Gonzales hearing delayed two days

The deadly college shootings cause the postponement.

Associated Press
Published April 17, 2007

WASHINGTON - Senators postponed testimony by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in the aftermath of Monday's deadly Virginia Tech shootings, delaying his chance to explain contradictions about fired federal prosecutors that have taxed his credibility.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said the proceedings, initially set for today, would be inappropriate after the shootings in southwestern Virginia. He delayed Gonzales' appearance until Thursday.

The Bush administration has pushed for Gonzales to testify as soon as possible, and the long-scheduled hearing is widely viewed as the attorney general's last chance to quiet a controversy that has prompted calls in both parties for his resignation.

Gonzales has struggled for more than a month to clarify what he described as only a limited involvement in the firings that Democrats believe was politically motivated. A group of conservative activists joined the chorus Monday, urging Gonzales to step down for having "debased honesty as the coin of the realm."

Members of the American Freedom Agenda wrote a letter to President Bush and Gonzales urging the attorney general to resign. The group opposes Bush administration terror policies.

Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, defended Gonzales from the political backlash. "This is a town of jerks," he said.

Gonzales accepts responsibility for some of the confusion, acknowledging in written testimony "that at times I have been less than precise with my words when discussing the resignations."

He also ordered the Justice Department to release more than 5,700 pages of e-mails, schedules, memos and other documents.

But his prepared remarks, released Sunday by the Justice Department, conflict with some details previously released by the Justice Department and former aides.