Breaking: Alberto Gonzales has resigned (MORE: LINKS TO TEXT OF STATEMENTS ADDED)

The NYT reports this morning:

WACO, Tex., Aug. 27 — ­ Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, whose tenure has been marred by controversy and accusations of perjury before Congress, has resigned. A senior administration official said he would announce the decision later this morning in Washington.

Mr. Gonzales, who had rebuffed calls for his resignation, submitted his to President Bush by telephone on Friday, the official said. His decision was not immediately announced, the official added, until after the president invited him and his wife to lunch at his ranch near here.

Mr. Bush has not yet chosen a replacement but will not leave the position open long, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the Attorney General’s resignation had not yet been made public.


The official said that the decision was Mr. Gonzales’s and that the president accepted it grudgingly. At the same time, the official acknowledged that the turmoil over his tenure as Attorney General had made continuing difficult.

“The unfair treatment that he’s been on the receiving end of has been a distraction for the department,” the official said.

The rumor mill in DC is churning with gossip that Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff could be Gonzales’ replacement.

Orin Kerr sees that as a positive development, if true:

Gonzales should have left months ago for the good of the Department, and his departure would be better late than never. Chertoff would be a strong choice for AG: as a former AUSA, former Assistant AG for the Criminal Division, and former federal judge, he’s a much better fit as AG than he was as Secretary of Homeland Security. In a perfect world it would be better to have an outsider come in as AG to let the Department of Justice make more of a fresh start. But then we don’t live in a perfect world, and among the realistic options I think Chertoff is the natural choice.

From an ideological standpoint, I’m not so sure Chertoff would be a good choice, considering how he’s angered and alienated a lot of conservatives over his statements about the immigration bill.

Then again, rumors of Chertoff’s stepping into Gonzales’ role are just that – rumors – at this point.

Stay tuned …

More: Praise for Chertoff from Jonathan Adler, who predicts nevertheless that Chertoff won’t be Bush’s pick.

Update 1: Blogosphere reax are piling up at Memeorandum, with folks on both sides of the aisle expressing a mixture of relief, happiness, and disappointment.

Update 2: CNN reports that “senior admin officials” are saying that Chertoff will get the nod.

Update 3: Here’s text of Gonzales statement. GWB comments on Gonzales resignation here.


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