NYT: Gonzales resigns; Update: Chertoff “likely” replacement, sources tell CNN; Update: Video added; Update: Bush crony to replace Chertoff at DHS? Update: Bush smacks Dems for Gonzo attacks

posted at 8:17 am on August 27, 2007 by Allahpundit

Just across on Fox; haven’t even had time to read the story yet. Stand by.

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, whose tenure has been marred by controversy and accusations of perjury before Congress, has resigned. A senior administration official said he would announce the decision later this morning in Washington.

Mr. Gonzales, who had rebuffed calls for his resignation, submitted his to President Bush by telephone on Friday, the official said. His decision was not immediately announced, the official added, until after the president invited him and his wife to lunch at his ranch near here.

Has the golden age of Chertoff begun?

Update: I’m tempted to say this is like Rumsfeld’s resignation insofar as he stayed just long enough to really hurt Bush, but with the U.S. Attorneys investigation still going on I guess we don’t know that for sure yet. If they’re expecting a big shoe to drop, maybe it’s better to have him out now.

The Times’s source alleges that Bush accepted the resignation “grudgingly” but it’s too much of a coincidence that the biggest lightning rods in the administration — Rove, Gonzo — are all overboard right before the Iraq debate heats up again.

Update: MM says good riddance.

Update: WaPo was caught flat-footed but it sounds like the AP has independently confirmed it. Assuming Chertoff is the replacement, who replaces him at DHS?

Update: Probably right. Meanwhile, for the second time in two weeks, a scene of exquisite heart-ache plays out on Pennsylvania Avenue…

Update: MSNBC says Bush hasn’t chosen a replacement yet but Fox is hearing that Paul Clement, the solicitor general, might be the interim pick.

Update: “Whatever his other merits or faults, Gonzales had to be one of the most politically incompetent people ever to hold such a high position in Washington. It’s hard to think of anything he touched in six and a half years in Washington that didn’t end up getting President Bush the worst possible press…”

Update: Chertoff it (likely) is. Here’s his first task: Figure out whether you want your department co-sponsoring conventions organized by unindicted co-conspirators in terror funding trials.

Update: It’s odd that they had his resignation on Friday but chose to wait until the start of the new news cycle on Monday to announce, no?

Update: Congress won’t be back in session until after Labor Day so presumably Bush has a free kick here with a recess appointment if he wants one. That’s what he did with Bolton in August 2005, you’ll recall. It would spare the nominee a confirmation fight until next year, when there’ll be so little time left in Bush’s term that no one will care anyway.

Doesn’t sound like he’s going to avail himself of the opportunity, though:

The announcement was to come later today. The acting attorney general with be Solicitor General Paul Clement. He “can stay in that position for quite a while,” a senior administration official said.

That would avoid a bruising confirmation fight.

Update: MKH: “Gonzales leaves without about one political ally to his name, and now we’ll hear another cloying Bush speech about how a guy no one really liked and who brought considerable problems upon the administration through his own bone-headedness was actually the greatest guy evuh.” Yup — and we’ll have the video!

Update: CNN says Gonzo’s top aides didn’t know until this morning. And AFP reiterates the Times’s report that Bush only accepted the resignation “reluctantly.” The source for both articles is a senior White House official so judge for yourself whether that’s spin or not.

Update: Here’s the announcement video. Bush will speak from Crawford at 11:50. Interesting that they didn’t appear together for the occasion.

NBC has reaction round-up and yet another report that this was entirely Gonzo’s own decision.

Update: CNN says Clay Johnson III, Bush’s chief of staff when he was governor of Texas and a Bush pal from his high school days, is going to be kicked waaaay upstairs from his job in the Office of Management and Budget to succeed Chertoff at DHS. Think Progress calls him a “professional Bush loyalist” who’s unqualified for the job. Hard to disagree. Needless to say, this is par for the course for Bush when it comes to Homeland Security.

Update: WaPo has a solid profile of the Bush-Gonzales relationship. “In the end, Gonzales was a man without a constituency outside of the White House. At a Senate hearing on April 19, he endured withering criticism over his professed inability to recall key events in the attorney firings, including details of a meeting on the topic with President Bush and Karl Rove. As the controversy swirled over a period of several months, conservative figures questioned both his legal competence and his ability to manage the sprawling Justice Department.”

Update: Here’s Bush. It starts with the requisite backslapping and shifts into a knock on unnamed “critics” at around 2:30. Looks like he’s going to skip the recess appointment and stick with Paul Clement until Congress is back in session. Curious.

Rich Lowry’s also hearing from his sources that this was completely Gonzales’s own decision. Who knows?


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Comment pages: 1 2

The CNN link you posted as confirmation that Chertoff will be the likely successor now says, “A Senate aide with close connections to the Department of Justice tells CNN’s Dana Bash Chertoff will not be the president’s choice to replace Gonzales.” I hope that aide is right. Appointing Chertoff to AG would dwarf all the seemingly undrawfable appalling missteps made by the administration.

calbear on August 27, 2007 at 4:03 PM

Here we go again.

from the Corner:

He also has a kid in college and another coming up and wants to earn some money to pay college expenses

Uh huh.

corona on August 27, 2007 at 4:14 PM

If my card set of DOJ officials is up-to-date, Clement is the Ace of Clubs, the highest ranking official left — of those who have confirmed positions. If I were Clement, I wouldn’t want the Attorney General position, which will not help his career, to say the least. I’ll bet he’s doing it more out of a sense of duty than anything else.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on August 27, 2007 at 4:15 PM

His membershiop is LaRaza should have been a warning. Thanks to Michelle for pointing this out early on about him.

I remember the night she was on The Factor and told Bill that and he was shocked. His reply was I didn’t know that, I didn’t know that…

AprilOrit on August 27, 2007 at 5:43 PM

Why not Laura Ingraham? I think she would be perfect for the job.

AprilOrit on August 27, 2007 at 5:45 PM

CNN says Clay Johnson III, Bush’s chief of staff when he was governor of Texas and a Bush pal from his high school days, is going to be kicked waaaay upstairs from his job in the Office of Management and Budget to succeed Chertoff at DHS. Think Progress calls him a “professional Bush loyalist” who’s unqualified for the job. Hard to disagree. Needless to say, this is par for the course for Bush when it comes to Homeland Security.

There is a certain Bush logic there.

Bush figures that since we are fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them here, he can put stooges into important jobs here and it will be no harm, no foul.

MB4 on August 27, 2007 at 6:15 PM

See Bush!

See Bush see Congress is on vacation!

See Bush by Executive Order appoint John Bolton as the new AG!

See every Democrat from Durbin to Leahy to Reid to Pelosi to every Demnocrat running for President throw a purple faced Gran Mal hissy fit the size of Godzilla!

See wacked out moonbat posters on Daily Kos and HuffPo, and every commentator on PMSNBC go absolutely bananas ballistic!

Appoint Bolton, Bush, Appoint Bolton!

pilamaye on August 27, 2007 at 6:51 PM

I didn’t like the smell of Gonzo from the beginning but replacing him with Chertoff is…well…not surprising.
The Dept of Homeland Insecurity is a JOKE so maybe he should appoint someone like Lewis Black or say, Emo Phillips. Actually, I think Ted Nugent would be kick ass and then we could try some teriyaki venison or buffalo on the WH lawn. I’ve never had the opportunity to try either.

Christine on August 27, 2007 at 7:09 PM

Cheers to Michelle – her Talking Points memo hit the nail on the head.

Glad to see no partisan retoric, she tells it like it is.

AprilOrit on August 27, 2007 at 8:07 PM

I agree, both Gonzo Gonzales and Jerkoff Chertoff are as useless as teats on a boar.

At least Gonzo was loyal. /irony

What is it with Bush and this loyalty business? Try top-drawer competence for a change.

smellthecoffee on August 28, 2007 at 12:06 AM

Good riddance. Maybe National council of La Raza will give him a job.

PRCalDude on August 27, 2007 at 12:45 PM

I thought he was already working for La Raza

JiangiDad

Did anyone actually read the Agreed upon legislation, I did

It was about 80% enforcement and 20% amnesty

But all that we did do is give our politicians another pass on not passing anything border related – again

EricPWJohnson on August 27, 2007 at 1:05 PM

I read it. When does granting 100 percent amnesty become 20 percent of a Bill? Especially when the requirements for qualifying for amnesty qualifies everyone including gang members and 24 hour foot in the door border jumpers.

The 80 percent enforcement included detaining only non-Mexican border jumpers

But all that we did do is give our politicians another pass on not passing anything border related – again

EricPWJohnson on August 27, 2007 at 1:05 PM

I want to find that person who gave the politicans a pass. McCain needs a vote.

entagor on August 28, 2007 at 12:40 PM

Comment pages: 1 2