Democrats call for special prosecutor to probe Gonzales perjury
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Three Senate Democrats called on the Justice Department's Solicitor General to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether or not Attorney General Alberto Gonzales committed perjury in Congressional testimony on the Bush administration's domestic spying program.
Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) harshly criticized the Attorney General in the Thursday Capitol Hill press conference.
"His inability to answer simple and straight forward questions was stunning," Schumer said. "His instinct is not to tell the truth, but to dissemble and deceive."
Schumer laid out the case that the senator had perjured himself, pointing to differences between a number of statements made by Gonzales regarding a series of March 2004 meetings over President George W. Bush's warrantless wiretapping program. He pointed especially to Gonzales' insistence that a meeting with top Congressional leaders did not concern the "Terrorist Surveillance Program," the Bush administration's publicly acknowledged domestic wiretapping program.
"It's in black and white," he argued. "At the helm of this Department of Justice is a man who has potentially misled the American public again and again."
Schumer said that a special prosecutor was needed and called on Solicitor General Paul Clement to appoint someone outside the Justice Department to investigate to Gonzales.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) echoed his remarks.
"I have never seen an Attorney General so contemptuous," she said.
Gonzales could be facing a perjury investigation as the result of his testimony this week before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
This morning, CNN spoke to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), a member of the Judiciary Committee, who expressed great frustration with Gonzales. "In his testimony, there are so many instances where he doesn't tell the truth to the committee," said Schumer. "He is just not being straight. ... I've been in Washington 27 years and I have never seen anything like this."
Schumer suggested Gonzales might be lying about which program was involved because he had been asked before John Comey's testimony in May whether there was "any dissention about the wiretap program in the administration and he said no."
"Anyone who was involved knows that this man is just not telling the truth, and it's just unbelievable to me that either he doesn't step down or that the president ... doesn't ask him to resign," Schumer said. "How this man thinks he can just keep getting away with not telling the truth ... This is just the straw that is breaking the camel's back. He's done this over and over and over again."
Judiciary Committee Chair Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) is giving Gonzales until next week to change his testimony or face a perjury investigation. However Schumer told CNN, "I would like to see an investigation occur right away."
The following video is from CNN's American Morning, broadcast on July 26.