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Juan Williams Plays Softball with Alberto Gonzalez

Reported by Priscilla - December 20, 2008 -

Juan Williams, filling in for Bill O’Reilly who is out spreading Christmas cheer, interviewed former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez on Thursday, December 18th. It was Gonzalez’ first interview since vacating this position and, judging from the quality of the interview, it just might be his easiest. Naturally, being a loyal Fox/RNC employee, Williams framed the interview as an“homage” and a forum from which to impugn the motives of those who are critical of Gonzalez. But then, what else is new at Fox? I would have liked to have seen Chris Wallace do the interview; but as Williams can be counted on to follow the Fox script, I can understand why he was chosen.

Williams introduced the segment by saying, “but now some on the left want the incoming Obama team to go after the former Bush administration official, including Mr. Gonzales and pursue criminal cases against the whole lot.” He did reference the recent findings, by the bi-partisan Senate Armed Services Committee, that found that the abuses at American detention facilities were the fault of the Bush administration. But rather than use this statement to begin the interview, Williams asked if Gonzalez was worried by the “loud appeals, coming from the left for the Obama administration to go after you, to look at criminal proceeding.” Naturally Gonzalez wasn’t worried because in “every administration” the officials are criticized. (Comment: Yeah, Berto, especially if they approve of torture.) Gonzalez then said that “we did everything we could lawfully to protect our country” and “that despite ongoing investigations, there have been no “criminal findings of wrongdoings.” (Comment: not yet, Berto. The investigations are ongoing.) When Williams asked Gonzalez if he thought that he did anything wrong with regard to the torture findings, Gonzalez responded (surprise, surpise) “absolutely not.” When Williams asked if Gonzalez felt pressure from “politicians” in the White House (Comment: and who might the “politicians” be, Juan?) Gonzalez (surprise, surprise) responded that the “policymakers decide what is the best policy to protect America and they turn to the lawyers and ask us if the policies are lawful and we give advice…” (Comment: so it’s all good)

Williams referenced the recent appointment of a Special Prosecutor, by current AG Michael Mukasey, to investigate the firings of the nine state’s attorneys. Williams said “Again, you're on the spot. You know, some people say there's a lynch mob after you….Do you have any sense that you did something wrong…” (Comment: awww, poor Berto, nasty, bad people are “after” him.) Gonzalez stated that a report by the Department of Justice General Accounting Office “may have found wrongdoing by staffers at the department, found no evidence whatsoever of politicization of the work of prosecutions by the Department of Justice.” To his credit, Williams said, “it suggests that you were not attentive, that somehow you were negligent and allowed political decisions to be made in firing these U.S. attorneys, pressure coming possibly from the White House.” Not surprisingly Gonzalez responded, “I'm not aware of any such pressure, Juan. What I will say is and I've already disclosed this to the American people in speaking to them through testimony on the Hill, that looking back, there — I would have done some things a little bit differently. But at the end of the day, what's very important is the IG concluded there was no wrongdoing by me.” Naturally, this was the end of the interview.

Comment: As “Cathy” would say – “aaaarrrrrrgh.” Just when Williams, if he had done any research, could have mentioned that in two reports, issued by the DOJ/GAO, it was found that the DOJ violated the law in vetting candidates for career positions “based on their political allegiances and affiliations,” the interview ended. Perhaps Williams could have mentioned the House Report which suggested that Gonzalez and staff “might have given false statements under oath before congress.” Perhaps Williams could have asked Gonzalez about the subpoena. Perhaps Williams could have mentioned another DOJ/GAO report which concluded that Gonzalez mishandled top government documents. Not mentioned at all was Gonzalez’ role in warrantless wiretapping. The torture report is of major importance and Williams just glossed over it. To be fair to Juan, there was obviously a time constraint. But the short and superficial format was a nice “showcase” for Gonzalez to say that it’s all good. As the old song said, “Is that all there is?”