Kyle Sampson resigned as a loyal servant. Now the former chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is taking issue with some of the key statements his boss has recently made.
In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, Sampson contradicted Gonzales’s claims that he was not directly involved in the firing of eight US attorneys.
“[I] was not involved in seeing any memos, was not involved in any discussions about what was going on,” Gonzales told reporters on March 13.
Not true, Sampson says. “The Attorney General was aware of this process from the beginning,” Sampson testified. “I don’t think [the AG’s statement] is entirely accurate…We did discuss it when he was Attorney-General designate…and when the process came to the conclusion in the fall of 2006.”
Gonzales spokesman Tasia Scolinos told reporters on March 23: “He did not participate in the selection of US attorneys to be fired.” Sampson’s response: “That’s not accurate.” He confirmed that Gonzales appeared at a meeting on November 27 to discuss “US Attorney Appointments.”
Sampson’s recollection was that Gonzales spoke at that meeting. “He was there, at least for a portion of the meeting,” he said. “It was in the Attorney General’s conference room. At the close of the meeting, I followed the Attorney General into his office.”
A third bone of contention: In his March press conference, Gonzales claimed that “information that he [Sampson] had not was shared with individuals within the department who would then be providing testimony and information to the Congress.” But Sampson says he did fully brief Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty and Assistant Attorney General William Moschella, who now stand accused of misleading Congress for claiming that the Attorney firings were “performance-related.”
Clearly there are major discrepancies here. Gonzales will have a lot of explaining to do when he testifies before Congress on April 17–if he lasts that long.