Alberto Gonzales resigns

Unable to talk his way out of scandal, the embattled attorney general steps aside.

Published August 27, 2007 1:16PM (EDT)

When we heard the rumor over the weekend that Michael Chertoff might be in line to succeed Alberto Gonzales as attorney general, our first thought was, OK, but why would Gonzales resign now? President Bush has put up with him so far, changing the attorney general isn't going to do much for his approval ratings, and everyone is going to be paying attention to Iraq for the next few weeks anyway.

So much for all of that.

Gonzales has submitted his resignation, and a senior administration official tells the Associated Press that Solicitor General Paul Clement will likely take his place on a temporary basis until a permanent replacement can be found.

Among the possibilities: The Washington Post lists Chertoff, former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson and -- wait for it -- former Deputy Attorney General James Comey, the man who revealed the details of Gonzales' extraordinary 2004 visit to the hospital room of then Attorney General John Ashcroft.

By Tim Grieve

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

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