Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales announced his resignation Monday, Aug. 27, ending a controversial cabinet tenure that included clashes with Congress over the firing of nine U.S. attorneys and over the use of warrantless wiretaps in the war on terror.
The first Hispanic to hold the job, Gonzales will step down on Sept. 17. In a brief statement, he called his 13 years in public service a "remarkable journey," but he gave no explanation about why he chose to resign now after resisting months of pressure to quit.
Gonzales said in March that he did not regret firing nine federal prosecutors last year, but he accepts responsibility for "mistakes" that triggered a congressional probe into whether White House officials and other Republicans exerted political pressure in the dismissals.
An administration official said that Gonzales had told President Bush of his decision on Friday, but the announcement was withheld until the two met face to face on Sunday at Bush's ranch in Crawford. Bush planned to make a statement shortly before noon from Waco, Tex.
Gonzales took no questions from the press as he announced his plans, but he said that even his "worst days" as attorney general were "better than my father's best days" as a migrant worker in Texas.
"I have lived the American dream," said Gonzales, 52.