MiniBush; Just be Gone!
By Sinclere Lee
WASHINGTON (BNW) Like the character MiniMe who is Dr. Evils alter ego in the Austin Powers movies, Alberto Gonzales is MiniBush and a lapdog for this administration. MiniBush will do anything to stay in favor of his boss.
Now that MiniBush is out and on his way back to Texas, all that is needed now to be said about this creep is; just be gone!
Gonzales announced his resignation today after enduring months of pounding by US Senate and calls that he just be gone. And now that he is gone, we wont have to look at that lying smirk on his ugly fact.
U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement will serve as acting attorney general, the official said, amid speculation that Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff could be a candidate for a permanent replacement.
A 52-year-old Bush loyalist, Gonzales was at the center of a political firestorm over the sacking of federal prosecutors last year, which critics in Congress said were politically motivated. He faced a possible perjury investigation for his testimony before Congress.
Gonzales spoke to Bush by telephone on Friday and then visited him on Sunday at his Crawford ranch, where he formally submitted his letter of resignation, said another senior administration official.
"He (Bush) very reluctantly accepted it," the official said. Asked whether anyone from the White House had suggested that Gonzales resign, the official said: "It was his decision.
Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, blamed Gonzales and Bush for "a severe crisis of leadership" at the Justice Department.
Gonzales was in a conundrum of controversial issues including the wiretapping programs and the fired U.S. attorneys. Plus, hes just too damn short for the job.
"I have lived the American dream," said Gonzales, the nation's first Latino to hold the post. "Even my worst days as attorney general have been better than my father's best days."
Gonzales described public service as "honorable and noble" and thanked President Bush for his friendship.
"Yesterday I met with President Bush and informed him of my decision to conclude my government services as Attorney General of the United States effective September 17."
Gonzales did not take questions from reporters.
Bush will likely nominate Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to the position, senior administration officials said. Video Watch Gonzales on his "worst days" as top prosecutor »
Chertoff has headed Homeland Security since 2005. He served as a federal appellate court judge, a federal prosecutor and as special counsel for a Senate committee investigating President Clinton's involvement in the Whitewater land development.
Solicitor General Paul Clement will serve as acting attorney general, the White House press office said.
President Bush is expected to make a statement about Gonzales at 11:50 a.m. from his ranch in Crawford, Texas, where he has been vacationing, but will not announce a replacement, two senior administration officials said.
Gonzales aides at the highest level and other top-level officials knew nothing about the announcement in advance, Justice Department sources told reporters.
They were not informed until a meeting Monday morning, sources said, when Gonzales acknowledged he would be reading a statement later in the day.
One of Gonzales' chief Democratic critics, New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer, appealed to the administration "to work with us to nominate someone whom Democrats can support and America can be proud of."
Clay Johnson, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, would replace Chertoff, the senior administration officials said.
Johnson, a longtime friend of Bush, served as the president's chief of staff and appointments secretary when Bush was governor of Texas. He was executive director of the Bush-Cheney transition team.
Although Bush had long stood by Gonzales, many members of Congress from both sides of the aisle had called on him to quit after the firing of several U.S. attorneys in 2006.
Schumer and several congressional Democrats have asked for a special counsel to investigate Gonzales' involvement in what has been accused of being politically motivated firings of several U.S. attorneys and a controversial government no-warrant wiretapping program.
Senior Justice Department officials say Gonzales' resignation is not expected to affect the scope or pace of an ongoing internal investigation into the firing of the U.S. attorneys and other issues.
"Alberto Gonzales was never the right man for this job," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Monday. "He lacked independence, he lacked judgment and he lacked the spine to say no to Karl Rove." Rove, another longtime Bush official and his top political adviser, also resigned this month.
"This resignation is not the end of the story," Reid warned. "Congress must get to the bottom of this mess and follow the facts where they lead, into the White House."
In a statement, Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont said Gonzales was responsible for a "severe crisis of leadership that allowed our justice system to be corrupted by political influence."
Leahy called the experience "a lesson to those in the future who hold these high offices, so that law enforcement is never subverted in this way again."
Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards said the attorney general's move was "better late than never."
Schumer hailed Gonzales' resignation.
"I think that clearly this was the right thing to do," the New York Democrat told CNN. "It took a long time, but there is no question about it that the Justice Department is virtually nonfunctional."
Schumer added that, "no one thought Alberto Gonzales was up to the job" saying that "we need someone who will put rule of law first."
But Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky expressed "hope that whomever President Bush selects as the next attorney general, he or she is not subjected to the same poisonous partisanship that we've sadly grown accustomed to over the past eight months."
Describing Gonzales' resignation as a reaction to "basically unproven charges," GOP Sen. John Cornyn, of Texas called it "a sad day and sad commentary on the hyper-partisan atmosphere in Washington."
Moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine called it "a positive step forward."
After Rove's resignation, senior administration officials said White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten had told senior aides that if they intended to stay after Labor Day, they should plan to remain for the rest of Bush's term through January 2009.
Throughout Gonzales' time as attorney general, controversies surrounded his positions on issues such as U.S. interrogation techniques and the wiretapping of conversations between Americans and suspected terrorists overseas.
This year, after Congress began an investigation into the firings of eight U.S. attorneys, Gonzales faced a great deal of scrutiny and the calls for his dismissal began.
The Senate Judiciary Committee looked into whether the administration may have fired some or all of them for political reasons. In his testimony before the committee on multiple occasions, Gonzales repeatedly seemed to contradict himself, other members of his department or Justice Department documents.
The attorney general also testified that he could not answer dozens of questions because he could not "recall" certain incidents or meetings.
Gonzales was also at the center of a dispute over the controversial no-warrant eavesdropping program authorized by Bush and his testimony that there was no dissent among administration officials over the program. Gonzales later sent a letter to Senate leaders acknowledging he "may have created confusion" in his testimony.
Gonzales said the dissent erupted over "other intelligence activities" and he would not discuss what he meant by "other."
Gonzales appeared to contradict Senate testimony by FBI Director Robert Mueller that a confrontation between Gonzales and then-Attorney General John Ashcroft in Ashcroft's hospital room in 2004 was indeed about the controversial surveillance program.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigned on Monday, ending a controversial tenure as chief U.S. law enforcement officer that blemished the administration of President George W. Bush.
Gonzales announced at the Justice Department that his resignation would take effect on September 17. He refused to take questions from reporters and gave no reason for his sudden decision to depart after months of controversy.
"I have lived the American dream," said Gonzales, a son of migrant workers who began working for Bush when the president was still the governor of Texas.
"Even my worst days as attorney general have been better than my father's best days," he said.
Bush was expected to make a statement later Monday, but a senior administration official said the president had not decided on a new nominee.
"I hope the attorney general's decision will be a step toward getting to the truth about the level of political influence this White House wields over the Department of Justice and toward reconstituting its leadership," he said in a statement.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said: "This resignation is not the end of the story. Congress must get to the bottom of this mess and follow the facts where they lead, into the White House."
Gonzales is the latest member of Bush's inner circle to leave the White House as the administration heads toward the final year of its two-term reign. Top Bush adviser Karl Rove departed last week, following former communications director Dan Bartlett earlier this year.
Gonzales worked for Bush when he was governor of Texas in the 1990s. He served as White House lawyer in Bush's first term as president before becoming the first Hispanic attorney general in February 2005.
Current and former administration officials had said the department's integrity had been damaged under Gonzales with controversy over the firing of the prosecutors, his support for Bush's crooked domestic spying program adopted after the September 11 attacks and other issues.
Before becoming the chief U.S. law enforcement official, Gonzales drew fire from critics of U.S. interrogation policy for writing in January 2002 that parts of the Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war were "obsolete" and some provisions "quaint."
Officials complained that employee morale at the Justice Department had been hurt during Gonzales' tenure and that the attorney general's relations with the Democrats and some Republicans in Congress had deteriorated beyond repair.
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