Goodling: Being a Republican helps in getting hired at the Justice Department
In the afternoon session of a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, the Justice Department's former White House Liaison admitted that self-acknowledged Republicans had a better chance of getting hired by her for non-political openings at the Justice Department.
In questioning by Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL), Goodling added more details to her statements in the morning session acknowledged that she frequently interviewed people who sought political and career appointments simultaneously. When she didn't have political slots open, she would then direct them to career postings.
"I would interview them as if they were a political appointee, but if I didn't have a political position I could recommend them for, then I would pass their resumes on to people for consideration for career positions," she explained.
She added, "Sometimes if I interviewed people, even if I wasn't trying to ask a political question, they'd just self-disclose because they knew I was a Republican, and they figured it would help them get the job, I assume. Sometimes people just self-disclose that kind of information to me, and the same thing occurred when I did reference calls. There were times I crossed the line probably in my reference calls by asking, but there were other times I didn't and people just would volunteer the information."
She went on, "I'm not going to sit here and tell the committee that I could completely exclude it from my brain, sometimes I just knew where they were coming from and I can't say that it didn't play a factor in what I thought about someone. I'm just being honest. Sometimes it helps them."
Rep. Feeney attempted to suggest that the same thing had occurred under Democratic administrations.
"Did you have any understanding of how the previous Justice Department worked under President Clinton?" he asked.
Goodling answered that she didn't know.
A video clip of the exchange from CNN Pipeline is presented below:
Former aide says Gonzales gave erroneous testimony
In subsequent questioning with Rep. Artur Davis (D-GA), who recently co-sponsored a 'no confidence' motion for the Attorney General, a parliamentary melee broke out as Goodling was asked if the Attorney General had given incomplete testimony with regard to his knowledge of the list of US Attorneys who were set to be fired and her attorney attempted to intervene.
Asked if it was accurate that Gonzales "never saw the US Attorneys list," Goodling responded, "I believe he saw a list," and then affirmed that "it would be inaccurate testimony."
She also said Gonzales's testimony that he had not been briefed on the firings was not accurate, and that Gonzales was present at a Nov. 27 meeting.
But when she tried to suggest that the Attorney General's inaccurate remarks occurred only in the context of a press conference, not in testimony, her attorney, John Dowd, stood up to say he needed to speak with Goodling, and Rep. Davis told him to sit down because he was not a witness at the hearing, but only counsel to the former Justice Department aide.
Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) objected to Davis's action, and the hearing was disrupted as a series of parliamentary procedures ensued as the Congress members attempted to sort out the appropriate procedure.
When a 'motion to table' Lungren's objection succeeded, Davis resumed his questioning.
Goodling had noted that as the controversy deepened, she asked the Attorney General if should be transferred out of his office, prior to her resignation. At this moment, she said the Attorney General began discussing details of the US Attorneys controversy with her.
"He laid out for her me some of his general recollections...of some of the process for the replacing of the US Attorneys," she said. "He asked me if I had any reaction to his iteration, and I remember thinking at that point that this was something we were all going to have to talk about, I didn't know if it was maybe appropriate to talk about that at that point, and as far as I remember, I just didn't respond."
The Attorney General has stated on multiple occasions in testimony before the House and the Senate Judiciary Committees that he is unable to answer certain questions because the ongoing internal investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility and the office of the Inspector General prevent him from consulting his staff on the firing of the US Attorneys.
House Republicans joke with Goodling about her tenure
After a lengthy recess for votes on the House floor, the Judiciary Committee gave both the Republican and Democrats on the committee 15 minutes to ask their final questions. The House's Republicans focused on whether or not Goodling had been biased in her hiring practices.
Rep. Lungren asked Goodling if she would say membership in the conservative legal group, the Federalist Society, affected her personnel decisions. She answered in the negative.
Rep. Chris Cannon, ranking Republican of the subcommittee that has issued the subpoenas in the US Attorneys investigation, then joked with Goolding about her membership in another legal group.
"Following up on the Federalist Society, I note that you've been a long-standing member of that left-leaning organization the 'American Bar Association,'" Cannon said.
Goodling answered, "I've been a member of the American Bar Association longer than I've been a member of the Federalist Society."
Cannon then asked, "Has that impeded your career at the Justice Department?" to laughs in the chamber.
A smiling Goodling answered, "It hasn't seemed to, at least while I was there."
Cannon then summed up his view of the entire hearing.
"Ms. Goodling, we're done on our side, pretty much...Mr. Schiff I think is going to take the time from here, you've got 15 more grueling minutes, and we'll see if he can come up with something worthy of the hours and hours that we've spent on this subject up until now," the Utah Republican remarked.
In a post-hearing press conference, the committee's chairman, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), differed with Cannon.
"It seems that there are possible obstruction of justice and perjury charges," he said, referring to how Goodling's testimony interacted with prior statements by Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty and former Justice Department Chief of Staff D. Kyle Sampson. "So, I think it is presumptuous of Judiciary Committee members to say that we should go home."