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Bush defends Gonzales' role in US Attorney firings

[JURIST] US President George W. Bush [official profile] again defended US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile] over his role in the firings of federal prosecutors [JURIST news archive] in a press conference [transcript] Saturday, saying that Gonzales has his "full confidence." Bush called Gonzales "an honorable and honest man" and said that "there is no credible evidence that there has been any wrongdoing. On Friday White House spokesperson Dana Perino told reporters that despite any reports to the contrary, the president has "100 percent confidence" in Gonzales [press briefing transcript]. Gonzales will testify before Congress on April 17.

Gonzales defended his role [JURIST report] in the firings on Friday, admitting that there has been some confusion but that his involvement in the matter was limited to signing off on recommendations made by his former chief of staff Kyle Sampson [official profile]. Sampson, who resigned last month [DOJ press release], told the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday that the prosecutors were fired for political reasons [JURIST report] rather than for poor performance as the Justice Department has claimed [JURIST report]. Sampson also said Gonzales did more than merely follow his recommendations, and that Gonzales and former White House counsel Harriet Miers [official profile] were deeply involved in the firings. On Saturday Republican Rep. Lee Terry [official website] of Nebraska joined the call for Gonzales' resignation. AP has more.

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