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Gonzales: My ‘Guiding Principle’ Was To ‘Follow The Law’ And ‘Always Do The Right Thing’

By Amanda Terkel on November 16, 2007 at 4:56 pm

"Gonzales: My ‘Guiding Principle’ Was To ‘Follow The Law’ And ‘Always Do The Right Thing’"

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gonxf.jpg Yesterday, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales spoke at the Corpus Christi Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, giving his views on “immigration, education and public service.” The event drew approximately 1,000 attendees, as well as a few protestors who greeted Gonzales outside the venue.

He dodged questions about waterboarding by local station KIII-TV, but did give some words of advice for his successor, Michael Mukasey:

To do the right thing. And I have every confidence that Mike Mukasey will do the right thing. Always do the right thing. Follow the law. That was always my lodestar, my guiding principle, and I’m sure that will guide General Mukasey.

Gonzales must have forgotten this lodestar somewhere during his time in the Bush administration. He recently launched a defense fund to pay for his legal expenses, “which are mounting in the face of an ongoing Justice Department investigation into whether Gonzales committed perjury or improperly tampered with a congressional witness.” A look at how he has always tried to “follow the law”:

– Approved administration torture program. In 2002, Gonzales chaired a series of meetings that “set the course” for the administration’s torture policies. He “raised no objections and, without consulting military and State Department experts in the laws of torture and war, approved an August 2002 memo that gave CIA interrogators the legal blessings they sought.”

– Inappropriately coached a congressional witness’s testimony. In May, Monica Goodling testified before Congress that, prior to resigning from the Justice Department, she had an “uncomfortable” conversation with Gonzales, in which he “laid out” his version of the attorney firings. Inspector General Glenn Fine is examining whether this attempt to “coach” Goodling was illegal.

– Misled Congress on warrantless spying. In Feb. 2006, Gonzales testified to Congress that “there has not been any serious disagreement” about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) warrantless spying program. Yet testimony by former Deputy Attorney General James Comey proved there were indeed serious disagreements when the administration tried to seek legal approval for the spying program in 2004.

ThinkProgress spoke to the Corpus Christi Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, who said that Gonzales received a “modest honorarium” for his speech, but refused to disclose the full amount.

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