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Hatch, Cannon Still Support Gonzales

Hatch, Cannon Still Support Gonzales



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(KSL News) Questions about the honesty of the U.S. Attorney General grow more pointed as political support starts to erode.

There are now signs U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales could be losing support from some key Republicans following new questions about the firing of eight federal prosecutors.

Three high-profile Republican senators are questioning his truthfulness over the firings. But two of Utah's Republican lawmakers still support him.

Senator Orrin Hatch says unless there's clear evidence Gonzales lied or misled Congress, there's no reason to call for his resignation.

Representative Chris Cannon, one of the main Republicans involved in the House Judiciary Committee's probe into the firing, told Fox News' "Weekend Live:"

"There is nothing wrong with firing a U.S. attorney for reasons of politics. The fact is, the Democrats have been alleging corruption, (but) there is nothing on the table yet that would indicate corruption. U.S. attorneys are political, and they exist to pursue the agenda of the president, not their own."

This support comes as details of the administration's account appear to have changed. First Gonzales said the dismissals were entirely handled by a top aide. But an e-mail indicates he took part in a meeting on the firings 10 days before they happened.

Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont said, "First the Attorney General says he's out of the loop. Then he says, and then e-mails show, he was in the loop. It's bad either way."

Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska said, "Unfortunately the Attorney General is dealing with a cloud hanging over his credibility, and the president is going to have to deal with that."

The White House says the documents don't conflict with Gonzales' earlier statements. A spokeswoman says President Bush continues to have confidence in him.

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