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Support For Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Eroding Among GOP Senators

WASHINGTON (AP) _ More Republican senators are calling for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resign as Democrats prepare a no-confidence vote over President Bush's longtime ally and friend.

Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., on Thursday became the fifth Republican senator to demand that Gonzales leave. Meanwhile, Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., suggested that Bush consider ejecting Gonzales if he decides Gonzales is doing more harm than good.

Two Democratic senators, Chuck Schumer of New York and Dianne Feinstein of California, said they would offer a nonbinding resolution expressing that Gonzales was too weakened to run the Justice Department.

``I think the time has come for the Senate to express its will,'' Feinstein said. ``We lack confidence in the attorney general.''

A White House spokesman termed the measure ``a meaningless political act'' and repeated Bush's support for Gonzales.

Eroding Gonzales' support was the revelation that in 2004 Gonzales, as White House counsel, went to a hospital and pressured then-Attorney General John Ashcroft to certify the legality of Bush's controversial eavesdropping program while Ashcroft lay in intensive care.

Ashcroft had reservations about the program's legality and refused, according to Senate testimony by former Deputy Attorney General James Comey

Asked twice during a news conference Thursday whether he personally ordered Gonzales to Ashcroft's hospital room, Bush refused to answer.
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