Chimpy explains his role in the US Attorneys scandal.
Q Thank you, Mr. President, President Calderón. On the dismissal of U.S. attorneys, there have been allegations that political motivations were involved. Is political loyalty to your administration an appropriate factor? And when you talked to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales last year, what did you say, and what did you direct him to do?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thanks, Kelly. I’ve heard those allegations about political decision-making; it’s just not true. Secondly, just so you know, I get asked — I get complaints all the time from members of Congress on a variety of subjects — this senator, this congressperson so-and-so — there’s occasionally frustration with the executive branch. And they will pull me aside and say, are you aware of this, are you aware of that? And I did receive complaints about U.S. attorneys.
I specifically remember one time I went up to the Senate and senators were talking about the U.S. attorneys. I don’t remember specific names being mentioned, but I did say to Al last year — you’re right, last fall — I said, have you heard complaints about AGs, I have — I mean, U.S. attorneys, excuse me — and he said, I have. But I never brought up a specific case nor gave him specific instructions.
Q Sir, might he have inferred that you discussed it with him was a need for him to take action?
PRESIDENT BUSH: You’re going to have to ask Al that question, but as I say, I discuss with my Cabinet officials complaints I hear.