No sooner did Alberto Gonzales resign as attorney general last month than he retained a high-powered Washington criminal-defense lawyer to represent him in continuing inquiries by Congress and the Justice Department.
Gonzales's choice of counsel, George Terwilliger--a partner at White & Case--is ironic if not surprising. A former deputy attorney general under the first President Bush, who later helped oversee GOP lawyers in the epic Florida recount battle of 2000, Terwilliger had been a White House finalist to replace Gonzales--only to be aced out at the last minute by retired federal judge Michael Mukasey.
The top concern for Gonzales, and now Terwilliger, is the expanding investigation by Glenn Fine, the Justice Department's fiercely independent inspector general, according to three legal sources familiar with the matter who declined to speak publicly about ongoing investigations. Originally, Fine's internal Justice probe--conducted in conjunction with lawyers from the department's Office of Professional Responsibility--focused on the mass dismissal of U.S. attorneys late last year. The investigation has since broadened to include, among other matters, charges that Gonzales lied to Congress about the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance program and the circumstances surrounding his late-night March 10, 2004, visit to the hospital room of then attorney general John Ashcroft. At the same time, Congress is continuing to pursue more documents on harsh CIA interrogation techniques approved by Gonzales.