When we take the dress off the pig, today Kyle Sampson said Alberto Gonzales is a liar.

The attorney general told the Congress and the nation he was not involved in the firings of U.S. attorneys. We can dress this up nine different ways, we can use the weasel words of official Washington, but this is clear:

Alberto Gonzales lied.

Here is the problem for the President:

He wants to replace Gonzales but has extreme problems finding a successor who is both honest and will accept the job.

The president is afraid of an honest attorney general because the trail of wrongdoing would be exposed by an AG who faithfully executes the law.

The president cannot get an AG who will play the cover-up game, because the cover-up AG candidates won’t accept the job for fear of being indicted.

This is an administration full of Scooter Libbys protecting Dick Cheneys.

The Gonzales scandal goes far beyond the U.S. attorneys and reaches into the bowels of the White House, from the days Gonzales was White House counsel.

In those days Alberto Gonzales was giving legal support to policies of torture, and to policies of massive violations of the U.S. Constitution through eavesdropping and other measures, without court order.

Are there internal e-mails, executive orders, memos or legal opinions seeking to legalize what is illegal? What did Alberto Gonzales know, and when did he know it, and what did he write about it, on Abu Ghraib, and Guantanamo, and violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act?

The president must faithfully execute the laws. No attorney general or White House counsel can advise otherwise, without advising the president to break the law.

We now know that the secretary of defense and the secretary of state are advising the president to close Guantanamo, while the attorney general leads the fight to keep it open. With all due respect …

Alberto Gonzales is a basically nice man who is in over his head. He is an average attorney elevated to great heights by his sycophantic devotion to one man. Unfortunately that one man has tendencies that Republicans from George Will to Chuck Hagel have labeled as monarchical, and that one man believes he is above the law.

If there ever was a president who desperately needs an attorney general of stature, integrity and legal authority it is George W. Bush. If ever there were an Attorney General who should never be a sycophant or enabler for George W. Bush, it is Alberto Gonzales.

The president should appoint Jack Danforth as the next attorney general. Danforth is a former senator, brilliant lawyer and devout minister of unquestioned integrity and high-stature legal authority.

Otherwise our country may be headed for an endless succession of Scooter Libbys, with the buck finally landing squarely on the desk of the president, with consequences that will be grave indeed.