The Speaker of the House called Friday for the resignation of embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, questioning his candor over the controversial dismissal of eight top prosecutors.

Nancy Pelosi urged Gonzales to step down one day after President George W. Bush’s longtime aide was grilled by a key Senate panel over his role in the firing of the US attorneys.

“By his actions and with his testimony yesterday, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has lost the trust of the American people,” Pelosi said.

“The nation cannot have a chief law enforcement officer whose candor and judgment are in serious question,” the Democratic leader said in a statement.

“The president should restore credibility to the office of the attorney general. Alberto Gonzales must resign,” the California lawmaker said.

Pelosi had called for his resignation in March, when documents and witnesses emerged that indicated that the firings of eight federal prosecutors last year had been politically motivated.

But her latest demand followed a day after Gonzales testified in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to defend his actions as the country’s top law enforcement official and fend off calls for his resignation.

In his highly anticipated testimony Thursday, Gonzales tried to explain that the decision to fire the prosecutors had not been tainted by an abuse of power, and that he had been scarcely involved in the process.

Senator Tom Coburn, an influential Republican, joined calls for Gonzales to step down, telling the attorney general at the hearing that “the best way to put this behind us is your resignation.”

The White House, however, issued a statement after the hearing saying that Bush was “pleased” with his longtime aide’s performance before the committee.

Bush has “full confidence” in Gonzales, who “again showed that nothing improper occurred,” Bush spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

Copyright © 2007 Agence France Presse

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