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Senate Democrats Arrange Perjury Charges for Gonzales

Senate Democrats are calling for a special counsel for investigation into the testimony of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. The NewsHour reports on the counsel, designed to look into perjury charges brought against Gonzales.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    Next, that battle between Senate Democrats and the attorney general. NewsHour congressional correspondent Kwame Holman has our report.

    SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), New York: We're here at a sad moment.

  • KWAME HOLMAN:

    The four Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who requested a special prosecutor today to investigate Attorney General Alberto Gonzales accused him of giving "half-truths and misleading statements" in congressional testimony.

    The request followed a combative hearing Tuesday, in which members of both parties questioned the attorney general's competence and his honesty on a range of issues. New York's Chuck Schumer outlined the rationale behind the request.

  • SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER:

    We simply cannot stand for this any longer. The attorney general is meant to be the chief law enforcement officer of the land. He must be a person of truth and candor and integrity. The record, which grows day by day, is making it clear that the attorney general is not such a person.

  • KWAME HOLMAN:

    The senators questioned Gonzales' accounts of his involvement in the firings of U.S. attorneys and statements about the president's domestic surveillance program. In addition to Schumer, Wisconsin's Russ Feingold, California's Dianne Feinstein, and Rhode Island freshman Sheldon Whitehouse requested the probe.

    The committee's chairman, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, did not sign on to the effort. They wrote a letter to Solicitor General Paul Clement, who handles matters from which the attorney general has recused himself. Senator Dianne Feinstein listed the issues the senators want investigated.

    SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), California: One, to look at whether, in fact, the department has been politicized; two, to evaluate his misleading and often untrue statements to the Congress…

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