on November 18, the day after her four-year term expires.
Now, according to comments made by John McKay and the Los Angeles Times, on May 18, 2007, that is powerful circumstantial evidence of a crime.I believe we will see a criminal investigation, he says, because the day before, May 10, Carol Lam supposedly sent some notice to the Justice Department that she was going to be seeking certain search warrants related to the Duke Cunningham investigation.
And this must be what triggered it, this particular document. This is their smoking gun, that memo dated May 11.
So I'd like you to look at the bottom of this same memo.And is it in fact true that there is also a memo on the same page, dated April 14, 2006, from Kyle Sampson, saying a month before, that one of the people DOJ recommends terminating is Carol Lam.Is that correct?
GOODLING:Yes, and I believe she was on the January memo as well.
KELLER:That's right.And one final point, just in case anyone is not clear about where the attorney general stood on this issue, he testified before this committee, on April 6.And I specifically brought up the situation to Carol Lam with him.
And the attorney general said to me -- and I was looking for his testimony -- that he was aware of the problem in San Diego and that they were taking steps to do something about it.
KELLER:And I don't have his testimony right in front of me, but the gist of it is he knew then that there was a problem, in April of 2006, and I believe your testimony earlier today is that you had heard conversations back in 2003, 2004, that there were concerns within the Justice Department relating to Carol Lam's failure to prosecute certain gun crimes, and as early as 2005, regarding concern about certain immigration crimes' prosecution.
Is that true?
GOODLING:Yes, that's true.
KELLER:OK.And I will yield to the gentleman the balance of my time.
Mr. Chairman, how much time do we have remaining?Counsel might be able to just -- how much time do we have remaining, Mr. Chairman?
CONYERS:Ten -- nine minutes and 59 seconds.
KELLER:I yield four minutes to Mr. Lungren, and would appreciate it if the chair would let me know when that time has...
LUNGREN:Ms. Goodling, you said...
CONYERS:Your time has -- oh no, you've got four minutes.
LUNGREN:Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Goodling, you mentioned in your testimony that you were concerned about statements that might come out that might hurt the U.S. attorneys that were to be relieved, correct?
LUNGREN:And, as I understand it, your feeling was that even though there were justifiable reasons for letting these people go, they were otherwise honorable folks who had done good jobs in some areas of the law and there was no reason to hurt their reputation as they went off to pursue another job.Is that correct?
GOODLING:That's correct.They had served, you know, more than there four-year terms in most cases.And although the decision was made that maybe a change would be appropriate, I didn't think that we needed to do anything to damage their reputations.
LUNGREN:See, there has been cited a report from the Congressional Reference Service that never in the history of the Untied States have we let people go for performance.
LUNGREN:And yet I'm personally aware of at least one occasion in which that occurred somewhere in California while I was attorney general.But every effort was made not to penalize the person who was leaving, not to articulate the reasons why the individual was gone, not to make a big deal about it, but to make that change.
And I guess my question is to you:Was that part of how you viewed it in the situation that you were a part of in this particular matter?That is, with the eight who were being relieved of their positions...
GOODLING:I thought it was within the president's authority to make those personnel changes if he wanted to do so.
LUNGREN:Now, some things have been said about Mr. Iglesias. Were you aware of any complaints from local law enforcement, including prosecutors at the local level or sheriffs, of what they thought was a failure to timely respond to their request for assistance by Mr. Iglesias and his office?
GOODLING:I don't remember hearing anything like that.
LUNGREN:Someone said a little earlier about whether you ever considered that secret society called the Federalist Society.Are you aware of the Federalist Society?
LUNGREN:Who are they?
GOODLING:It's an organization based in Washington, D.C., that advocates open debate.But they are largely comprised of conservatives.
LUNGREN:And they believe in a study of the Constitution?
GOODLING:I believe they do.
LUNGREN:And they believe that perhaps like-minded individuals who have a constant view of the Constitution and fidelity to the Constitution might practice law, be in our court system, be even assistant U.S. attorneys and U.S. attorneys?
LUNGREN:Do you find it any problem with learning whether or not someone's in the Federalist Society when you were considering whether they ought to be hiring at the Justice Department?
LUNGREN:I have so many more questions, but I have to yield.
CANNON:I think the chairman has forgotten us over here and the time...
CONYERS:No, the light -- the light -- the yellow light goes on when three minutes have been...
CANNON:Well, thank you...
CONYERS:Oh, wait a minute.You now have 26 seconds.It was 27.
CANNON:So we have a total of what, five minutes left, Mr. Chairman, now?
CANNON:Well, I've interrupted a long stream of questions.I apologize a half a minute early.And I thank the chairman for his diligence in this regard.
Following up on the Federalist Society, I note that you've been a career-long member of that left-leaning organization, the American Bar Association.
GOODLING:I've been a member of the American Bar Association longer than I've been a member of the Federalist Society.
CANNON:Has that impeded your career at the Department of Justice?
GOODLING:It hasn't seemed to, at least while I was there.
CANNON:Thank you.I just -- having been a member myself of that organization.
Mr. Davis raised questions about Senate referrals of legal matters in connection to an investigation.It goes too far to say that members shouldn't or can't communicate with federal prosecutors to refer matters for prosecution.
Rule 19 of the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations explicitly states a referral methodology.And Senators Feinstein and Representative Issa both encouraged Carol Lam to engage in certain activities with regard to immigration in particular in those referrals.
So, as you said numerous times, referrals themselves or discussions are not inappropriate with federal prosecutors, but it really is the responsibility of the U.S. attorney to communicate that communication to the department, is it not?
GOODLING:Yes.As I mentioned, it was department policy that contacts with members should be reported to the department for appropriate handling, for everyone's protection.
CANNON:Exactly.Are you familiar, then, with Mr. Iglesias' failure to communicate with the department about the contacts that had been made to his office?
GOODLING:I understand he's confirmed that he didn't report the contacts.
CANNON:Actually, no, he told this committee that he did report the contact, using not the telephone or e-mail, but through the medium of the press.I don't know if you're aware of that or not, but I -- personally I think the reasons for his replacement are self-manifest and probably don't need to be gone into much more.
But we've discussed the president's power involved in appointing these really at-will employees.I'd like to read into the record a description of the job security for U.S. attorneys by Mr. David Margolis.I love this line:If Senator Kerry were elected after the 2004 election, these people would be out on the street, anyway.So it's not like we're, you know, taking the jobs out from under them.
Do you think that's a fair representation of the expectations of tenure by U.S. attorneys?
GOODLING:It's certainly an accurate statement.
Now, there's been some question about the importance of your role in all of these activities, Ms. Goodling.I, referring back again to Mr. Iglesias who said to Mr. Matthews on Hardball, I think Monica Goodling holds the keys to the kingdom.
CANNON:I think, if they get her to testify under oath with a transcript and have her describe the process between the information flow between the White House counsel, the White House, and the Justice Department, I believe the picture becomes a lot clearer.
Now, we have a transcript being developed today.You've been here with us quite awhile and answered many questions and only a few more, we would hope.I want you to know that in this particular and very narrow case, I agree with Mr. Iglesias that it couldn't be clearer.
You don't have much to show, or you're not a link to what -- someone called it the political corruption -- the partisan, political corruption that is going on that just does not seem to be here.At least, I haven't seen any evidence of that.
And I suspect that at the end of the hearing, the only thing we're going to hear more about is where all the momentum from this investigation dissipated to, using none other than our hero, Mr. Iglesias, to guide us through that.
Oh, Mr. Gohmert, would you like to take what time remains?
GOHMERT:If you don't mind.
CANNON:How much time do you have remaining, Mr. Chairman?
CONYERS:There are two minutes and 20 seconds remaining, sir.
CANNON:I yield to the gentleman the two minutes that remain.
GOHMERT:Thank you, gentleman from Utah.
We heard our friend from California mention about other U.S. attorneys who may have departed, perhaps not completely voluntarily, but it's my understanding from people who have worked the system and have seen U.S. attorneys come and go, that before this attorney general's office, this was normally handled by letting people know it might be a good idea to find other employment.We'll give you time, but we want to replace you.
As you've indicated, you said, I thought it was the president's power to make such changes.Isn't it true it is the president's power to make such changes, correct?
GOHMERT:It is, and you can do it for political purposes.
GOHMERT:Well, hello, that is why Bill Clinton changed his. That's why...
CANNON:Would the gentleman yield back?
GOHMERT:Yes, I will.
CANNON:Because I'd like to just make a point in the last few seconds, that while Bill Clinton -- President Clinton -- did dismiss 93 U.S. attorneys, one of them was investigating the Clintons at the time.And there is certainly the odor of corruption in that circumstance.
Now, Ms. Goodling, we're done on our side pretty much.We appreciate your testimony and your being here.Mr. Schiff, I think, is going to take the time from here.You've got 15 more grueling minutes.And we'll see if he can come up with something worthy of the hours and hours that we've spent on this subject up until now -- and the money, and the $250,000, et cetera.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.I yield back.
LOFGREN:Mr. Chairman?Mr. Chairman?
CONYERS:Who seeks recognition?
I would -- if I could just interrupt for a brief announcement. The minority has asked, under the rules, for a separate hearing on an immigration matter that was noticed for 5:30 upstairs.And I'd just like to notice that that hearing will begin after we have concluded here.
And I thank the gentleman for recognizing me.
CONYERS:I thank the gentlelady.
And I thank the gentleman from Utah.
The chair now recognizes the distinguished gentleman from California, Mr. Adam Schiff, to conclude the hearing.
SCHIFF:Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I'm going to begin by yielding myself 10 minutes, so if you'd let me know when that elapses.
SCHIFF:Ms. Goodling, you testified about a meeting you had with the attorney general in which you felt uncomfortable.
When did that meeting take place?
GOODLING:It was the Thursday before the Monday that I took leave.
I can't remember the date.But it would have been in March.
SCHIFF:And where was the meeting?
GOODLING:It was in his office.
SCHIFF:Who was present during the meeting?
GOODLING:It was just him and I.
It wasn't scheduled.I had just called back and asked if I could see him for a few minutes.
SCHIFF:And during the course of the meeting, he raised his thoughts on the firing of some of the U.S. attorneys with you?
SCHIFF:And you felt uncomfortable about this.
Is that right?
SCHIFF:In part because you realized this would be the subject of some controversy or dispute later?
GOODLING:I thought it was likely, based on where we were at that point.
SCHIFF:And that you might be asked to testify, and he might be asked to testify?
SCHIFF:And you felt uncomfortable about being put in a situation where your testimony might be compromised?
GOODLING:I just didn't know if it was a good idea for the two of us to be discussing it.I just -- I don't know that I thought it was inappropriate.I just remember feeling, I don't know if we should be having this discussion.
SCHIFF:But the top law enforcement official in the country didn't raise any concern about the propriety of your discussing this issue?
SCHIFF:Was part of what made you uncomfortable the fact that the attorney general's statement about why certain U.S. attorneys were fired was not consistent with your understanding of the facts?
GOODLING:No, I don't think I was thinking that at the time.
SCHIFF:Did the attorney general tell you that he thought that Mr. Cummins, the U.S. attorney in Arkansas, was fired for a reason owing to his performance?
GOODLING:I'm sorry.Can you repeat that?I...
SCHIFF:Did the attorney general tell you, in this conversation, that he thought that Mr. Cummins had been fired for good reason, that his performance was somehow unsatisfactory?
GOODLING:Yes.He thought that they were all in the same category, that there was some reason.I don't know if he used the word performance, but there was a reason.
SCHIFF:But you understood that the reason Mr. Cummins was placed on the list to be fired was because there was a desire to make room for Mr. Griffin?
Is that right?
SCHIFF:So what the attorney general told you was not consistent with the facts as you know them?
SCHIFF:Didn't that make you uncomfortable?
GOODLING:No.In some cases, where we moved other U.S. attorneys on, obviously the downstream effect of that is to allow someone else to serve.The fact that we wanted Mr. Griffin to serve in Arkansas wasn't necessarily exclusive of the fact that Mr. Cummins may have been rated one way or the other.
SCHIFF:But you understood that what the attorney general was telling you, that there was a cause, reason, owing to the performance of Mr. Cummins, and that was the reason he was being fired -- you understood that that was not true?
GOODLING:I think what he was saying was that he thought Kyle put Mr. Cummins on the list because there was a performance-related reason.And so when he heard that there wasn't, or that the deputy had said that there wasn't, he was surprised by that.What he was trying to say was:I thought Kyle put him on the list because there was a reason, and so I didn't.
SCHIFF:He was angry with Mr. McNulty for suggesting that someone was fired who was doing a good job, wasn't he?
GOODLING:He said he was upset with the deputy.
SCHIFF:Now, you also mentioned a staff meeting -- and I want to see if I heard you correctly -- with the deputy A.G. -- I thought you said the A.G. as well -- in which a question was asked about how Iglesias was put on the list.Did I understand your testimony correctly about that?
GOODLING:Yes.In one of the last two weeks that I was at the department the group of people that had been working on this issue had a meeting and I think it was after Mr. Sampson left.I think that's about as close as I can get it in time.
SCHIFF:And the attorney general was present for that meeting?
GOODLING:To the best of my recollection, I think everybody involved was in the room.I just remember feeling like the room was full and that meant everybody was there, but I don't -- I don't remember any particular seat being empty.
SCHIFF:And someone during the course of that meeting asked how did Mr. Iglesias get on the firing list, correct?
SCHIFF:You asked the question?
SCHIFF:And then somebody responded, That's been addressed.
SCHIFF:Who was it that said that?
GOODLING:I don't remember.
SCHIFF:Were you there for the whole meeting?
GOODLING:I came in a few minutes late, I think.
SCHIFF:Was it your sense that it had been addressed in that meeting or it had been addressed privately?
GOODLING:I don't know.
SCHIFF:Well, Mr. McNulty, when you were preparing for testimony, struck the reference that Mr. Iglesias didn't move cases from the document you prepared, didn't he?
GOODLING:He didn't strike it from the document I prepared.It was -- he asked that it -- or said that he didn't think it should be included on a chart that I prepared for his private briefing on the Senate side.
So it was a comment someone made in a prep session in his office, but then he indicated he didn't think it should be included because he thought the senator would prefer to address those concerns privately with his colleagues, and he wanted to give him the opportunity to do that.
SCHIFF:So then, if the deputy attorney general was asked about why Mr. Iglesias was put on the list to be fired, the primary reason that the attorney general testified about, the calls he got from Senator Domenici, wouldn't appear anywhere, would it?
GOODLING:I'm not familiar with what the attorney general testified to.Could I see that?
SCHIFF:Well, we'll be happy to supply that to you later.
But Mr. McNulty made it clear he was not going to discuss with the Senate -- even if he was asked the reasons why Mr. Iglesias was fired, he was not going to discuss the Domenici calls or the comment about moving cases, was he?
GOODLING:There was a little bit more to the conversation.What he said was -- or somebody else in the room, I think, made the suggestion, there was a conversation back and forth between the DAG and one other person -- and I don't remember who the other person was -- but the conversation was that maybe somebody should place a call to his chief of staff and see if he wanted to address the concerns with his colleagues before the briefing took place.
So presumably if the chief of staff had indicated that he didn't mind the department briefing it, then, you know, the DAG may have done so.
But all I heard was the discussion about maybe we shouldn't put that -- shouldn't brief that, because it's really the senator's place to do that privately.
And somebody suggested a phone call be made to the chief of staff to see if they wanted to do that on their own.
SCHIFF:You testified about a meeting in which Mr. Rove was present where someone said, We need to have a reason why all these people were fired, or something to that effect.Correct?
GOODLING:I believe someone made a comment more along the lines of you need to be clear in explaining your decisions or what you did or something.It was more a matter of being clear and explaining, not necessarily.
SCHIFF:And then someone at that meeting said, Yes, that's right, and -- well, you said that Karl Rove at some point emphasized the point someone earlier had made.Is the best of your recollection what he was emphasizing was the point that they needed to have a good explanation for why people are fired?
GOODLING:I can't remember what it was that he said.To the best of my recollection, he only spoke one time.And that's my memory, and I don't even know if it's right.But my memory is that he spoke one time, and it was kind of a follow-on comment to someone else.But I don't remember what the originating comment or his was.
SCHIFF:But someone emphasized that there needed to be a clear explanation for why these people got fired.
GOODLING:To the best of my recollection, yes, that was...
SCHIFF:And during your conversation with the attorney general, that private conversation, he was trying to supply a reason why Mr. Cummins got fired.
GOODLING:No, he wasn't trying to...
SCHIFF:Well, he was emphasizing to you his belief that everyone had been fired for a good reason, that is, for cause, right?
GOODLING:He was just saying, This is what I remember.And it was in the course of that stream.
SCHIFF:Now, Mr. McNulty testified, in answer to Senator Schumer, when Senator Schumer asked, Can you give us some information about how it came to be that Tim Griffin got his interim appointment, who recommended him, was it someone within the U.S. Attorneys Office in Arkansas, was it someone within the Justice Department, Mr. McNulty answered, under oath, Yes, I don't know the answer to those questions.
That was a false statement, wasn't it?
GOODLING:I believe that he had some information.I don't know if he remembered it at that point, but I believe he had some information.
SCHIFF:So when he was asked further, Did anyone from outside the Justice Department, including Karl Rove, recommend Mr. Griffin for the job -- again, I'm not saying there's anything illegal about that, but I think we ought to know -- and McNulty said, OK, and Senator Schumer said, OK, but you don't have any knowledge of this right now?And Mr. McNulty testified, under oath, I don't, that was a false statement too, wasn't it?
GOODLING:I believe that he had some information on it, or that he had been given some information.I can't speak to what he knew or remembered that day.
SCHIFF:And when he was further asked...
CONYERS:The gentleman has how many seconds left?
Four fifty, so you've nearly used your 10 minutes.
SCHIFF:OK, thank you.I will now yield the remainder...
DAVIS:Ms. Goodling, this is the final five minutes of the testimony today, so we'll try to get through it quickly.But on behalf of this side of the committee, let me thank you for your courtesy today, and let me thank you for you candor today.Our...
CONYERS:Mr. Davis, could I just remind you to please let the witness finish her questions?
DAVIS:I'm going to put in front of you a document, Ms. Goodling, that is a transcript of the attorney general's testimony to the United States House, based on a hearing that occurred a short time ago, May 10.
Would you look at page 18 of the document?Let me know when you've found it, Ms. Goodling.
GOODLING:I'm on page 18.
DAVIS:Look, if you would, at the portion that is marked Attorney General Gonzales.And I'm going to read it for the record. And if you would follow along with me.
This is a statement on page 18 of the transcript from Attorney General Gonzales:Mr. Chairman -- if I may respond to that -- as I have indicated, I have not gone back and spoken directly with Mr. Sampson and others who are involved in this process in order to protect the integrity of this investigation and the investigation of the Office of Professional Responsibility and the Office of Inspector General.
I am a fact witness.They are fact witnesses.And in order to preserve the integrity of those investigations, I have not asked these specific questions.What am I here today -- then there's a hyphen as he stops.
Ms. Goodling, based on your knowledge, is that statement by Attorney General Gonzales -- is that testimony sworn under oath by Attorney General Gonzales fully accurate?
GOODLING:I don't know what period he's referencing.Certainly earlier in this process there were a lot of conversations between a lot of people who were involved in this process.
At some point, it's clear that the attorney general stopped talking to people.But it must have been -- I assume that it's after the point that I left the department or took leave.
DAVIS:Well, do you agree that this says, I am a fact witness. They are fact witnesses.And in order to preserve the integrity of those investigations, I have not asked those specific questions.
Do you agree that it says that, Ms. Goodling?
GOODLING:I agree it says that.I don't know what specific questions...
DAVIS:Ms. Goodling, did the attorney general have a conversation with you regarding the terminations of United States attorneys?
GOODLING:Yes, he did.
DAVIS:And when did this conversation happen?
GOODLING:It was in March, before I left the department.
DAVIS:Did you know you might be a fact witness at that point, Ms. Goodling?
DAVIS:Had there been substantial news coverage, Ms. Goodling, about the eventuality of your being a fact witness?
DAVIS:Do you believe the attorney general knew you were going to be a fact witness?
GOODLING:I think he knew it was likely at that point. Actually, he had told me that they were having conversations to see if I would need to be a witness.Because he said that he understood my involvement was much more limited.He was going to see if he and Kyle Sampson could address the Congress.And he said perhaps I wouldn't need to.
DAVIS:Did the attorney general indicate he would take steps to help prevent you from being a witness?
GOODLING:No.He just said that the Office of Legislative Affairs was talking to the Hill at that point, and that there were discussions that were ongoing about who they would actually need and when.
DAVIS:Let me direct you to page 17 of the transcript in front of you.If you would look at the portion Chairman Conyers -- I'm going to read what Chairman Conyers said, page 17, line 341, Ms. Goodling.
You were the one that we talked to, as the Judiciary Committee regularly communicates with the head of the Department of Justice.I approve and congratulate you on all those hearings and investigations, but just tell me how the U.S. attorney termination list came to be and who suggested putting most of these U.S. attorneys on the list and why.
Now, that should take about three sentences, but take more, but tell me something.
Answer from Attorney General Gonzales:Mr. Chairman, it is my understanding that what Mr. Sampson engaged in was a process of consulting with the senior leadership in the department about the performance of specific individuals.And toward the end of the process, in the fall of 2006, it was presented to me as a recommendation that I understood to be the consensus recommendation of the senior leadership of that department.
Was that sworn testimony under oath by the attorney general fully complete with respect to Mr. Gonzales's role, Ms. Goodling?
GOODLING:I don't know that I see anything inaccurate in it. Clearly...
DAVIS:What did you understand the attorney general's role to be?
Was he briefed by Mr. Sampson, for example, about the preparation of the list?
Did you understand the attorney general to have been briefed by Mr. Sampson about the preparation of the list?
GOODLING:I don't know that I knew about briefings, but he was in the November 27 meeting.
DAVIS:Is that referenced in the portions of the sworn statement that I just identified?
CONYERS:The gentleman has six seconds remaining.
DAVIS:Was the attorney general's presence at the November meeting referenced in the sworn testimony I just identified, Ms. Goodling, yes or no?
GOODLING:Yes, he said it was presented to him.It doesn't say the date, but it says it was presented to him in the fall.
GOODLING:I can take that to be that November...
CONYERS:Time of the gentleman has expired.You may finish your answer, Ms. Goodling, if you choose.
CONYERS:Is there anything further you'd like to add?
GOODLING:It doesn't identify a date.It says that he says that it was presenting to him, or that the list was presenting to him, so that could be a reference to that meeting.I don't really know.I can't explain it more fully then what's there.
CONYERS:The time of the gentleman has expired.All time has expired, and our morning and afternoon and almost evening questioning of Ms. Goodling comes to a conclusion.
I would like to thank you on behalf of the committee, and many members have already, and your counsel, Mr. Dowd, for being with us today.Your testimony has been of help in getting us closer to the truth of the serious matters we've been investigating, both what you have been able to tell us about what you know, and what you've told us about the matters that you don't know.
And, without objection, members will have five legislative days to submit any additional written questions for you, which will be requested that you promptly return your answers.And the record, without objection, will remain open for five legislative days.
Members of the committee, the matters we are investigating are of the utmost seriousness, and today's hearings have been beneficial. There remain basic, unanswered questions about how and why the termination list was created, how it was compiled, how it was revised and how it was finalized.But Ms. Goodling's testimony will enable us to clarify our focus as we move forward to find answers.
We thank you for your cooperation, and I would yield to the counsel for a remark.
DOWD:Mr. Chairman, thank you.
Do I understand that any answers to the questions submitted by members of the committee would be under the same compulsion of the subpoena and the order that you've given the witness?Is that correct?
CONYERS:Yes, the questions and the answers will still be under those same concerns.
DOWD:Mr. Chairman, I also want to thank you for your courtesy in how you've treated us and the staff of both the majority and minority.We appreciate the accommodations.Thank you.
CONYERS:Well, Lamar Smith and I and all the members of this committee have only one purpose in mind, and that's to get to as thorough an understanding as is humanly possible about these circumstances.
Again, my thanks to you.
And this hearing is adjourned.