White House

Another Gonzales aide bails out

Another Justice Department official involved in the controversial firings of federal prosecutors is resigning, the department said on Friday.

Mike Elston, the chief of staff to outgoing Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, is the fifth Justice Department official to resign since March as the Democratic-led Congress investigates the department’s firing of nine U.S. attorneys.

Elston said he was leaving to join a law firm in the Washington area. His resignation takes effect next Friday.

Gonzales under investigation

The US Justice Department is investigating its own chief, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, to see if he tried to skew testimony over the firings of nine federal prosecutors, officials said.

Two department officials, in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee dated Wednesday, confirmed that the probe into the firings includes examining a meeting between Gonzales and one of his former top aides, Monica Goodling.

Goodling, questioned by the committee last month over her role in the allegedly politically motivated sackings, testified that Gonzales’s remarks in a March discussion with her on the issue left her feeling “a little uncomfortable.”

Pace says he was forced out

In his first public comments on the Bush administration’s surprise decision to replace him as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Peter Pace disclosed that he had turned down an offer to voluntarily retire rather than be forced out.

To quit in wartime, he said, would be letting down the troops.

Pace, responding to a question from the audience after he spoke at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va., on Thursday evening, said he first heard that his expected nomination for a second two-year term was in jeopardy in mid-May. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on June 8 announced Pace was being replaced.

A Gonzales by any other name

Forget about whether Attorney General Alberto Gonzales remembers too little, deletes too many e-mails, fires federal prosecutors for partisan reasons or justifies the use of cruel and unusual punishment. The real issue bedeviling Hispanics is why he insists on torturing his surname.

The real name is Gonzalez.

The attorney general can’t blame his peculiar spelling (and it is very peculiar) on an Ellis Island error. There’s no legal immigration record for three of his foreign-born grandparents.

What’s the difference between -es and -ez?

Plenty.

Did Gonzo tamper with testimony?

The Justice Department is investigating U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s meeting with a former top aide about the controversial firing of federal prosecutors last year, according to a letter released on Thursday by the Senate Judiciary committee.

In testimony before the House Judiciary committee, the former aide, Monica Goodling, said Gonzales told her about his recollections of the dismissals in March, shortly before she resigned.

Judge to Libby: Go to jail

A federal judge said Thursday he will not delay a 2 1/2-year prison sentence for I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby in the CIA leak case, a ruling that could send the former White House aide to prison within weeks.

U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton’s decision will send Libby’s attorneys rushing to an appeals court to block the sentence and could force President Bush to consider calls from Libby’s supporters to pardon the former aide.

No date was set for Libby to report to prison but it’s expected to be within six to eight weeks. That will be left up to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, which will also select a facility.

Putting the brakes on Bush

Slowly, too slowly, the federal courts are chipping away at President Bush’s unbridled assertion of presidential power as long as it’s done in the name of the war on terrorism.

In a 2-to-1 decision, a federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., ruled that the president cannot indefinitely imprison without trial or charges a legal U.S. resident merely on suspicion.

Libby headed back to court

Former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby is headed back to court to try to forestall his 2 1/2-year prison term in the CIA leak case.

Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, planned to ask a federal judge Thursday to put the sentence on hold while he appeals his perjury and obstruction conviction.

Bush goes up the Hill

President George W. Bush Tuesday beseeched Republican allies to resuscitate a moribund immigration bill, but appeared to change few minds on a sweeping bid to deal with 12 million illegal immigrants.

Hoping to debunk claims he is now a “lame duck”, Bush made a rare appearance at a weekly Senate Republican policy lunch, hoping to persuade conservatives to back one of his last hopes for a signature second term domestic achievement.

Congressional Republicans once snapped into line behind Bush, but deep into his second term, beset by bloodshed in Iraq and low approval ratings, his one-time allies are now being tugged towards a political future without him.