Alberto Gonzales has taken a break from his teaching load at Texas Tech to give a remarkably unselfconscious interview with Esquire, saying the Bush Administration should have dropped its plan to purge U.S. attorneys in 2006 because “at that point we could really not count on Republicans to cut off investigations or help us at all with investigations.”
By Gonzo’s reasoning, the problem was not the firings themselves, but rather the prospect that the Bush Administration would get caught:
We should have abandoned the idea of removing the U. S. attorneys once the Democrats took the Senate. Because at that point we could really not count on Republicans to cut off investigations or help us at all with investigations. We didn’t see that at the Department of Justice. Nor did the White House see that. Karl didn’t see it. If we could do something over again, that would be it.
Also in the interview, which is very much worth reading in full, the former attorney general blames the fact that senators pop in and out of hearings for his propensity to say “I don’t recall.” (Because they repeated the same questions.)
And as we suspected, Gonzales is now very much in legacy mode:
This may sound egotistical, but to me it is important that when I leave this earth, I would have made a difference — that people would know Al Gonzales lived, he touched lives, he made a difference, he left a mark.
He says he’s gratified that all the “internal investigations” found no wrongdoing — without mentioning the ongoing criminal investigation into the U.S. attorney firings.
Gonzales also reveals he and George W. Bush are still in touch. But while he considers the former president a friend, Gonzo has never called him “George.”