Cheney, his chief of Staff and his counsel have been granted the authority once reserved only for the President, to intervene at will in pending matters at the Justice Department.
At Tuesday's Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing, Gonzalez was stumped when confronted with the memo he'd signed granting such privileges to the VP and his staff. He was unable to explain why the VP needed such authority.
Gonzales' May 2006 memo also gave Cheney's staff the ability to discuss 'Presidential Clemency Matters' with the Justice Department, perhaps including the Libby clemency.
Gonzales admitted feeling "troubled by this" when confronted with the memo.