Only hours after President Bush gave Attorney General Gonzales a vote of confidence at a press conference, Republican Senator John Sununu (R-NH) joined the chorus of legislators who believe that the Attorney General should be replaced. “I think the president should replace him. We need to have a strong, credible attorney general that has the confidence of Congress and the American people. Alberto Gonzales can’t fill that role. I think the attorney general should be fired,” Sununu said in an interview with the Associated Press.

During a news conference in Mexico, President Bush said, “I do have confidence in Attorney General Al Gonzales.” The president did say that he was not happy with the way the firing of eight U.S. attorneys was handled last year, and he said that Gonzales needs to appear before Congress and straighten things out. “I’ve talked to him this morning. And we talked about his need to go up to Capitol Hill and make it very clear to members in both political parties why the Justice Department made the decisions it made; make it very clear about the facts,” Bush said.

Democrats, and now Republican Sununu, are calling for Gonzales to step down because there are worries that the U.S. attorneys were fired for political, not performance based reasons. Initially the White House said that they did not have involvement in the plan to fire the attorneys; however email exchanges released this week between Gonzales’ chief of staff, then White House council Harriet Miers, and her deputy, William K. Kelley paint a much different picture. The House and Senate Judiciary Committees have invited Rove, Miers and her deputy, William K. Kelley, to testify about their roles in the firings. Gonzales also says that five of his aides, who were involved in the terminations, will be available to testify.

In case any of those who are asked refuse to testify, the Senate Judiciary Committee is considering issuing subpoenas for the administration witnesses on Thursday. Democrats have accused the White House of firing U.S. Attorneys who disagree with the administration, so that they can replace them with political friends. A new provision in the Patriot Act allows the attorney general to new hire new U.S. attorneys without Senate confirmation. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) predicted that Gonzales will be fired very soon. “I think he is gone. I don’t think he’ll last long,” Reid said. Someone is going to have to take the fall for the exposure of the White House’s plan to the U.S. attorneys, and I would bet my bottom dollar that Gonzales is going to take the fall here.

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com.  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politics

Jason can also be heard every Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse 

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