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US Attorney General to Testify Thursday Before Congress on Prosecutor Firings

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday about the controversy surrounding the firing of federal prosecutors. VOA's Deborah Tate reports from Capitol Hill.

In testimony released in advance of his appearance before the Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Gonzales apologizes to the eight federal prosecutors who were fired, but says none was removed for improper reasons.

The Judiciary Committee is probing whether the dismissals were politically motivated, and whether the attorney general misled Congress about his role in the matter.

In his prepared testimony, Gonzales acknowledges that some of his past statements about the matter have been "imprecise," but he says it was not an attempt to mislead the American people.

But several lawmakers on the committee say the attorney general's prepared remarks are inadequate. Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the panel's top Republican, says Gonzales needs to disclose more facts about the firings. He made his comments on ABC's This Week program.

"At a minimum, he ought to have a case-by-case analysis and either justify the reasons for replacing them, or concede that he was wrong," he said.

Senator Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, echoed those comments at a news conference Wednesday.

"I hope the attorney general cooperates with full, complete and unambiguous answers. We expect nothing less. We hope that by the end of Thursday, we are closer, not further, from the truth," he said.

Democrats, and some Republicans, have called for Gonzales' resignation over his handling of the matter.

But at the White House, spokeswoman Dana Perino reiterated President Bush's support for Gonzales.

"The attorney general has the full confidence of the president. The president wanted the Justice Department to be fully responsive and they have been," she said.

The growing controversy has prompted the resignations of two top aides to Gonzales, including his chief of staff. The attorney general says he has done nothing that would warrant his own resignation.