Live at the Gonzo Hearings

This post, written by Christy Hardin Smith, originally appeared on FireDogLake

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is set to testify today before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Testimony will begin at 9:30 am ET -- and will be covered live on C-Span3. I'll try to liveblog to the best of my ability this morning as the hearing moves forward -- but that requires a little cooperation from all of you. The more you fill up the comments with one-liners and/or irrelevent, off-topic comments, the faster I have to change threads. Which means I have to pause my Tivo...and that puts the liveblogging behind.

So, keep the comments sparse, and I'll liveblog as quickly and accurately as I can, and we'll all be happier. Thanks gang. Happy birthday to dratty this morning. Now, onto the Texas Toast...


9:32 am ET

SEN. LEAHY gavels the hearing into session.

SEN. LEAHY OPENING: Three months ago when AG Goznales last appeared before thsi committee, I said that the DOJ was experiencing a crisis of leadership perhaps unrivaled in its history. That crisis continues. The AG has lost confidence of the American public -- the DOJ must be restoreed to be worthy of tis name. It should not be reduced to being a political arm of the WH -- it was never intended tobe that. With the department shrouded in scandal, the DAG has announced his resignation, others have asked that their names be withdrawn rather than face a confirmation hearing. The DOJ's chief of staff, WH liaison and others have resigned. I joke that the last one out should turn out the lights. This WH values loyalty over judgment, secrecy over openness and ideology over competence. Political considerations factored into the firing of at least nine USAttys. The list was compiled by high ranks within the WH -- whether federal prosecutors were doing enough to file partisan voter fraud cases in strategic locations. The question remaining is who made the decision to fire these prosecutors. We know from testimony that the President was not involved. The evidence we have been able to collect points to Karl Rove and political operatives in the WH -- the stonewalling continues to our desire to get to the truth. What is the WH so desperate to hide? This WH has ordered former officials not to appear, including Harriet Miers -- the WH is asserting its claims of privilege -- further than have ever been asserted in our nation's history -- and that neither Congress nor the courts can review it. Again, this WH puts itself above the law.

Discussing the Todd Graves refusal to bring a case which would have stripped a number of African American voters from the voter rolls. When Graves was fired, Schlozman was brought in -- and did what the WH wanted, including filing a case on the eve of an election contrary to DOJ internal regulations. This is what happens when a responsible prosecutor is replaced by one who is politically motivated. [CHS notes: AG Gonzales is using an old lawyer trick this morning -- keep yourself busy taking notes as someone is speaking so that you don't show emotion. When he is looking upward at Leahy, it is all he can do to suppress a massive stink-eye look. Leahy's opening is quite good thus far.]

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