Just some random thoughts on AGAG’s resignation.

AGAG and Kim

There have been a number of people connecting Gonzales’ resignation with Rove’s (Cenk Uygur’s take and Sidney Blumenthal’s). I am much much more interested in the timing of DOJ Civil Rights Division head Wan Kim’s resignation. Here’s the chronology:

The week of August 13: Bradley Schlozman resigns 

August 23: Wan Kim resigns, apparently giving all of six day’s notice

August 24: Gonzales first offers his resignation to Bush

According to this NYT story,the whole Gonzales thing was rushed and sudden, and it all took placestarting the day after Kim was reported to have resigned.

A senior administration official said today that Mr. Gonzales, whowas in Washington, had called the president in Crawford, Tex., onFriday to offer his resignation. The president rebuffed the offer, butsaid the two should talk face to face on Sunday.

Mr. Gonzales andhis wife flew to Texas, and over lunch on Sunday the president acceptedthe resignation with regret, the official said.

On Saturday nightMr. Gonzales was contacted by his press spokesman to ask how thedepartment should respond to inquiries from reporters about rumors ofhis resignation, and he told the spokesman to deny the reports.

WhiteHouse spokesmen also insisted on Sunday that they did not believe thatMr. Gonzales was planning to resign. Aides to senior members of theSenate Judiciary Committee said over the weekend that they had receivedno suggestion from the administration that Mr. Gonzales intended toresign.

As late as Sunday afternoon, Mr. Gonzales himself wasdenying through his spokesman that he was quitting. The spokesman,Brian Roehrkasse, said Sunday that he telephoned the attorney generalabout the reports of his imminent resignation “and he said it wasn’ttrue — so I don’t know what more I can say.” [my emphasis]

Now, granted, unlike Kim, Gonzales gave three week’s notice. But the IG investigation of the Civil Rights Division is one (of several) that clearly has merit. And the politicization of the Civil Rights Division is one that was reported to have been ordered from on high. Is it possible that Gonzales was unwilling to further perjure himself to protect those who had politicized justice in this country?

All of which is not to say that Gonzales’ resignation was unrelated to Rove’s. But from the descriptions, it sounds like Gonzales’ wife had a major influence in his decision to resign. And something seems to have triggered her influence just in the last week.



Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.