A substantial vote of no confidence could lead to the resignation of A…

A substantial vote of no confidence could lead to the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, according to reports.

CNN report that a leading Republican senator predicted Sunday that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales would quit before facing a “substantial” no-confidence vote, but the White House said such a vote would have no effect on the Justice Department chief.

Sen. Arlen Specter, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Gonzales was likely to resign before the Senate delivers “a forceful, historical statement.”

“I think that if and when he sees that coming, that he would prefer to avoid that kind of an historical black mark,” the Pennsylvania senator told CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

Gonzales has been under fire for months over the 2006 firings of eight U.S. attorneys, a move for which the Justice Department has offered shifting explanations.

The flap has led to the resignation of two of the attorney general’s top aides and allegations of political influence on pending cases.

Four Republican senators had already called for Gonzales to resign over that flap. Two more joined the chorus after last week’s dramatic testimony by former Deputy Attorney General James Comey.

Comey said Gonzales — then White House counsel — tried to get around Justice Department objections to a controversial warrantless surveillance program by making a bedside visit to Attorney General John Ashcroft, who was recovering from gall-bladder surgery at the time.

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