Tags: Alberto Gonzales | Bharara | arrogant | quit

Alberto Gonzales: 'Arrogant' for US Attorney to Stay When Asked to Quit

Image: Alberto Gonzales: 'Arrogant' for US Attorney to Stay When Asked to Quit
Alberto Gonzales (AP)

By    |   Saturday, 11 Mar 2017 09:09 PM

Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Saturday that an appointed federal employee's refusal to step down after being asked to do so by the president of the United States was "really, truly arrogant."

"It is really, truly arrogant for any appointed employee to refuse to leave when told by the president that that person's services are no longer required," Gonzales, who served under former President George W. Bush, told Ana Cabrera on CNN.

"In reality, the president of the United States has virtually unlimited power with respect to hiring and firing of the U.S. attorneys," he said, referring to President Donald Trump's firing of Preet Bharara as U.S. attorney in New York.

"They serve at his pleasure.

"If Donald Trump no longer has any pleasure of the continued service of Preet, then Preet is out."

Gonzales, who was appointed in 2005, resigned two years later amid several controversies, including the removal of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006 that critics claimed had been done to bring aboard those more favorable to Republicans.

He was cleared after a federal investigation surrounding the dismissals into whether he had made misleading statements to Congress about the National Security Agency's surveillance programs.

The inquiry had been called for by New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer. Bharara was Schumer's chief counsel and staff director at the time.

"It is somewhat ironic that Preet did have a role serving Sen. Schumer in politicizing the removal of those U.S. attorneys when I was attorney general," Gonzales told Cabrera.

"Obviously those were all investigated. I was cleared of any wrongdoing."

He reiterated that U.S. attorneys serve "at the pleasure of the president, no matter how wonderful, how valuable your work has been.

"If the president wants to make a change, he has the right to do so.

"Obviously, change is at the beginning of an administration," Gonzales said. "They're very consistent with past practice.

"Every president, every U.S. attorney general, wants to have his field generals and the U.S. attorneys onboard."

Gonzales said that none of the dismissals would endanger existing investigations by the various offices around the country.

"You've got career prosecutors that are very much involved in all of these very complex investigations and prosecutions. Those will continue.

"There are career individuals who have been there many, many years," he said. "They have experience, good judgment.

"Those investigations will continue, irrespective of the removal of the confirmed U.S. attorney head."

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Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Saturday that an appointed federal employee s refusal to step down after being asked to do so by the president of the United States was really, truly arrogant. It is really, truly arrogant for any appointed employee to refuse...
Alberto Gonzales, Bharara, arrogant, quit
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2017-09-11
Saturday, 11 Mar 2017 09:09 PM
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