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DOJ investigating Gonzales-Goodling meeting on US Attorney firings

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice Office of Inspector General (OIG) and Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) [official websites] confirmed in a letter [PDF text] to the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday that an ongoing DOJ internal investigation into politicized hiring decisions [JURIST report] has expanded to include an alleged March meeting between former US DOJ aide Monica Goodling and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [JURIST news archives] in which Gonzales supposedly "recounted to [Goodling] his recollections of the process leading up to and including" the controversial firing of at least eight US Attorneys [JURIST news archive]. The incident, which first surfaced during Goodling's May 23 testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, contradicts statements [JURIST report] made by Gonzales before the Senate Judiciary Committee in April, during which Gonzales claims to not having "talked to witnesses" in the DOJ because he did not want to "interfere" with the Senate Judiciary Committee or the DOJ's investigations.

DOJ spokesperson Brian Roehrkasse confirmed that the meeting occurred, but characterized Gonzales' statements as efforts to "comfort" Goodling during a "very difficult period of her life." Goodling also admitted during her testimony that she improperly considering applicants based on politics [JURIST report], and said that at least one US Attorney was fired to open a spot for a protege of Karl Rove. On Monday, Republican senators successfully blocked a no-confidence vote against Gonzales [JURIST report]. The New York Times has more.

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