Schumer Rips Gonzales Over Contradictory Responses On Spying Program

Under direct and strident questioning from Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Alberto Gonzales was unable to fully resolve his contradictory statements regarding the administration’s spying activities. Gonzales said that he misspoke when he said at a press conference in June that he and former deputy attorney general James Comey were referring to the same warrantless wiretapping program.

“I clarified my statement two days later with the reporter,” Gonzales told Schumer. “What did you say to the reporter?” Schumer asked. “I did not speak directly to the reporter,” replied Gonzales.

“Ok,” Schumer continued, “what did your spokesperson say to the reporter?” “I don’t know,” Gonzales said. Schumer then summed up the exchange:

In all due respect, you’re just saying, well, it was clarified with the reporter and you don’t even know what he said. You don’t even know what the clarification is. Sir, how you can say that you should stay on as Attorney General when we go through exercises like this where you’re bobbing and weaving and ducking to avoid admitting that you deceived the Committee?

Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/07/schumerpresses.320.240.flv]

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) noted that Gonzales never sought to inform Congress to clarify the contradictions in his responses on the administration’s warrantless spying activities.

Leahy concluded the interrogation, saying, “I’m going to ask for a review both of what Mr. Comey said and what Mr. Gonzales said. If there’s a discrepancy here in sworn testimony, we’re going to have to ask who’s telling the truth.”