Gonzales: Waterboarding Wasn’t Torture ‘When That Advice Was Given’
By Mary Jacoby | May 4, 2022 6:31 pm

Former Attorneys General John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales appeared together at a public Q&A session led by NBC and MSNBC legal analyst Dan Abrams at the American Jewish University on April 27. A transcript of the session was published last night on the Daily Beast.

Some highlights:

Gonzales on waterboarding and the Office of Legal Counsel memos authorizing it: “Was it torture, when that advice was given? No. Were the interrogations harsh? Yes. Did they save lives? Absolutely.”

Gonzales on a hypothetical about whether it’s proper to remove a U.S. Attorney who refuses to pursue a partisan political prosecution: “If it was to interfere with ongoing prosecution or to punish a U.S. attorney for failing to prosecute someone when there’s no reason not to—that would be improper.

Gonzales on whether White House pressure on a U.S. Attorney to pursue voting fraud cases (a strategy Democrats contend Republicans use to suppress the vote) would be improper: “What  do you mean politically charged cases? For example, if you’re saying one of the president’s priorities is voter fraud. And if we have U.S. attorneys who say “I don’t care about voter fraud, I don’t care what the president thinks, I’m not going to prosecute those kinds of cases,” I think it would be legitimate to replace him. They serve at the pleasure of the president.”

Gonzales on whether he squelched a DOJ national security investigation into Rep. Jane Harman because he needed the House Intelligence Committee Democrat’s support for warrantless wiretapping: “ I’m not going to comment publicly whether or not there was or was not or is an investigation. I will say that I would not interfere with an investigation for an improper reason. And that’s all I can say about that.”

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