Pressed by Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee, D-Texas, about the circumstances surrounding the visit by Gonzales and then White House chief of staff Andy Card, Ashcroft said, "Discussions with members of the administration are private. … I was in the ICU, I hadn't eaten in a week. ... I may have been thirsty and grumpy."
Comey described the incident to a Congressional panel last year, and Mueller later testified that he did not dispute Comey's account.
Asked if his failure to authorize the NSA warrantless wiretapping program and a massive data mining program ultimately led to his departure from the administration, Ashcroft said, "My departure was on my own, it was voluntary."