WASHINGTON, June 14 (UPI) -- The U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether Attorney General Alberto Gonzales tried to influence a prospective witness in a congressional hearing.
Citing correspondence released Thursday, The Washington Post reported the department's Office of Professional Responsibility is looking into whether Gonzales tried to influence the testimony of former Justice Department official Monica Goodling during a March meeting in Gonzales' office.
Goodling disclosed the meeting last month during her testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.
The two officials who are leading an internal Justice Department investigation of the dismissal of nine U.S. attorneys -- Glenn A. Fine, the inspector general, and H. Marshall Jarrett, counsel of the Office of Professional Responsibility -- said in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee that their inquiry includes the March meeting, the newspaper said.
"This is to confirm that the scope of our investigation does include this matter," the letter said.
Fine's office has authority to refer matters for criminal prosecution if warranted, the Post said.
Goodling testified May 23 that Gonzales had talked about his recollection of the dismissals and asked for her reaction. She said the discussion made her "a little uncomfortable" because she "didn't know that it was maybe appropriate for us to talk about that at that point."