As ThinkProgress noted today, Attorney General Mike Mukasey hedged when asked whether he would hold accountable Justice Department figures who politicized the DOJ’s internship and Honors program.
Under questioning from Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), Mukasey again hedged on whether he found the Department to be politicized when he was sworn in. “I have one simple question, did you find it politicized when you arrived?” Biden asked. Mukasey bumbled back and forth, repeatedly contradicting himself:
MUKASEY: The IG found it [politicized]. … What I found were enormously dedicated people who were very committed to my succeeding.
BIDEN: That’s not my question. Did you find that some of those enormously dedicated people engaged in politicizing the administration of Justice?
MUKASEY: No. No. Otherwise I would not characterize them as enormously dedicated.
BIDEN: Well, that’s amazing. So you disagree with the IG report?
MUKASEY: I do not disagree with the IG report.
“Did you think the criticism was justified,” Biden asked again. “Yes,” responded Mukasey. Watch it:
The IG report concluded that DOJ employees “inappropriately used political and ideological considerations” in the selection process. The blatant politicization of the Justice Department is something that administration officials have admitted under sworn testimony. Even Senate conservatives said that Gonzales “made up reasons to fire” prosecutors. Mukasey maintains that considering politics in hires for career slots is “unacceptable.”
“You sound like a State Department guy. You’d make a heck of a diplomat,” said Biden after Mukasey’s dodges. “You really are an enigma to me. … I find it very difficult to understand you.”
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) told Mukasey, “I detect a very pronounced reluctance to look backward into the problems of the Department of Justice.”