Gonzales aide to take the Fifth

The White House promised that Congress would get the whole truth. It won't this way.

Published March 26, 2007 8:32PM (EDT)

Tony Snow insisted last week that there was no reason for anyone to think that Congress would get anything but the whole truth about the prosecutor purge.

Reality check: The Justice Department's Monica Goodling, Alberto Gonzales' senior counsel and liaison to the White House, will invoke her Fifth Amendment privilege to refuse to answer questions put to her by the U.S. Senate.

"The potential for legal jeopardy for Ms. Goodling from even her most truthful and accurate testimony under these circumstances is very real," Goodling's lawyer, John Dowd, tells the Associated Press. What's the worst thing that could happen if Goodling were just to go in and tell the truth? "One need look no further than the recent circumstances and proceedings involving Lewis Libby," Dowd said.

Of course, Libby found himself in trouble not for telling the truth but for lying -- repeatedly and under oath -- about what he knew and what he said about Valerie Plame. If the White House is right that no crimes were committed in the prosecutor purge -- and if Goodling would really tell the truth while testifying -- then what possible reason could she have for refusing to do so?

By Tim Grieve

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

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