On Dec. 15, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) had their second phone conversation regarding the appointment of Karl Rove-protege Tim Griffin as the new U.S. attorney in Arkansas. In April 19 testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Gonzales said that when Pryor objected to Griffin’s appointment, Gonzales promised to find a different candidate:
But I had told Senator Pryor: I wanted Mr. Griffin in for a period of time. Let’s see how he does.
And then in subsequent conversation with Mr. Pryor, I asked him: Can you support Mr. Griffin as the nominee?
And you know, he made it clear to me that he would not support him, by not giving me a yes answer, and so I said: Well, then I cannot recommend him to the White House, because if you don’t support him, I know he will not be confirmed. We’ll look for someone else, and give me names that we ought to consider.
Yet a newly released Feb. 8 e-mail by Assistant Attorney General William Moschella shows that Gonzales made the decision to appoint Griffin “on or about December 15, 2006, after the second of the Attorney General’s telephone conversations with Sen. Pryor”:
Therefore, despite assuring Pryor that he would “look for someone else,” Gonzales went ahead and appointed Griffin anyway. Additionally, four days after the meeting between Gonzales and Pryor, Sampson sent out an e-mail recommending that they “gum this [Griffin’s nomination] to death.” Sampson told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Gonzales did not object to this plan at the time.
UPDATE: Emtywheel at The Next Hurrah points out that Gonzales signed Griffin’s appointment “on December 18 … but it was dated December 15,” the same day as his second conversation with Pryor.