Publicly, the White House continues to claim that President Bush supports Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Today, Press Secretary Dana Perino said the President “has confidence in” Gonzales and “believes the attorney general can overcome the challenges that are before him.”
Privately though, reports indicate that the White House is frustrated with Gonzales. On March 14, Bush told the nation, “Al was right, mistakes were made, and he’s going to go up to Capitol Hill to correct them.” But 16 days later, Gonzales has still not been to Congress to talk to lawmakers. His next scheduled appearance is on April 17, when he tesitifies to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Yesterday, ABC News reported:
The White House is getting increasingly impatient with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
Officials are frustrated that Gonzales is taking so long to get up to Capitol Hill to attempt damage control on last year’s controversial firing of eight U.S. attorneys.
Additionally, at a meeting with House Republicans yesterday, Bush refused to expess confidence in his Attorney General:
Asked about Gonzales during a closed-door meeting with House Republicans on Thursday, Bush did not defend his longtime friend, according to one official who attended the session and demanded anonymity because it was private.
Instead, Bush tepidly repeated his public statement: The attorney general would have to go up to Capitol Hill and fix his problem, according to this official.
After yesteday’s testimony by his former deputy Kyle Sampson — who testified, under oath, that Gonzales’s statements about his involvement in the prosecutor purge were “not accurate” — Gonzales will face a much tougher time “correcting” his mistakes to Congress.