Gonzales may have revealed classified meeting, committed perjury
Capitol Hill's leading daily seems to have it in for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
Today's headline from yesterday's hearings? "Gonzales Digs Deeper Hole."
After finishing up his latest round of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Gonzales may have more than his credibility to lose. Wednesday's (paid-restricted) Roll Call reports the AG "may have put himself in legal jeopardy" as senators from both parties cast doubt on the veracity of his testimony.
Republican Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) put it bluntly: "I do not find your testimony credible." He reminded Gonzales that the entire committee would review his testimony, in an apparent threat of legal consequences for lying to Congress.
Gonzales clashed with other senators over the many conflicting and shifting elements of his and others' testimony surrounding a 2004 trip Gonzales and White House chief of staff Andy Card took to visit then-Attorney General John Ashcroft in the hospital to gain approval for the President's warrantless wiretapping program.
In his testimony, Gonzales revealed for the first time a meeting with the so-called "Gang of Eight" -- the two top Republican and Democratic Congressional leaders and the chairmen and ranking members of both chambers' Intelligence committees -- on the same day as the Ashcroft hospital visit, where the members of Congress were supposedly briefed on "vitally important intelligence activities."
In revealing this meeting, Gonzales may have undercut his previous testimony in which he claimed the disagreement at the Justice Department was "not about the terrorist surveillance program that the president announced to the American people."
One "Gang of Eight" member, Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), who was present at this classified briefing took issue with Gonzales even speaking about the meeting, "'The attorney general is selectively declassifying material from a classified briefing, which I find improper.'"
Meanwhile, Harman questioned the appropriateness of Gonzales even revealing that there had been a classified Gang of Eight meeting.
"He doesn’t have the authority to do that," she added.
Another "gang member," Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), when asked if he believed Gonzales had perjured himself, responded, ""Based upon what I know about it, I'd have to say yes."
Enjoy this story? Get politics headlines in your browser as they break.