Today Monica Goodling, a former Department of Justice official who is right smack dab in the middle of the firing of eight U.S. attorneys, testified before the House Judiciary Committe.
Goodling had been granted partial immunity. And during her testimony, she said she became uncomfortable when, during a meeting, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales seemed to be trying to get the both of them to discuss their recollections of what happened during the purging of the attorneys.
From the Associated Press courtesy of MSNBC:
A former Justice Department official at the center of the uproar over prosecutor firings told House investigators Wednesday that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales tried to review his story of the dismissals with her at a time when lawmakers were homing in on conflicting accounts.
“It made me a little uncomfortable,” Monica Goodling, Gonzales’ former White House liaison, said of her conversation with the attorney general just before she took a leave of absence in March. “I just did not know if it was appropriate for us to both be discussing our recollections of what had happened.”
Goodling said for the first time Wednesday that Gonzales did review the story of the firings with her at an impromptu meeting she requested in his office a few days before she took a leave of absence.
“I was somewhat paralyzed. I was distraught, and I felt like I wanted to make a transfer,” Goodling recalled during a packed hearing of the House Judiciary Committee.
Gonzales, she said, indicated he would think about Goodling’s request.
“He then proceeded to say, ‘Let me tell you what I can remember,’ and he laid out for me his general recollection ... of some of the process” of the firings, Goodling added. When Gonzales finished, “he asked me if I had any reaction to his iteration.”
Goodling said the conversation made her uncomfortable because she was aware that she, Gonzales and others would be called by Congress to testify.
It should also be noted that last month, Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he steered clear of aides who might be called to testify about the attorney purge.
From the AP courtesy of MSNBC:
Goodling’s dramatic story about her final conversation with Gonzales brought questions from panel members about whether he had tried to align her story with his and whether he was truthful in his own congressional testimony.
Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee last month that he didn’t know the answers to some questions about the firings because he was steering clear of aides — such as Goodling — who were likely to be questioned.
“I haven’t talked to witnesses because of the fact that I haven’t wanted to interfere with this investigation and department investigations,” Gonzales told the panel.
One other additional note from today's hearing: Monica Goodling admitted that she "crossed the line" (read: BROKE THE LAW) because she tood into consideration the party affiliations of candidates who were being considered for career prosecutor positions.