TPM News

Here's Rep. Steve King (R-IA) noting that Harvard University, like Pat Robertson's Regent University, where Goodling attended law school, was also founded on a religious foundation (albeit more than 300 years ago).

Well, at least it's clear. When Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) asked whether the committee needs to go to the White House to get answers about the White House role in the firings, Goodling conceded, "I can't give you the whole White House story."

How do senior Justice Department officials end up giving false testimony to Congress? Well, it's complicated, Goodling testified. But first you start answering one question, then you get another question, and then you get another and then all of a sudden people were answering questions that they didn't have answers for. "It just snowballed into a not good situation."

Goodling also testified here under questioning from Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) about making sure that Republicans were hired in certain career Justice Department positions, including detail positions in main Justice and immigration judges. But there was nothing nefarious in this, she said, she just wanted to make sure that people on the leadership team were "on the same page in terms of philosophy." She also said that there were other, "bizarre cases." It's not clear what she was talking about.

Let there be no more allegations that there was anything but a thorough and rigorous process to select U.S. attorneys for firing.

Here's Monica Goodling explaining the process behind the firing of U.S. Attorney for Nevada Daniel Bogden. At a November 27, 2006 meeting with the attorney general, the deputy attorney general and others, Goodling said that DAG Paul McNulty raised a concern about Bogden being on the list. Is there a problem with Bogden, McNulty asked, or is there just a general sense that we could do better?

According to Goodling, Kyle Sampson replied, "“I think it’s a general sense, a general kind of sense that we could do better.” After that, everyone looked to the attorney general, she said, and "I think he nodded and said 'OK.'" So there you go.

Monica Goodling had some new information on the firing of Todd Graves of Kansas City (the so-called "9th prosecutor"). Remember that Graves was forced to step aside, making room for Brad Schlozman, who had pushed the voter fraud cause at the Civil Rights Division.

Goodling revealed that Graves had been under investigation by the department's inspector general when he was asked to step down. She did not say what the investigation was about. She also said that she did not remember anything about voter fraud being a reason for his firing.

Here's a question that needs more of an answer. Under questioning from Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Goodling replied, "There were some other times when I was asked to help facilitate the placement of somebody that we knew to be Republican in career positions, and sometimes those were at the request of other people in the department."

There has been some more back and forth on this, but it's still not exactly clear what Goodling was referring to. Under questioning from Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Goodling talked about some "odd cases" or "bizarre cases" where political affiliation was taken into account in hiring certain DoJ employees. What was odd or bizarre about them?

Under questioning from Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), Goodling couldn't say why U.S. Attorney for New Mexico David Iglesias had been put on the firing list.

Earlier in the hearing, Goodling said that all she could remember was being in a meeting after the firings -- when the question was raised why Iglesias had been put on the list, someone said "that's been addressed." Goodling said she couldn't remember who'd said that.

Why had Iglesias been fired? Goodling told Scott that "Different people made different comments at different times. Other comments that people made based on what they thought or believed.” In other words, she doesn't know.

Unbelievably, she said that DoJ official Bill Mercer had been the one to raise the complaint that Iglesias had been “an absentee landlord,” because Iglesias was sometimes gone from the office (for his Navy reserve duty). Of course, that phrase would apply to no one better than Mercer himself, since Mercer, the U.S. attorney for Montana, has drawn strident complaints from the chief judge in his district about his prolonged absences. Mercer pulls double duty as a senior DoJ official.

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) pressed Goodling on how the Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty had not been "not fully candid" in his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in February about the level of the White House involvement in the U.S. attorney firings.

Goodling said that she "didn't withhold" any information, but that McNulty "didn't use all of it." When Nadler asked Goodling if McNulty had potentially perjured himself, Goodling said "those are the conclusions for others to draw."

Update: You can read Goodling's prolonged accounting of how the deputy attorney general misled the committee in her lengthy written statement here (pdf).

Both in her opening statement and in further testimony, Goodling admitted to weeding out candidates for assistant U.S. attorney positions because they were not Republicans.

Under questioning from Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA), Goodling admitted that she did block the hiring of an assistant U.S. attorney in the D.C. U.S. attorney's office because she judged him too liberal. "I made a snap judgment and I regret it," she said. When Sanchez pressed as to how many times Goodling had done this, Goodling said she couldn't come up with a number, and that she didn't "feel like there were that many cases."

Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) later pressed her on whether she had committed a crime. “I don’t believe that I intended to commit a crime," she said at first. Then, when he pressed, “I know I crossed the line of civil service rules." Did that mean she crossed the line of breaking the law, he asked? "I believe I crossed the line, but I didn’t mean to," she said. Here's video of that:

Read More →

Here's Goodling under the first line of questioning from Rep. John Conyers (D-MI). Does she know who put the U.S. attorneys on the firing list? No. Who could answer the question? Only Kyle Sampson could tell you that.