Big Mitch predicts that the Republican spin-meisters will be pushing a story that goes like this: Monica Goodling testified and was obviously very sincere, careful and honest. She was subjected to long, arduous, penetrating questioning. In spite of this, no wrongdoing has been uncovered.
First of all, we still don’t know how the list of U.S. Attorneys to be sacked came about. We can safely conclude that someone is withholding information. But let’s focus on the specific crimes that she testified about.
Monica Goodling testified today about a meeting she had with Alberto Gonzales shortly before she left the department. She stated that the conversation took place on the Thursday or Friday of the week before she left the department. She left on March 23rd -- so the conversation occurred on March 14th or 15th. Congress had already requested to interview Goodling about what she knew.
Goodling came to Gonzales to request a transfer because of the scandal. Gonzales did not immediately agree. He then began discussing what he remembered about the firing process. He asked her if she had "any reaction" to his recollection. The conversation made her “uncomfortable,” she testified. One can surmise that Gonzales was trying to shape her testimony.
On May 10th Gonzales testified in the House Judiciary Committee as follows: “I have not gone back and discussed this investigation with Sampson and others to protect the integrity of this investigation. I have not asked these specific questions.” General Gonzales appears to have been lying to Congress.
Ms. Goodling testified that she used political considerations in the hiring of non-political officials, in an apparent violation of the Hatch Act. On her behalf she admitted to “crossing the line,” but she said, she didn’t “mean to.” She also testified that McNulty was inaccurate and misleading in his testimony.
Regardless of what you hear Republicans saying, Ms. Goodling’s testimony today did nothing to restore confidence in Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
The second negative -- call it a double negative if you will -- is this little item from Roll Call today, reprinted in it’s entirety:
Vice President Cheney isn’t not on the phone records of the alleged D.C. Madam, who is accused of running a high-price call-girl ring in Washington, the accused madam’s lawyer said on Tuesday.“… and tell ’em Big Mitch sent ya!”