At the opening of this morning's hearing, John Conyers had one main question he put to Alberto Gonzales — who put the names of the 8 US attorneys on thefiring list? It was a question others repeated throughout the day and over and over again, Gonzales claimed that it was a "collaborative" recommendation made by career Justice Department officials. In response to questioning by Rep. Cohen, Gonzales claimed that neither Bush, Cheney, Rove nor Harriet Miers put their names on the list, not based on any specific information but just because he knows they wouldn't do something like that.
So who were those were "consulted?" From Paul Kiel:
Under questioning by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), Gonzales cited Kyle Sampson's consultation of then-Deputy Attorney General James Comey in early of 2005 as proof that there had been a process of consulting career Justice Department officials on their views of U.S. attorneys. Of course, Comey testified last week that he had not known that there was any sort of effort to target U.S. attorneys for removal when he offered his views to Sampson (views that Sampson totally ignored).
Gonzales admitted as much: "There were people that were being consulted… they may not have known they were providing information that would then form the basis of some kind of list."
So there you have it: Comey was part of a collaborative review process that he didn't know he was a part of.
Gonzales gave much the same response to questions about Paul McNulty:
Later in the hearing, Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) questioned Gonzales about Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty's comment to a fired U.S. attorney that McNulty had had "limited input" in the process. And here Gonzales said that "it was my understanding or belief" that Sampson was giving McNulty plenty of input. Sampson just let him down.
That's dandy. I think we can all sleep well in the knowledge that John Conyers' original question has been answered satisfactorily by Gonzales. Who put the names of the 8 fired US attorneys on the list? As best as Gonzales can recall, a bunch of people who didn't know that's what they were doing.
More Abu: "Habeus corpus? Say what?"