Gonzales accused of 'inconsistency'

April 19, 2007 at 4:58 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 19 (UPI) -- Republican and Democratic senators criticized U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on inconsistency of his testimony on the firings of eight U.S. attorneys.

In the Thursday afternoon session of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, told Gonzales "documents produced by your department are inconsistent with public statements and congressional testimony of other officials and we just don't have a straight story on what transpired and whether the motivations for what happened were pure."

"I think that you'll agree that this (the firings) was poorly handled," said U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. "If you had more hands on this perhaps we wouldn't be in this position today."

Gonzales said he regretted his inconsistent statements, adding, "And as I said in my opening statement, the misstatements are my mistake and I accept responsibility for it."

He said he felt pressured to defend the Justice Department from accusations of improper conduct and accepted full responsibility for the process that resulted in firings of eight federal prosecutors last year.

"In hindsight, maybe I got out there too quickly," he said.

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