Welcome to the SECOND HALF of our live blogging session during the Gonzales hearing. Feel free to comment below. Here are the up-to-the-minute headlines. Keep pressing REFRESH for updates (Note: Watch it live @ C-Span3):
4:54: With that, we adjourn this Live Blogging Event on The Blue State. If you have a personal comment you want to send us about this site, please do so at thebluestate(AT)hotmail.com . Thanks to everyone for joining us!!! We will have more posts later today. Please bookmark our site :) We put in our best effort on this site every day.
4:51: As Gonzales stood up, the crowd sings, "Na na na na, hey hey, goodbye."
4:50: One member in the gallery yelled that 74 times Gonzales said "I don't recall."
4:48: Leahy: "This is a day that has not made me happy at all." And he smashes the gavel down.
4:48: Leahy: Giving powerful monologue about DoJ under Gonzales.
4:46: Leahy talking about the time he worked as a prosecutor for eight years.
4:44: Specter: "I'm not going to call for your resign." It's up to the president.
4:43: Specter: "We've gona as far as we can go with the questions," and "haven't gotten anywhere."
4:42: Specter: "We have not..got..answers."
4:41: Specter: "It doesn't do any good to ask anymore questions."
4:40: Specter: "There is a loss of credibility."
4:39: Specter is up. Specter: "I think your credibility has been significantly impaired" because "of the responses you've made."
4:38: Schumer: "When you answer to many questions, 'I don't know, I can't recall,'"..."the burden of proof lays" on the person that did the firing.
4:36: Schumer: You've answered "I can't recall" to almost 100 questions. Schumer asks for Gonzales to step down.
4:35: Whitehouse has completed. Schumer is back on!
4:32: Whitehouse has just a minute or two left in his questioning of Gonzales. Whitehouse is asking how Gonzales' reasons for firing attorneys correlates with the set guidelines for evaluating those attorneys.
4:26: Gonzales admits that there has been a "pronounced change" of policy under Bush (compared to Clinton) regarding who can talk to U.S. attorneys
4:25: Senator Whitehouse explained that under Clinton they had a set "structure", which is a very important "safe-guard" that controls what political leaders can have discussions with U.S. attorneys in order to minimize political influence over the judiciary.
4:22: The documents are two letters that lay out the rules for contacts with attorneys that were established under Clinton.
4:20: Senator Whitehouse is up, and he will be giving two documents to the Attorney general.
4:17: The hearing is about to resume in a few moments. Just a note: it looks like this will be the last round of questioning, and it should end within the next hour.
4:06: They are now taking a 10 minute break.
4:05: Cardin: Literature has been handed out to minority voters that has been "blatantly wrong."
4:02: Cardin now onto the voter fraud/intimidation issue, and how Democratic voters are more of a victim than Republicans. (i.e. long lines, minority voter intimidation)
3:59: Gonzales to Cardin: "I'm not sure what you mean by 'political influence.'"
3:58: Hatch praising Gonzales because he's "handled" himself "well" even though he messed up.
3:55: Sorry to be partial here, but Hatch is going nowhere. Other than to say "this was poorly handled," and that "you've taken responsibility." Let's move on to the next guy please.
3:52: Hatch: The attorneys "serve at the pleasure of the president." (As if we had not heard that enough!)
3:50: Smack-down from Feinstein!! Now it's Hatch's turn (R-UT)
3:49: Feinstein: The firings were "a shot to the gut" to these attorneys, who had previously been told that they had a positive performance record.
3:47: Feinstein: "I have a really hard time" accepting that you don't know how these U.S. attorneys got on the list.
3:46: Feinstein: "..this is so strange."
3:44: Feinstein: "Seven of the eight" attorneys "were involved in public corruption prosecutions."
3:43: Feinstein says we don't know "who selected the individuals that were on the list"..."a human being had to." (Nice!)
3:39: Feinstein time!!
3:37: Specter: "Tell us, as an attorney general, you have done" in terms of oversight that FBI complies with regard to surveillance.
3:35: Specter still talking to Gonzales about the school shooting (although he is assuming that Gonzales will be around longer).
3:32: Specter telling stories about the Virginia shooting...
3:30: Specter is up (R-PA)
3:29: Gonzales: "I don't recall the President" telling me to fire U.S. Attorneys.
3:27: Leahy: "Have you done anything to ensure that political operatives" like "Rove" don't use RNC email accounts? Gonzales replied that he didn't think so.
3:25: Gonzales: "There ought to be some effort to preserve" the emails.
3:23: Leahy: President Bush doesn't use email, does he? Gonzales: I think that is correct. (LOL)
3:22: Leahy addressing the issues regarding emails that may have included calls for Fitzgerald to be fired.
3:21: After nearly six minutes of internet gambling talk, it's now Leahy's turn.
3:18: A full three minutes so far on internet gambling. Kyl: "Do you think regulations need to be strong in this area?"
3:16: Kyl still talking about internet gambling, which has nothing to do with the U.S. Attorney firing scandal. In parliamentary terms, this is like filibustering.
3:15: Kyl completely changing the subject -- to internet gambling!!
3:14: Gonzales: "We really have limited information" about cases that are being prosecuted throughout the country.
3:12: Senator Kyl (R-AZ) is up
3:12: Whitehouse: "If you hang a U.S. attorney" to send the message to others, then "that would be improper."
3:10: Whitehouse: Taking the "president can do whatever he wants" out of the picture and replacing it with "this just wasn't right" ... "you've set the bar way low."
3:07: Gonzales: The independence of U.S. Attorneys is" .. "important."
3:06: Whitehouse: "You don't understand the damage to the structure."
3:05: Whitehouse: "Saying the President can remove people" .. "misses the point."
3:03: Senator Whitehouse (D-RI) is next, followed by Kyle (R-AZ).
3:02: Coburn: "you set leadership skils and they were".. "lacking"
3:02: Coburn: "The communication was attrocious... I believe you ought to suffer the consequences..." Coburn calls for Gonzales' "resignation."
3:01: Corburn: "This has been handled incompetently."
3:00: Gonzales: The department, under my leadership, has done great things.
2:58: Personally speaking, I'm just counting down the minutes until Kennedy goes! Should be interesting.
2:56: Coburn: "Damage" to "Justice Department" has "been significant." "Communication" between Gonzales and "bud Cummins has been terrible."
2:54: Tom Coburn (R-OK) is up.
2:53: Cardin: "don't you think your staff would make decision on the way you would ?" Gonzales replies that he would still do the same thing over again.
2:52: Gonzales: I have been very candid about "not interfering with cases."
2:49: Cardin talking about the probes that were going on when the attorneys were tossed (investigations of public officials before they were dismissed.)
2:47: Cardin pressing Gonzales on proof that attorneys weren't removed illegitimately.
2:46: Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) is up. Cardin: "you acknowledged dismissing the attorneys for political reasons would be wrong"
2:45: Gonzales says it was his ideas to evaluate U.S. Attorneys
2:42: Gonzales: We've "tried to gather up as much information as we can," to "get to the bottom of it."
2:40: Gonzales: "My statements" in the March 13th press conference "were too broad."
2:39: Grassey: We shouldn't be getting conflicting statements from the attorney general."
2:37: Grassley: "We don't have a straight story on what transpired."
2:36: Senator Grassley (R-IA) to begin.
2:34: Senators and Gonzales are taking their seats.
2:31: Okay, we're waiting for this thing to get started any minute now.
2:00: C-Span: Hearing will resume @ 2:30 PM ET
1:59: Still waiting for them to return from break. Each Senator in the committee will be given time for a second round of questioning. These questions will be much more specific. Also, expect for Democrats to use this opportunity to provide some sort of a knockout blow.
1:31: The hearing will return from recess around 2 PM ET/11 PM PT.
1:10: I will be taking a break until our Senators get back from lunch. We will continue our live blogging coverage then. If you like our coverage thus far, then we'd really like for you to bookmark The Blue State. This site is updated multiple times each day. We appreciate you joining us today!
1:05: They are still at recess. C-Span 3, at the moment, is repeating some of the coverage.
11:59: Sessions supports his colleague Domenici questioning U.S. attorney Iglesias
11:57: Sessions: "I'm concerned about your recollection."
11:56: Just to note, the meeting has to do with the one with Sampson regarding the firings.
11:55: Gonzales: "but in any event, i have no recollection of that meeting"
11:54: Quote of the day! Gonzales: "I have searched my memory."
11:53: Senator Sessions (R-AL) is up. Then aterwards, Senator Schumer, Graham, and then Durbin will go.
11:52: Feingold: What Gonzales said about the process of the firings "doesn't cut it with me."
11:50: Gonzales: "I want to get to the bottom of this, Senator, just as you do."
11:49: Feingold: You had "no basis for telling the American people" in the newspaper that U.S. attorneys "lost your confidence." -- since Gonzales was not that involved in the process.
11:47: Gonzales: "I can't recall" specificity of conversations about recommendations that 7 U.S. attorneys be fired.
11:45: Feingold: "I'm trying to highlight what a problem" this scandal has been.
11:44: Gonzales to Feingold: "Sir, look at the facts here."
11:43: Feingold: "you have an obligation to tell the truth when speaking to the people or a newspaper, don't you?"
11:42: Leahy points out that over time 92-93 attorneys were replaced by Bush
11:41: We can now celebrate because Cornyn is finished!
11:39: Gonzales: "There is a lot of misinformation, or disinformation, about what happened here."
11:38: Cornyn: The House trying "to drag" other non-fired U.S. attorneys into the debate.
11:37: Gonzales: "Performance, for me, means a lot of things" -- referring to the attorneys.
11:35: Cornyn now defending Gonzales, saying that FBI has had no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the DoJ (Of course Cornyn, that's because the FBI didn't launch a sweeping investigation of Alberto.)
11:34: Gonzales: "the attorneys don't want a formal process for evaluation"
11:32: John Cornyn is up. He expressed shame in how the investigation was conducted.
11:31: Leahy: "Let me remind you that you are here as guests of the United States Senate."
11:30: Protesters are now yelling!!
11:28: Before they begin again, The Hill reports "Glove off early in Gonzales hearing."
11:25: Okay, the Senate break should be over in a few min. As soon as it does, we will continue this live blogging session. I'd like to give a big shoutout to all the Kos viewers that are joining us.
11:21: Taking 4 min break....we will continue! I hope you are all enjoying this as much as I am! This guy is toast.