In her opening statement to a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee a few minutes ago, Monica Goodling, former Justice Department liaison to the White House, said she had no contact with White House political guru Karl Rove nor then-White House Counsel Harriet Miers about the possible replacement of U.S. attorneys. (She says Rove was present at one meeting she attended after the decisions had been made.)
Goodling, who had previously taken the Fifth Amendment and was granted immunity in order to get her testimony, portrays herself as much less central to the story of the fired U.S. attorneys than media accounts have suggested.
She also started by accusing former Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty of providing false and incomplete testimony about her role.
The hearing will run all morning at least. U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison of Minneapolis is on the committee and plans to ask Goodling about why the department was considering firing Tom Heffelfinger as U.S. attorney for Minnesota, and how Rachel Paulose, who has been described as a close personal friend of Goodling, came to be appointed to the post after Heffelfinger resigned. But Ellison ranks near the bottom of the committee’s seniority list and will therefore be among the last to question Goodling.