Press Releases

Washington, DCU.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has called for the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales after newly released documents revealed that Attorney General Gonzales was directly involved in discussions leading up to the firing of at least eight U.S. Attorneys. 

During an interview yesterday on Fox News Sunday, Senator Feinstein said that documents released Friday evening contradicted public statements and conversations she had with the Attorney General. 

Under a provision inserted without notice into the USA Patriot Act reauthorization last year, the law was changed so that if a vacancy arises, the Attorney General may appoint a replacement for an indefinite period of time – thus completely avoiding the Senate confirmation process.

The Senate last week approved a measure sponsored by Senator Feinstein to restore the process in place before 2006.  It would allow the Attorney General to appoint interim U.S. Attorney for 120 days.  If after that time the President has not sent up a nominee to the Senate and had that nominee confirmed, then the authority to appoint an interim U.S. Attorney would fall to the district court.  This was the law from 1986 to 2006.

Below is a transcript of Senator Feinstein’s interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday:

WALLACE: Senator Feinstein, what do you make, one, of this new disclosure that Gonzales, in fact, did meet with top aides 10 days before the U.S. attorneys were fired? And how badly do you think he has been damaged as the chief law enforcement officer of the country?

FEINSTEIN: I think he's been damaged very badly. He certainly has in my eyes and, I believe, in the eyes of the nation and in the eyes of many, many senators.

He said very clearly, "I did not see any memos. I did not have any discussions." This firing was carried out on December 7th. The meetings were held shortly before that.

WALLACE: November 27th.

FEINSTEIN: November 27th. Clearly, he was there. Not only that, there is another e-mail that says attorney general will call Senator Kyl. So clearly, he knew.

Now he's saying he doesn't know. I think the day of the dual-hatted Attorney General should be over. Attorney General Gonzales has had the view that he serves two masters, that he serves the President and that he serves as the chief law enforcement officer.

He serves one master, and that's the people of this country – in being straightforward, in following the law.

WALLACE: I have to follow up, because up to this point, you have held off on calling for his resignation.

FEINSTEIN: Up to this point, I have held off. It was really Friday when I saw this. You have to realize he called me...

WALLACE: So you think he should resign now.

FEINSTEIN: He called me when I began to become involved in this and told me I didn't know my facts, I didn't know what I was doing. And it turns out he wasn't telling me the truth then either.

WALLACE: So you think he should step down?

FEINSTEIN: I believe he should step down, and I don't like saying this. This is not my natural personality at all. But I think the nation is not well served by this.

I think we need to get at the bottom of why these resignations were made, who ordered them, and what the strategy was.