House panel approves immunity for Goodling

A step in the process of forcing her to testify about the prosecutor purge.

Published April 25, 2007 4:10PM (EDT)

In an effort to overcome her assertions of the Fifth Amendment privilege, the House Judiciary Committee voted this morning to grant immunity to Monica Goodling, the former counsel to Alberto Gonzales whose name shows up everywhere in the e-mail chains regarding last year's prosecutor purge.

In an interview on "Hardball" Tuesday night, David Iglesias, one of the U.S. attorneys forced to resign in December, said that Goodling may hold the "keys to the kingdom" because she served as the liaison between the Justice Department and the White House. "I think if they get her to testify under oath, with a transcript, and have her describe the process between the information flow between the White House counsel, the White House and the Justice Department, I believe the picture becomes a lot clearer," Iglesias said.

Maybe that explains why the Judiciary Committee voted to grant Goodling immunity by an overwhelming 32-6 vote. Maybe it also explains why all six "no" votes came from Republicans: Reps. James Sensenbrenner, Chris Cannon, Randy Forbes, Steve King, Trent Franks and Louis Gohmert.

As the Associated Press explains, the grant of immunity won't take effect unless chairman John Conyers issues a subpoena for Goodling's testimony and until a federal court approves it -- a process in which the Justice Department would have the opportunity to object.

By Tim Grieve

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

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