Don't it make your brown eyes blue?

Why was Monica Goodling crying? Why didn't a top Justice Department official want to know?

Published May 23, 2007 1:13PM (EDT)

"All I ever wanted to do was serve this president and this administration and this department." -- Regent University Law School graduate and Justice Department White House liaison Monica Goodling in a teary conversation with Associate Attorney General David Margolis on March 8, 2007.

In an interview released by the House Judiciary Committee yesterday in advance of Goodling's immunized testimony today, Margolis says Goodling came to his office on the evening of March 8 -- about a month before she resigned from the Justice Department -- and asked if Kyle Sampson had talked with him. When Margolis said yes, Goodling proceeded to "bawl her eyes out." How long did the crying last? "It seemed like forever," Margolis says, "but it was probably only 30 or 45 minutes."

What had Goodling so upset? Could it have been her involvement in the firing of U.S. attorneys last year? Her failure to brief some of her colleagues on just how involved the White House was? Her efforts -- for which she's now under investigation -- to block a local U.S. attorney from hiring a line prosecutor because she thought he was too "liberal"?

Well, an inquisitive or responsible or even mildly sympathetic man might have asked Goodling what was on her mind. But in Alberto Gonzales' Justice Department, Margolis figured it was better not to ask. "I wasn't anxious to hear so I didn't probe," Margolis tells a House investigator. "I -- I changed the subject to give her -- to try to make her laugh, which didn't work, and to give her some personal advice, which she didn't take."

By Tim Grieve

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

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