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Alberto Gonzales resigns…effective Sept. 17, 2007 Update: Bush: "It's sad;" Paul Clement will serve as acting AG

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By Michelle Malkin  •  August 27, 2007 11:51 PM

Bumped…Originally posted August 27, 2007 @ 08:20…

***
Update 11pm Eastern 8/27 : The Democrat probes will continue.

Update 11:52am Eastern. Bush is lauding Gonzales for his “integrity, decency, and principle.” “Trusted adviser and close friend…After months of unfair treatment that has created harmful distraction at the Justice Dept, Gonzales decided to [resign]…It’s sad that…his good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons…”

Paul Clement will be serving as acting AG “until a nominee has been confirmed by the Senate…one of the finest lawyers in America…”

Update 11:05am Eastern. Here’s the Gonzales vid. President Bush expected to comment separately at 11:50am.

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line: “I’ve never been a fan of Gonzales, but I can’t help feeling sorry for him. The ‘scandal’ that led to his demise — the firing of the U.S. attorneys — appears to involve no wrongdoing on his part. Moreover, the underlying decisions and process appear to have been the product of the White House, not Gonzales. His defense of the decisions was hardly stellar, but if I’m correct, he was handicapped by the fact that they were not really his decisions. Gonzales’s only real offense seems to have been mediocrity. But mediocrity in an Attorney General is nothing new (think Janet Reno), and any blame for this occurrence properly attaches to the White House. Often the biggest favor a president can do for a friend is to not appoint him or her to very high office.”

***Press conference scheduled for 10:30am***

Update 10:33am Eastern. Yesterday I met with Pres. Bush to inform him of my decision to conclude my government service…effective as of Sept. 17, 2007…I have lived the American Dream…even my worst days were better than the best days of my father…thank you and God bless America…

Reporters shouting “Why are you leaving?”

Democrats rejoice. This one is just too rich:

“I strongly urge President Bush to nominate a new attorney general who will respect our laws and restore the integrity of the office.” — Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.”

Brit Hume: “He was a man almost without fans in Washington…he was, simply, a crony.”

***

August 27, 2007 @ 08:20

The rumors were swirling over the weekend. Now, the New York Times reports:

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, whose tenure has been marred by controversy and accusations of perjury before Congress, has resigned. A senior administration official said he would announce the decision later this morning in Washington.

Mr. Gonzales, who had rebuffed calls for his resignation, submitted his to President Bush by telephone on Friday, the official said. His decision was not immediately announced, the official added, until after the president invited him and his wife to lunch at his ranch near here.

Mr. Bush has not yet chosen a replacement but will not leave the position open long, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the Attorney General’s resignation had not yet been made public.

Mr. Bush had repeatedly stood by Mr. Gonzales, an old friend and colleague from Texas, even as he faced increasing scrutiny for his leadership of the Justice Department, including his role in the dismissals of nine United States attorneys late last year and questions about whether he testified truthfully about the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.

“We’re watching a political exercise,” Mr. Bush said at a news conference this month, dismissing accusations that the Attorney General had stonewalled or misled a congressional inquiry. “I mean, this is a man who has testified, he’s sent thousands of papers up there. There’s no proof of wrong.”

Mr. Gonzales’s resignation is the latest in a series of high-level departures that has reshaped the end of Mr. Bush’s second term. Karl Rove, another of Mr. Bush’s close circle of aides from Texas, stepped down two weeks ago.

The official said that the decision was Mr. Gonzales’s and that the president accepted it grudgingly.

Back in May, I said I wouldn’t be shedding tears and my poll showed that neither would most of you:

For what it’s worth, I can’t say I’ll miss him. And neither will a majority of you. Remember the little online poll I put up about Gonzales before I took my short family vacation last week? Here are the results:

agpoll1.jpg

chertlett.jpgIf the administration learned anything at all from the shamnesty debacle, DHS secretary Michael Chertoff would not be the reported leading candidate to replace Gonzales. Looks like they’ve learned nothing. If Chertoff replaces Gonzales, Allah wonders, who replaces Chertoff? Hey: Why not just go full-on open borders and put Mel Martinez in charge! Or how about…a head of lettuce?

If they want the best qualified, most experienced AG candidate who is serious about enforcing all of our laws, including our immigration laws, and who is best equipped to serve in a time of war, the choice would be obvious: John Ashcroft.

Not going to happen, though.

Solicitor General Paul Clement is also on the rumored short list as a temporary replacement.

clement.jpg

I agree with Kathryn Lopez: Andy McCarthy would make a great AG. Another nomination from the comments section that I’d second: Kris Kobach.
Yes, we can dream.

CNN says Chertoff nomination is “likely.”

***

Meanwhile, idiocy continues at the Justice Department. Via the WashTimes:

The Justice Department is co-sponsoring a convention held by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) — an unindicted co-conspirator in an ongoing federal terrorist funding case — a move that is raising concerns among the Justice’s rank and file.

Justice lawyers have objected to the affiliation with ISNA, fearing it will undermine the case against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development in Dallas.

“There is outrage among lawyers that the Department of Justice is funding a group named as a co-conspirator in a terrorist financing case,” said a Justice lawyer who spoke to The Washington Times on the condition of anonymity.

According to an e-mail from Susana Lorenzo-Giguere, acting deputy chief of the Voting Rights Division, the sponsorship will involve sending government lawyers to man a booth for the Labor Day weekend event in Illinois.

“This is an important outreach opportunity, and a chance to reach a community that is at once very much discriminated against, and very wary of the national government and its willingness to protect them,” Mrs. Lorenzo-Giguere said in an e-mail obtained by The Washington Times.

“It would be a great step forward to break through those barriers. And Chicago is lovely this time of year,” Mrs. Lorenzo-Giguere said.

***

Here’s a small example of the duties that have fallen by the wayside thanks to Gonzales’s incompetence and bungling of “Attorneygate.” Last month, Gonzales promised Sen. Jeff Sessions he would look into the deportation of criminal aliens last month. Think it’ll be a priority?

SESSIONS: Mr. Attorney General, with regard to some of the immigration questions that we’re facing, there’s so many matters that are within the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice. The effectiveness of our immigration enforcement policies depend on good policies within the Department of Justice.

And I was recently reminded of a serious problem we have with regard to aliens who have been convicted of crimes in the United States. Mr. Harley Lappin, director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, recently told us and this committee within the last year, I believe, that 27 percent of the federal prison population is foreign-born.

We have laws that I think authorize the removal from our country of persons who are convicted of crimes immediately upon the completion of their sentence, as I recall the statutes.

I would note the article by Michelle Malkin (ph) quoting some of the examples we’ve had here, where Mr. Adhahn was convicted of — relating to his involvement in the kidnapping and murder of 12-year- old Zina Linnik in Tacoma, Washington, on July 4th.

SESSIONS: He had been convicted, apparently, of incest in 1990 and had sexually assaulted his 16-year-old relative, got that pleaded down to second-degree rape.

Two years later, he was convicted of intimidation with a dangerous weapon, and the law calls for — says that anyone convicted of a weapons offense is deportable. But he wasn’t deported, and that’s how, apparently, this murder occurred.

Another instance was Mwenda Murithi, arrested 27 times without deportation before being arrested in the shooting death of a 13-year- old innocent bystander, Schanna Gayden, last month in Illinois.

So I guess I’m asking you about this whole policy, whether or not you have taken a lead to see that it’s carried out. Do you believe it should be systematically and regularly carried out? And if there are any statutory weaknesses, do you have any suggestions about how they should be improved?

GONZALES: I think it should be carried out.

I am aware that probably the level of cooperation that exists between the department and DHS on this issue is not as good as it should be, Senator.

What I would like to do is have the opportunity — maybe have a conversation with Secretary Chertoff — to see whether or not we can do something to improve the situation.

Legislation may not be necessary, but, obviously, it may turn out to be the case that we may need to have some help from Congress.

SESSIONS: As I understand, the Department of Homeland Security I.G. estimated last year that half of the 650,000 foreign-born inmates in prisons and jails won’t be removed because they say that, quote, “Does not have the resources to identify, detain and remove them.”

Is that true?

GONZALES: I’ve heard that as a possible complaint or challenge. That very well may be the case.

Again, what I’d like to do is have the opportunity to sit down with Secretary Chertoff. I have not spoken with the secretary about this particular issue. I would be happy to do so.

And if there is something that would be helpful from the Congress, I’d like to have the opportunity to talk to you about.

SESSIONS: Well, I hope that you would, because I think that’s a major issue here. People are concerned when we pass laws in Congress and then our law enforcement officials don’t enforce them and don’t execute them and leaving criminals in the United States in large numbers.

Now, I understand there are a number of prisons that do not participate in the institutional removal program. Do you think it would be beneficial to expand this program to all federal prisons?

GONZALES: I can see very good arguments why that would make sense. And I plan on speaking with Harley Lappin, the director, and see what the status is and the challenges that exist with respect to implementing in all the prisons.

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