WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has hired a defense attorney to represent him during congressional and Justice Department investigations.
Gonzales stepped down last month amid allegations he lied to Congress about the firing of eight U.S. attorneys, some of them for allegedly political reasons.
But Newsweek reported the Justice Department's inspector general also is looking into whether Gonzales lied to Congress about the administration's domestic surveillance program and his visit as White House counsel to the hospital room of his predecessor, Attorney General John Ashcroft, to get Justice Department approval for a warrantless wiretapping proposal.
Investigators have been interviewing those involved in the late-night visit, during which Gonzales tried to persuade an ailing, heavily medicated Ashcroft -- who had to have his gall bladder removed -- to overrule department lawyers who refused to approve the surveillance, Newsweek said.
Deputy Attorney General James Comey, FBI Director Robert Mueller and others threatened to resign over the incident.
Ashcroft later told Congress there was no serious disagreement over the program.
Gonzales hired attorney George Terwilliger, a former deputy attorney general who, as a private attorney, helped oversee the Republican effort in the Florida 2000 election recount.