"BREAKING: Alberto Gonzales Resigns"
The New York Times reports Alberto Gonzales will announce his resignation later this morning:
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 announced immediately announced, the official added, until after the president invited him and his wife to lunch at his ranch near here.
U.S. News reported this weekend, “The buzz among top Bushies is that beleaguered Attorney General Alberto Gonzales finally plans to depart and will be replaced by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. Why Chertoff? Officials say he’s got fans on Capitol Hill, is untouched by the Justice prosecutor scandal, and has more experience than Gonzales did, having served as a federal judge and assistant attorney general.”
UPDATE: In March, Gonzales said, “I’m not going to resign. I’m going to stay focused on protecting our kids.” In June, he promised to “sprint to the finish line” to “accomplish all the goals that are important to me.”
UPDATE II: In April, Gonzales said he would stay as long as he felt he could be effective:
I will stay as long as I feel I can be effective, and I believe I can be effective. Obviously, we’ll be working with the Congress to reassure them that we’ve identified the mistakes that have been made here and that we are taking steps to address them. But I can’t just be focused on the U.S. Attorney situation. I’ve also got to be focused on what’s really important for the American people.
UPDATE III: CNN’s John King: “This is the last of the Texans who came with President Bush to Washington in the close White House circle to have a senior job. Karen Hughes, of course, still at the State Department — she left and came back. But Karl Rove leaving recently, now Alberto Gonzales leaving as well. This President does not have the old Texas posse around him anymore.”
UPDATE IV: The AP reports, “A senior Justice Department official said that a likely temporary replacement for Gonzales is Solicitor General Paul Clement, who would take over until a permanent replacement is found.” FDL has some background on Clement.
UPDATE V: Gonzales will be reading a statement at 10:30 a.m. ET. President Bush is expected to make a statement about Gonzales at 11:30 a.m. from his ranch in Crawford, Texas.
UPDATE VI: Gonzales said, “Yesterday I met with President Bush and informed him of my decision to conclude my government service as attorney general of the United States effective as of September 17th, 2007.” He offered no reason for his departure.
UPDATE VII: Gonzales’s resignation letter HERE.