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Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Pryor renews call for Gonzales to step down after meeting with him

Watch Pryor's comments on Gonzales.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In an effort to mend fences on Capitol Hill, embattled U.S. Attorney Gen. Alberto Gonzales met with Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Arkansas, who recently accused Gonzales of lying about the firing of a U.S. attorney in is home state. But the 40-minute Capitol Hill meeting failed to sway Pryor who told reporters afterwards that he still thinks Gonzales should resign.

Pryor said the attorney general's memory of two phone calls they had in December on the subject was so "hazy" that Pryor today "refreshed his memory on what he said and what he told me."

At issue were discussions about selecting a replacement for a U.S. attorney who had been fired. During the calls, Pryor says Gonzales assured him he would be consulted on the choice -- as is customary for home state senators. At the time, a former aide to presidential aide Karl Rove had been installed as the interim U.S. attorney.

Congressional investigators later uncovered an e-mail from Gonzales's former chief of staff Kyle Sampson that urged delaying the naming of a permanent replacement in order to keep the interim U.S. attorney in office.

After reading the Sampson email, Pryor accused Gonzales of lying to him.

"Because if you go through the specifics of the email basically I had the very same phone call with him," Pryor said. "In the e-mail it says, 'let's gum this to death, let's run out the clock, let's do all this in good faith.' So that's what prompted my strong reaction."

Gonzales attempted to explain his views but did not apologize, Pryor said.

"There are a lot of senators who think he should step down, Democrats and Republicans," Pryor says he told Gonzales. "He said his intention was not to step down. The president has expressed confidence in him and he plans stay and work on mending some fences."

-- CNN Congressional Producer Ted Barrett
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