Amid growing calls for his resignation, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales apologized to the nation's U.S. attorneys for his handling of the firings of eight people who used to hold the position, according to a Justice Department spokesman.
"The attorney general reiterated how important the U.S. attorneys are to him as his representatives in the communities they serve and as prosecutors charged with protecting their communities from violent criminals, drug dealers and predators," spokesman Brian Roehrkasse told CNN's Terry Frieden. Gonzales made his remarks in a conference call.
A Justice Department official said all 93 U.S. attorneys were invited to join the call, but it was not clear how many of them did.
"On the call, he apologized not for the dismissals, but rather for the handling of the situation, including that the suggestion the prosecutors had performed poorly was ultimately discussed publicly," the official said.
"He encouraged them, as members of his team, to be open with him and share any thoughts or concerns they have during this period," Roehrkasse said.
The move did not appear to mollify Gonzales' critics. "I think it's highly unlikely he survives," Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, told NBC's "Meet the Press." "I wouldn't be surprised if, a week from now, he's no longer attorney general."
He added about Gonzales, "He's bungled it."
Michelle Malkin has more: The fate of Alberto Gonzales. [Fixed typo in Michelle's name (sorry, Michelle!). Thanks to Casey Smith. -- Ed.]
To see more Newsmaker Caricatures by John Cox, click here.
UPDATE -- March 20: From CNN: Bush stands behind Gonzales in prosecutor firings.
Posted by Forkum at March 19, 2007 08:05 PM