Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Gonzales Testimony Postponed Until Thursday

The Attorney General's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee has been postponed until Thursday, and there have been several additional developments in the scandal.

A congressional investigation into the justice department’s controversial firing of US attorneys broadened on Monday after a senior Democratic lawmaker asked to interview eight more officials.

The list released on Monday by John Conyers, chairman of the House judiciary committee, included four current and acting US attorneys and Matthew Friedrich, the chief of staff and a former counsel to Alberto Gonzales, the embattled US attorney-general.

Mr Conyers said he wanted to interview the officials "on a voluntary basis" regarding the circumstances behind the firing of eight US attorneys last year, representations that were made to Congress about the dismissals, and related matters.

The former top aide to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales has told Congressional investigators that Mr. Gonzales was "inaccurate," or "at least not complete" in asserting that he had no role in the deliberations about individual United States attorneys who were later dismissed, a Democratic senator said Monday.

The statements by D. Kyle Sampson, the former chief of staff to Mr. Gonzales, during an interview with investigators on Sunday, were made public as the Senate Judiciary Committee postponed a hearing that had been scheduled for Tuesday in which Mr. Gonzales was to appear to defend his actions in the dismissals.

Sampson said Gonzales probably participated in a meeting last summer about Carol Lam's performance as U.S. attorney in San Diego, Schumer said. Another Justice official also recalls Gonzales's attendance at the meeting, Schumer and Senate aides said yesterday.

According to Schumer, Sampson also said Gonzales told him early last month that Bush had complained in October about prosecutor David C. Iglesias of New Mexico. Gonzales later told NBC News he did not recall the conversation with Bush.

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