[JURIST] Embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile; JURIST news archive] told reporters Tuesday that the recommendations of resigning Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty [official profile, JURIST news archive] were key in the firing of nine US Attorneys last year [JURIST news archive]. In comments made to the National Press Club [association website], Gonzales said that McNulty knew better than anyone else about the qualifications of the US Attorneys. Gonzales also said that he relied on McNulty's recommendations more than any other advisor when signing off on the firings. McNulty announced Monday that he will resign as early as the end of the summer [JURIST report], or when Congress approves a successor.
Congress is currently investigating whether the firings were politically motivated. Gonzales, backed by the White House, has maintained that the firings were appropriate. Many Republicans called for an end to the inquiries during a House Judiciary Committee hearing [JURIST report] last week, but several Senate Republicans, including Senate Judiciary Committee ranking Republican Arlen Specter (R-PA) [official website], have insisted that the Justice Department cannot function properly under Gonzales. AP has more.