GOP calls mount for Gonzales ouster

WASHINGTON, March 15 (UPI) -- Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., has joined a growing list of Republicans calling for the ouster of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

"Even for Republicans this is a warning sign ... saying there needs to be a change," Rohrabacher told CBS News. "Maybe the president should have an attorney general who is less a personal friend and more professional in his approach."


Sens. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., and John Sununu, R-N.H., have also called for Gonzales to lose his job over the way the Justice Department handled the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys.

"If I were the president, I would fire the attorney general," Sununu told USA Today.

"For the Justice Department to be effective before the U.S. Senate, it would be helpful" if Gonzales resigned, Smith told the newspapers.

Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., told the newspaper he was "deeply concerned about how this whole process has been handled." Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa. -- the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee -- said he was "withholding judgment" on Gonzales' future, but said the attorney general's explanations so far had been "unacceptable" and "mystifying."


Several Democrats have called for the ouster of Gonzales after learning that the White House played a role in the firing last year of several U.S. attorneys. The Justice Department told Congress the dismissals were based on the prosecutors' performance.

President George W. Bush, at a news conference Wednesday in Mexico, expressed confidence in his attorney general but said Gonzales owes a better explanation to Congress.

The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday voted to authorize subpoenas for five Justice Department officials to testify in the committee's investigation of the matter.

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