Alberto Gonzales resigns as Attorney General

by Jennifer Johnson
NBC News

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigned Monday, bringing an end to a controversial two-and-a-half year tenure.

The 52-year old Gonzales offered no explanation for his resignation during a brief press conference.

"Public service is honorable and noble, and I am profoundly grateful to President Bush for his friendship and for the many opportunities he has given me to serve the American people," Gonzales told reporters.

Gonzales submitted his resignation Sunday at President Bush's Texas ranch.

Democrats have called on Gonzales to resign for months, claiming he fired nine U.S. Attorneys last year for political reasons.

His testimony before Congress on that may lead to a perjury investigation.

One of those fired attorneys said Gonzales needed to be forced out.

"He was in a position where he could no longer lead the Justice Department. He had no credibility with both House Democrats and Republicans, it was really time for him to go," said former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias.

There were other controversies that followed Gonzales, including the Justice Department's  handling of warrantless wiretapping and attempts to limit legal rights for detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

Still, President Bush said Gonzales was treated unjustly.

"After months of unfair treatment that has created a harmful distraction at the Justice Department, Judge Gonzales decided to resign his position".

Democrats urged Mr. Bush not to nominate a friend this time around.

"I think we should set a standard that the next Attorney General cares about the rule of law more than he cares about protecting the president," said Presidential hopeful Senator Hillary Clinton.

Democrats say Congress will push on with its investigations of the former Attorney General.