WASHINGTON – Monica Goodling, once Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ White House liaison, would be granted immunity from prosecution and forced to testify under a plan being considered by a House panel probing the firings of federal prosecutors.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers said Tuesday that Goodling, who has refused to testify, has much to contribute to the investigation.
“I am hopeful we can approve immunity so that we can schedule her to testify as soon as possible and begin to clear up the many inconsistencies and gaps surrounding this matter,” said Conyers, D-Mich.
“She’s at the nexus of the relationship between the White House and the Justice Department,” added Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.
Conyers had scheduled a committee vote today on granting Goodling immunity but agreed late Tuesday to a request from the panel’s Republicans to postpone it a week, said a committee spokeswoman. A two-thirds majority vote on the committee would be required to grant her immunity. The panel has 22 Democrats and 17 Republicans.
Goodling quit her job as senior counsel to Gonzales and the Justice Department’s liaison with the White House amid the mushrooming furor over the firing of eight U.S. attorneys, then refused to testify before House and Senate committees, invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. She and her lawyer have said any testimony could amount to a perjury trap.