2. INTRODUCTION (RECIT.)
CHORUS: Today, the Department of Justice is experiencing a crisis of leadership.
LEAHY: I’ve warned for years against lack of experience and judgment.
CHORUS: We’re seeing the results amid rising crime and rampant war profiteering, abandonment of civil rights, and lack of accountability.
LEAHY: I fear the Justice Department is losing its way. Investigation into the firing of United States attorneys have revealed an administration that values...
3. LOYALTY OVER JUDGMENT (CHORUS)
...loyalty over judgment, secrecy over openness, ideology over competence.
4. THE PURPOSE (RECIT.)
GRASSLEY: It is improper to fire a U.S. attorney for unjust partisan gain.
SPECTER: The purpose of this hearing is to determine whether Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should continue in that capacity.
5. THE OATH (RECIT.)
LEAHY: Mr. Attorney General, please raise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you will give before this committee will be the whole truth, so help you God?
GONZALES: I do.
CARDIN: Let us go over the U.S. attorneys who were fired.
6. THE LIST (CHORUS)
In New Mexico, a U.S. attorney refused to expedite a probe into Democrats before an election. In Nevada and Arkansas, in Arizona and California, U.S. attorneys investigated corrupt Republican politicians. In Washington, a U.S. attorney declined to intervene in a disputed gubernatorial election. In Missouri, there were voter fraud investigations. We look at those who were removed and find they were involved in political issues that were unpopular to the Republican establishment. What is one to think?
7. THE DECISIONS (RECIT.)
FEINSTEIN: Mr. Attorney General. I may be very slow. But I don’t understand how this list was compiled.
GONZALES: Senator, I have searched my memory. My schedule shows a meeting, but I have no recollection of it.
SESSIONS: Well, I’m concerned about your recollection, really, because it’s not that long ago. I would want to know who selected these individuals. Who was the decider?
GONZALES: Senator, I’m the attorney general. I make the decisions.
8. I DON’T RECALL (ARIA)
GONZALES: I did not make decisions about who should or should not be asked to resign. I don’t recall ever saying “No, take that person off,” or, “Add this person.” I ultimately approved the list of recommendations that were submitted to me. Those were my decisions.
9. YOU DON’T RECALL (RECIT.)
LEAHY: You don’t recall the meeting where you made the decision. How can you be sure you made the decision? (LAUGHTER)
GONZALES: Senator, I recall making the decision.
GONZALES: Sir, I don’t recall.
10. PREPARATION (DUET)
SPECTER: Let me review some of the record with you. I know you’re familiar with this record because I know you’ve been preparing for this hearing.
GONZALES: I prepare for every hearing, Senator.
SPECTER: Do you prepare for all your press conferences? Were you prepared for the press conference where you said there weren’t any discussions involving you?
GONZALES: I said I prepared for every hearing.
SPECTER: Well, and I’m asking you, do you prepare for your press conferences?
GONZALES: Senator, we do take time to prepare for the press conference.
SPECTER: Let’s—let’s move on. I don’t think you’re going to win a debate about your preparation, frankly.
11. STAND BY THE DECISION (DUET)
CARDIN: Mr. Gonzales, what concerns me the most is after reviewing all the facts, you stand by the decision.
GONZALES: I do, Senator. I do.
CARDIN: You would still do the same thing again.
CARDIN: I don’t understand that.
GONZALES: Senator, I would use a different process, a different process...
CARDIN: Same conclusion?
GONZALES: I have no reason to believe that the basis of the recommendations was improper motives.
12. THIS IS NOT ABOUT ALBERTO GONZALES (ARIA)
GONZALES: This is not about Alberto Gonzales. This is about the Department of Justice. I look back with pride in the things that we’ve accomplished: protecting our kids, protecting our neighborhoods, protecting our country. I have to be—I have to know in my heart that I can continue to be effective as the leader of this department. The moment I believe I can no longer be effective, I will resign.
13. FLAGELLATION (CHORUS)
It’s almost as if the walls were actually crumbling on this huge department. Nothing gets answered directly. Everything is obfuscated. Something’s rotten in Denmark. The way that this investigation has been handled is really deplorable. The communication was atrocious. It’s generous to say that there were misstatements. And I believe you ought to suffer the consequences. There is evidence of low morale—very low morale, lack of credibility—your personable credibility. The department is dysfunctional. I urge you to re-examine your performance and, for the good of the country, step down.
14. I THINK WE ALL WILL AGREE
HATCH: I think we all will agree, I think you’ve agreed that this was poorly handled.
HATCH: I mean, how many times do you have to be flagellated over that? There are two legitimate issues in the U.S. attorney controversy. First, were any of them removed for an improper reason? Second, did any administration officials knowingly mislead Congress or the public? After three months of hearings, all kinds of interviews, and thousands upon thousands of pages of documents, the evidence shows that the answer to both of those questions is a resounding no.
15. ATTACK ME
CHORUS: The evidence that we’ve uncovered shows that politics have entered the Department. You’ve come here seeking our trust. Frankly, Mr. Attorney General, you’ve lost mine.
GONZALES: This is not about Alberto Gonzales. It’s about what’s best for the department....
CHORUS: There are widespread abuses. And we know it goes even beyond what we’ve heard.
GONZALES: ...Clearly, there are issues I have to deal with....
CHORUS: Incompetent appointees.
GONZALES: ...I believe that I can be—
CHORUS: Legal briefs that contradict International Law.
GONZALES: ...I think that there are some good things that I can accomplish on behalf of this country....
CHORUS: Executive interference in the Justice Department.
GONZALES: ...I’m going to work as hard as I can to reestablish trust and confidence with this committee and members of Congress,...
LEAHY: I don’t trust you.
CHORUS: Torture of detainees.
GONZALES: ...and of course, with the career professionals at our department....
CHORUS: Illegal domestic surveillance programs.
GONZALES: ...Everything that we do, the credit goes to them....
CHORUS: Harassment of the press.
GONZALES: ...And so, when there are attacks against the department, you’re attacking the career professionals....
GONZALES: ...You should attack me. You should attack me.
PROTESTER: Fire Gonzales now!
PROTESTER: Stop lying!
PROTESTER: Liar! Liar! Impeach!
LEAHY: Thank you. We stand adjourned.
GONZALES: Looking back, things that I would have done differently? I should have told him...and I think he should have—I should have asked him. I should have told him the factors that I thought were important for him to consider. I should have told him...and I think I would have told him—I should have told him...and we should have a list. I think these are the things—I think these are the kinds of things, in hindsight, that I wish would have happened. I think it’s also unfair (I think it’s all so unfair)...it is clear that we struggled—not struggled—where we made a mistake, clearly—I think—is once we said “performance,” we should have defined that. Because performance, for me, means lots of things. It means whether or not you’ve got leadership skills, whether or not you’ve got management skills. It may mean whether or not you support the president. It may mean that you don’t have—that you have a sufficient—that you have relationships. And so there are lots of things that fall within the definition of performance‐related. And I think that we should have been—we should have defined what we meant by that.
17. GOD BLESS AMERICA
CHORUS: God bless the land that gave us birth!
No pray’r but this know we.
God bless the land, of all the earth,
The happy and the free.
And where’s the land like ours can brave
The splendor of the day.
And find no son of hers a slave?
God bless America!
God bless the land, the land beloved
Forever and for aye!
God bless the land that gave us birth.
God bless America!
GONZALES: Thirteen years ago I entered public service to make a positive difference in the lives of others. I have traveled a remarkable journey Yesterday I informed the president of my decision to resign. I often remind our fellow citizens that we live in the greatest country in the world and I have lived the American dream. Even my worst days as attorney general have been better than my father’s best days. Thank you, and God bless America.