Republican officials operating at the behest of the White House have begun seeking a possible successor to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, whose support among GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill has collapsed, according to party sources familiar with the discussions.The problem of course is that with Democrats now in control of the Senate, they are likely to be far less accomodating of any nominees that the White House can think of who appear to be committed Bush loyalists. Who are they considering?
Republican sources also disclosed that it is now a virtual certainty that Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty, whose incomplete and inaccurate congressional testimony about the prosecutors helped precipitate the crisis, will also resign shortly. Officials were debating whether Gonzales and McNulty should depart at the same time or whether McNulty should go a day or two after Gonzales.
Among the names floated Monday by administration officials are Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and White House anti-terrorism coordinator Frances Townsend. Former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson is a White House prospect. So is former solicitor general Theodore B. Olson, but sources were unsure whether he would want the job.Can anyone blame him?