Monica Goodling Testimony, Part VIII
Please keep extraneous comments to a minimum to lighten the load on the servers.
Just as a recap for those just checking in. As per usual, the later stages of questioning were much more interesting than the earlier ones. Congressmen Schiff and Davis (who introduced the no confidence resolution against Alberto Gonzales) basically got Goodling to cede that all of the things Gonzales has done of late–put loyalty over the Constitution, lie to Congress, and preside over a collapse in morale in his department–are things they would fire a USA for. Davis also got Goodling to tell about the conversation she had with Gonzales just before she left, in which he basically tried to compare notes with her as to the events surrounding the USA firings. Then Keith Ellison was up, showing that Paulose was hired over someone with much more experience–but who was branded a liberal (but not a Democrat!).
Right now we're waiting for the Committee to return from a recess to vote.
Conyers: Rather than have a second round of questioning, move to a questioning for the last 30 minutes to be divided between majority and minority.
Lamar Smith: Our time will be Chris Cannon.
Conyers: We will designate Adam Schiff to designate time. Cannon, begin.
Cannon (UT): On the record, appreciate the way you handled lobby reform bill. Yield to Keller.
Keller: You didn't have a major role in list, you asked some political questions, and you disagree with AGAGs testimony.
MG: AFAIK decisions were made for appropriate reasons, the handling was not great.
Keller: Turn to #5. Email, OAG 22, May 11, 2006, from Sampson to William Kelley, you were in fact senior counsel or senior liaison. Were you aware of this?
MG: I don't remember it.
Keller: Here is a list from May 11, so that's how I get the point that you weren't a major player, you were liaison and you weren't aware a letter was compiled.
MG: I saw a list that predated this email.
Keller: This email says "the real problem we have with Carol Lam" we should have someone to replace her as soon as her term expired. The day before Lam sent notice to DOJ she was seeking search warrants. This is their smoking gun. I'd like you to look at bottom, isn't it true, that April 14, 2006, a month before, one of the people DOJ recommends terminating was Lam. One final point, just in case anyone is not clear on where Gonzales stood on this issue, and AG said to me, he was aware of the problem in SD and that they were taking steps to do something about it. Gist of his testimony is that he knew then there was a problem in April 2006. You had heard conversations in 2004, 2005 about problems. I will yield my time.
Lundgren: You mentioned that you were concerned about statements that might come out that might hurt USAs to be released. As I understand it, you felt these people were otherwise honorable folks, who had done good jobs, there was no reason to hurt their reputation.
MG They had served more than their 4 year terms. I didn't think we had to do anything to damage their reputation. I thought it was within in POTUS' authority to make those changes if he wanted to do so.
Lundgren: were you aware of any complaints from local law enforcement.
MG: I don't remember hearing anything like that.
Lundgren: Are you aware of Federalist Society.
MG: Open debate, largely comprised of conservative.
Lundgren: Like-minded individuals who have fidelity to Constitution, might be AUSAs and USAs. Do you find it any problem when learning that someone is in FS when hiring. Following up on FS, I notice you're an ABA member. Has that impeded your career.
MG I don't believe so.
[Is this Lundgren or Cannon ?] It goes too far to say that Members cannot raise issues for prosecution. Are you aware of Iglesias' failure to report contact with DOJ. I think the reasons for his firing are manifest. I'd like to read into record. Margolis: "If Sen Kerry were elected after 2004, these people would be out on the street anyway." There's been some question to your role in these, I refer back to Iglesias, Goodling holds keys to Kingdom, if they have her describe process bt WH, WHCO, and DOJ, the picture becomes a lot clearer.
[I think this is Chabot]: It is the power of POTUS to make such changes. That's what most AGs have done until this one. It seems to be more of a political witchhunt, they said it relates to job performance. Which gave fuel for political debate.
Cannon: One of the 93 USAs fired by Clinton was investigatng him.
Schiff: when did the meeting with AG take place?
MG In March, in his office, just him and I, it wasn't scheduled.
Schiff: During the course of the meeting, he raised his thoughts on firing of USAs with you, You felt uncomfortable. You thought it would be subject of dispute later and you felt uncomfortable being put in situation where your testimony might be compromised.
MG I rememebr wondering if we should be having this discussion.
Schiff: Top law enforcement didnt' raise issue that this might be inappropriate. Did it matter that you considered AG's testimony was inaccurate. Did AG tell you that he thought Cummins was fired for good reason.
MG He thought they were all in the same category.
Schiff: You understood that Cummins was fired to make room for Griffin. Didn't that make you uncomfortable?
MG the fact that we wanted Griffin to serve in Ar, wasn't exclusive of the fact that Cummins was rated one way or another.
Schiff You understood it wasn't true that Cummins was fired for performance.
MG I think he thought Kyle put him on a list bc he thought there were performance reason. What he was trying to say is that he thought Cummins was put on for a reason.
Schiff He was angry at McNulty.
MG He was upset, yes.
Schiff There was a meeting about how Iglesias was put on the list.
MG Group of people working on this issue had a meeting, after Sampson left, as close as I can get. The room was full.
Schiff and someone asked how Iglesias got on list. And someone said "that's been addressed."
MG I asked how he had gotten on the list. I don't remember who replied that it had been addressed.
Schiff McNulty struck info that Iglesias "didn't move cases."
MG [Explains] Wanted to give Domenici way to explain that himself.
Schiff McNulty made it clear that he wasn't going to discuss the Domenici calls, moving cases.
MG SOmeone else in the room, there was a conversation between DAG and someone else, maybe someone should call his CoS and see if Domenici wants to address that to his colleagues. It's the Senator's place to address it privately.
Schiff: Meeting where Rove said "you need to explain why people fired."
MG I can't remember what he said, that's my memory but my memory was that it was a follow-on comment to someone else.
Schiff Somone emphasized that there needs to be a clear reason why fired. AG was trying to supply reason why Cummins got fired. How did Griffin get hired. McNulty said he didn't know how Griffin got hired. He said he didn't know. That was a false statement, wasn't it.
MG I believe he had some information on it. I can't speak to what he remembered or knew.
Davis: Thank you for candor and courtesy.
Conyers: please let witness finish questions.
Davis: Transcript of AG testimony, May 10, will you look at page 18. Look at portion marked AG Gonzales, I'm going to read it for the record. "I have not gone back and discussed this investigation with Sampson and others to protect the integrity of this investigation. I have not asked these specific questoins." Based on your knowledge, is that testimony totally accurate.
MG [pause] I don't know what period he is referencing. I assume AG stopped talking to people but it must have been after I left.
Davis Do you agree that it says that. Did AG have conversation with you re: terimination of USAs. Did you know you might be fact witness about that. Had there been substantial news coverage that you'd be a fact witness.
MG He had told me they were having conversations to see if needed to be a fact witness.
Davis: Page 17, Chairman Conyers. You are the one that we talk to regularly. Just tell me, how the USA termination list came to be. Who suggested putting these on the list and why. What Mr Sampson engaged in, toward the end, was presented to me as a recommendation. Was that sworn testimony fully complete.
MG I don't know that I see anything inaccurate in it.
Davis: Did you understand he was briefed. Was the AG's presence referenced?
MG he doesn't provide a date. That could be a reference to that meeting.
Conyers: questioning comes to an end. Thank you and your counsel. Your testimony has been of help in getting us closer, both what you've been able to tell us about, the matters you know, and the matters you don't know. 5 days to submit questions. Requested that you promptly return your answers. There remain basic questions about how the termination list was formed. We thank you.
Dowd: Do I understand that questions from committee will still be under compulsion.