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Gonzales says he's keeping his post, wants to 'fix problems'

  • Story Highlights
  • Alberto Gonzales to appear before Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday
  • Committee is controlled by Democrats demanding Gonzales' ouster
  • Gonzales says "best course of action" is to stay and "fix the problems"
  • Sen. Leahy sent Gonzales a list of 12 contentious questions he plans to ask
  • Next Article in Politics »
From Terry Frieden
CNN Washington Bureau
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says he is opposed to politics in Justice Department decision-making and plans to stay in his post to "fix the problems," according to testimony prepared for Congress.

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Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will tell Congress he plans to keep his post.

These statements will be delivered Tuesday at what Justice Department officials acknowledge is likely to be a stormy hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The committee, controlled by Democrats demanding Gonzales' ouster, is expected to question Gonzales about the controversial firings of eight U.S. attorneys, among other issues.

Gonzales has been accused of removing the prosecutors because of partisan concerns that they were either not doing enough to prosecute Democrats on voter fraud charges or going too far in pressing corruption charges against Republicans.

"I believe very strongly that there is no place for political considerations in the hiring of our career employees or in the administration of justice," Gonzales said in the statement released Monday. "As such, the allegations of such activity have been troubling to hear."

Gonzales will tell the committee he sees two options available to him.

"I could walk away or I could devote my time, effort and energy to fix the problems. Since I have never been one to quit, I decided that the best course of action was to remain here and fix the problems. That is exactly what I am doing," Gonzales will say.

The attorney general is unlikely to win over his critics. In the first statement issued after the testimony was released, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, said, "There are probably only two people on Earth who think the attorney general ought to stay: Alberto Gonzales and President Bush. As long as he's in charge, the Justice Department, the rule of law and America will suffer."

Last week, Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy sent Gonzales a list of 12 contentious questions he promised to ask. Leahy, D-Vermont, said by doing so, Gonzales could prepare responses instead of declining to answer questions like he did dozens of times in his appearance before the committee earlier this year.

"When you last testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 19, 2007, you often responded to questions from senators on both sides of the aisle that you could 'not recall,' " Leahy said in his July 17 letter to Gonzales. "I would like to avoid a repeat of that performance."

On the controversial firing of at least eight U.S. attorneys, Gonzales says only that the issue is being investigated by the inspector general, and that he is totally removed from the probe. He promised to appoint individuals with the "appropriate experience and judgment so that previous mistakes will not be repeated."

Meanwhile, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Michigan, announced Monday that his panel will meet Wednesday to vote on contempt citations for former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten for refusing to comply with subpoenas issued in the U.S. attorney investigation. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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