The firing of Graves, Bud Cummins of Arkansas and the other seven and the role, or lack thereof, played by Gonzales is the center of an editorial in today's New York Times, which says it is time for Gonzales to take the next bus out of town:
It defies belief that an attorney general would allow so many top officials to be fired without being well aware of the reasons.
Yet that was just what Mr. Gonzales claimed. He delegated, he was not informed, he just could not recall. None of it was believable. When asked by Representative Robert Wexler who decided to fire David Iglesias, the United States attorney in New Mexico, Mr. Gonzales flatly stated that President Bush and Vice President Cheney did not. He said he did not know who chose individual prosecutors to be fired, but he was certain that it was not his bosses.
As disturbing as Mr. Gonzales’s convenient memory lapses and apparent prevarications was his unwillingness to engage the moral seriousness of this scandal. He seemed indifferent when asked if it would be a bad thing if United States attorneys — critically important players in the justice system — were pushed out to make room for eager young Republicans. He kept trying to change the subject from the administration’s efforts to politicize the rule of law to the agenda he claims now preoccupies him — fighting terrorism, crime and child predators.
Nothing in this stumbling, evasive, amnesia-filled performance gave any reassurance that the firings were proper. It was a reminder that Mr. Gonzales’s record was deplorable before the prosecutor purge. He was an architect of policies in the war on terror that the Supreme Court has held to be illegal and unconstitutional. He has defended President Bush’s illegal domestic wiretapping operations with a zeal terrifying in the head of an agency that is supposed to uphold the Constitution — not manufacture excuses for the president to trample on it. There is also evidence that he allowed ideologues to pack career positions at the Justice Department with thinly credentialed hires, chosen for their party affiliation.