April 3, 2007 – 2:06 p.m.
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have rebuffed the assertion of a senior aide to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales to invoke her Fifth Amendment right and decline to answer questions.
Attorneys for Monica Goodling, counsel to Gonzales and White House liaison for the Justice Department, told both the House and Senate Judiciary committees last week that she would invoke her constitutional right against self-incrimination under questioning about the dismissals of eight U.S. attorneys last year. Goodling’s lawyers have asked lawmakers not to summon her for testimony.
House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., and Linda T. Sanchez, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee, sent a letter today to Goodling’s lawyers requesting Goodling to submit to a private interview by committee staff within the week.
“We are concerned that several of the asserted grounds for refusing to testify do not satisfy the well-established bases for a proper invocation of the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination,” Conyers and Sanchez wrote.
Goodling, who has taken a leave of absence, is one of several current or former department officials whom lawmakers are interesting in questioning about the matter.