The Senate investigation of Alberto Gonzales took a turn toward high drama today as a former deputy AG described his hospital-room standoff with White House officials attempting to secure the signature of his critically ill boss. James Comey, then No. 2 at Justice—and, with John Ashcroft incapacitated, the acting AG—was with Ashcroft when Gonzales and Andrew Card appeared.
Senators indicated the reason for the visit was the NSA's domestic surveillance program. Authorization was to expire in March 2004, when then–White House counsel Gonzales and then-chief of staff Card paid a late-night call on Ashcroft. "I was very upset," Comey testified. "I thought I had just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very sick man."