Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) urged fellow U.S. senators to confirm Michael Mukasey as attorney general.
Mukasey, a retired federal judge who is an Orthodox Jew, at first seemed likely to score an easy confirmation, especially because, unlike his predecessor Alberto Gonzales, he offered direct answers to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and condemned torture.
In recent days, some Democrats have drawn back, worried about Mukasey’s failure to describe “waterboarding.” an interrogation technique that simulates drowning, as torture, although international law experts have declared it as such.
In a Senate speech Thursday, Lieberman said that rejecting Mukasey over one legal opinion would be “grossly unfair, an unjust act.”
Lieberman’s urging came the same day that President Bush made the same case in a speech on the war on terrorism. “By any measure, Judge Mukasey is eminently qualified to be the next attorney general,” Bush said, defending existing interrogation techniques while not describing them.
In his speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation, Bush likened what he describes as his war on terrorism to wars against the Nazis and the Soviet Union. “History teaches that underestimating the words of evil, ambitious men is a terrible mistake,” he said.