Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Gonzales Gets A Lawyer

By Cernig

According to a Newsweek report today, former Attorney general Alberto Gonzales is lawyering up.

Gonzales’s choice of counsel, George Terwilliger—a partner at White & Case—is ironic if not surprising. A former deputy attorney general under the first President Bush, who later helped oversee GOP lawyers in the epic Florida recount battle of 2000, Terwilliger had been a White House finalist to replace Gonzales—only to be aced out at the last minute by retired federal judge Michael Mukasey.

The top concern for Gonzales, and now Terwilliger, is the expanding investigation by Glenn Fine, the Justice Department’s fiercely independent inspector general, according to three legal sources familiar with the matter who declined to speak publicly about ongoing investigations. Originally, Fine's internal Justice probe—conducted in conjunction with lawyers from the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility—focused on the mass dismissal of U.S. attorneys late last year. The investigation has since broadened to include, among other matters, charges that Gonzales lied to Congress about the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program and the circumstances surrounding his late-night March 10, 2004, visit to the hospital room of then attorney general John Ashcroft. At the same time, Congress is continuing to pursue more documents on harsh CIA interrogation techniques approved by Gonzales.
The report goes on to say that the focus of Gonzo's worries is the infamous Hospital Confrontation when Gonzales and Andy Card, White House chief of staff at the time, showed up at then-AG Ashcroft’s bedside to push for Ashcroft's agreement over the Terrorist Surveillance Program.

According to the report, Gonzales is said to be worried that Glenn Fine, the Justice Dept. Inspector General, who has been carrying out a probe, may refer the case for ethics violations or even perjury before Congress for Gonzales' actions and subsequent statements regarding the incident.

This one doesn't look like it is finished by a long chalk -and rightly so.