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Gonzales under fire

In an exclusive interview yesterday, Alberto Gonzales told NBC's Pete Williams that the prosecutor firings were not improper.

The news that the Justice Department aide, Monica Goodling, invoking the 5th Amendment is leading to all sorts of speculation that Kyle Sampson's upcoming testimony on Thursday may be a bit more interesting than some expect.

In response to Goodling taking the 5th, Sampson's attorney released this statement: "Kyle plans to testify fully, truthfully and publicly." More from the New York Times: "People briefed on Mr. Sampson's view of events say he believes there were clear errors in communication about the dismissals, including some misstatements by Mr. Gonzales, but no deliberate effort to mislead Congress."

A new USA Today/Gallup poll finds that respondents -- by nearly a 3-to-1 ratio -- believe Congress should issue subpoenas to force White House aides to testify in the fired prosecutors controversy; 53% think the prosecutors were dismissed for political reasons; yet 59% say Democrats are investigating the matter for political advantage. Bush's job-approval rating in the poll is 34%.

NBC's Strickland notes that today could be another uneasy hearing for Gonzales' Justice Department, as FBI Director Bob Mueller testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee. It's Mueller's first appearance before the panel since an internal report showed the agency had misused its power to obtain bank and phone records by issuing National Security Letters.