Impeach Alberto Gonzales? Stranger things have happened

The William Jefferson saga continues.


Tim Grieve
May 31, 2006 6:09PM (UTC)

If the William Jefferson story isn't the weirdest one in Washington just now, we don't know what is. As the Louisiana Democrat becomes a less and less sympathetic victim -- as the Washington Post reports today, the FBI claims that Jefferson tried to hide documents in a bag even as agents were searching his home last year -- Republicans in the House continue to amp up their rhetoric in protesting the FBI's search of Jefferson's House office.

At his "Restless Justice" hearing Tuesday, Republican Rep. James Sensenbrenner said he'll demand that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller testify before his House Judiciary Committee to explain their roles in the "profoundly disturbing" search of Jefferson's office. Sensenbrenner even went so far as to toss around the I-word -- at least where Gonzales is concerned -- with his Republican colleague Darrell Issa. As Dana Milbank tells it, Issa said: "We have the power to impeach the attorney general" but then added that the committee -- short on members because of the Memorial Day break couldn't do so because it was " a couple of shakes short of a quorum for that purpose." Sensenbrenner's response: "Not yet."

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Democrats joined in the criticism and questions, of course, but that's your usual dog-bites-man story. For Republicans like first-term Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, this whole holding-the-administration-accountable thing is really something new. "I've been so much more concerned about the judiciary overreaching in power, and I really had not looked at the executive," he said at Tuesday's hearing. Now, he says, "I've become more concerned."


Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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