Specter Expects Gonzales To Resign

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales speaks at a news maker event, Tuesday, May 15, 2007, at the National Press Club in Washington. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds) AP Photo/Ron Edmonds

A resolution calling for a vote of no confidence in Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is being introduced in the Senate this week, but the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee says he thinks Gonzales will resign before then.

"I have a sense ... that before the vote is taken, that Attorney General Gonzales may step down," Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Penn., said on Face The Nation. "Votes of no confidence are very rare... And I think historically, that is something which Attorney General Gonzales would like to avoid."

Specter would not say which way he will vote on the no confidence resolution, but he did say that there is no doubt that the Justice Department would be better off if Gonzales left.

"I think the actual termination is a personal one for the attorney general, and also for the president," Specter said. "I'm not going to tell the president what to do... We have separation of powers."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who is introducing the no confidence vote, told Bob Schieffer that she wasn't sure if enough Republicans would join her for it to pass, but she said Gonzales had little support on either side of the aisle.

"I see no strong support for the attorney general within the Republicans," she said. "I think on our side of the aisle, the Democratic side, there are very strong feelings that go way back to many of the opinions, his concept of attorney general, which is that he wears two hats – one to serve the president, the other to serve the people."

Specter said he believed a "sizable number" of Republican lawmakers would join Democrats in the vote.

Both Specter and Feinstein said what is important is that the Justice Department continue to do its duty.

"I'm very worried about the department. I think its credibility is crumbling. I think what's happened to one of it most powerful arms, which is the federal prosecutorial arm, has damaged it seriously," Feinstein said. "And I think the only thing that can really change that is a new attorney general."

"The Department of Justice is second only to the Department of Defense in providing for security – they do the work on anti-terrorism investigations, they have the work on drug enforcement, violent crime enforcement," Specter said. "And the morale in the department is very low."
  • James Klatell

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