WASHINGTON - Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., says Attorney General Alberto Gonzales "has not been truthful" about the firing of eight U.S. attorneys.
Gonzales has been caught up in the controversy over the firings, which critics say were for political reasons: Reportedly four of the eight were investigating Republicans and one had refused to investigate Democrats before the 2006 election.
Gonzales has said publicly he "never saw documents, we never had a discussion" about the firings in the Justice Department.
But his public statements have been contradicted in sworn congressional testimony from his former chief of staff, who said the attorney general was involved in the firings.
Leahy appeared Sunday on NBC News' "Meet the Press."
He was asked by host Tim Russert whether he believed "the chief law enforcement official in this country, the attorney general, has lied?"
"I believe he has not been accurate, and I believe he has not been truthful," Leahy said. In fact, Gonzales asked Leahy during a meeting at the U.S. Supreme Court for a second chance to "clarify" earlier statements made in a private meeting, the senator said.
"I told him I didn't want anymore of these private meetings where we're told the half-truths or untruths. I said our next meeting would be in public under oath. Quite frankly, Tim, I'm fed up about it, I really am."
Gonzales is scheduled to appear before the Judiciary Committee April 17.
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