Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
D.C.
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Mass.
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
N.Carolina
N.Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
S.Carolina
S.Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
W.Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Law Firm Website Design Companies : The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

White House Letter Rejecting Subpoenas

  Political and Legal  -   POSTED: 2007/06/28 15:12

President Bush, moving toward a constitutional showdown with Congress, asserted executive privilege Thursday and rejected lawmakers' demands for documents that could shed light on the firings of federal prosecutors. Bush's attorney told Congress the White House would not turn over subpoenaed documents for former presidential counsel Harriet Miers and former political director Sara Taylor. Congressional panels want the documents for their investigations of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' stewardship of the Justice Department.

The Democratic chairmen of the two committees seeking the documents accused Bush of stonewalling and disdain for the law, and said they would press forward with enforcing the subpoenas.

"With respect, it is with much regret that we are forced down this unfortunate path which we sought to avoid by finding grounds for mutual accommodation,'' White House counsel Fred Fielding said in a letter to the chairmen of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees. "We had hoped this matter could conclude with your committees receiving information in lieu of having to invoke executive privilege. Instead, we are at this conclusion.''

Thursday was the deadline for surrendering the documents. The White House also made clear that Miers and Taylor would not testify next month, as directed by the subpoenas, which were issued June 13. The stalemate could end up with House and Senate contempt citations and a battle in federal court over separation of powers.

"Increasingly, the president and vice president feel they are above the law,'' said Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. He portrayed the president's actions as "Nixonian stonewalling.''

His House counterpart, Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., said Bush's assertion of executive privilege was "unprecedented in its breadth and scope'' and displayed "an appalling disregard for the right of the people to know what is going on in their government.''

In his letter, Fielding said Bush had "attempted to chart a course of cooperation'' by releasing more than 8,500 pages of documents and sending Gonzales and other senior officials to testify before Congress. The White House also had offered a compromise in which Miers, Taylor, White House political strategist Karl Rove and their deputies would be interviewed by Judiciary Committee aides in closed-door sessions, without transcripts.

Leahy and Conyers rejected that offer. Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said the Democrats should have accepted it.

"We would be much farther ahead in finding out whether there's any real impropriety here or not,'' said Hatch, a former chairman of the committee. He also said presidents have legitimate reasons to protect the confidentiality of the advice they get.

In his letter, Fielding explained Bush's position on executive privilege this way: "For the President to perform his constitutional duties, it is imperative that he receive candid and unfettered advice and that free and open discussions and deliberations occur among his advisors and between those advisors and others within and outside the Executive Branch.''

This "bedrock presidential prerogative'' exists, in part, to protect the president from being compelled to disclose such communications to Congress, Fielding argued. And he questioned whether the documents and testimony the committees seeking are critically important to their investigations.

It was the second time in his administration that Bush has exerted executive privilege, said White House deputy press secretary Tony Fratto. The first instance was in December, 2001, to rebuff Congress' demands for Clinton administration documents.

Tensions between the administration and the Democratic-run Congress have been building for months as the House and Senate Judiciary panels have sought to probe the firings of eight federal prosecutors and the administration's program of warrantless eavesdropping. The investigations are part of the Democrats' efforts to hold the administration to account for the way it has conducted the war on terrorism since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Democrats say the firings of the prosecutors over the winter was an example of improper political influence. The White House says U.S. attorneys are political appointees who can be hired and fired for almost any reason.

Democrats and even some key Republicans have said that Gonzales should resign over the U.S. attorney dismissals, but he has steadfastly held his ground and Bush has backed him.

Just Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenaed the White House and Vice President Dick Cheney's office, demanding documents pertaining to terrorism-era warrant-free eavesdropping.

Separately, that panel also is summoning Gonzales to discuss the program and an array of other matters - including the prosecutor firings - that have cost a half-dozen top Justice Department officials their jobs.

The Judiciary panels also subpoenaed the National Security Council. Leahy added that, like Conyers, he would consider pursuing contempt citations against those who refuse.


Legal News | Breaking News | Terms & Conditions | Privacy | Law Firm Web Design, Attorney Website Design by Law Promo

ⓒ Breaking Legal News. All Rights Reserved.

The content contained on the web site has been prepared by BLN as a service to the internet community and is not intended to constitute legal advice or a substitute for consultation with a licensed legal professional in a particular case.
   More Legal News
   Legal Spotlight
   Exclusive Commentaries
   Attorney & Blog - Blog Watch
   Law Firm News  1  2  3  4  5  6 
   Lawyer & Law Firm Links
San Francisco Trademark Lawyer
San Francisco Copyright Lawyer
www.onulawfirm.com
New Rochelle Accidents Attorneys
New Rochelle Personal Injury
www.kboattorneys.com
Chicago Business Lawyer
Cook County Contract Law
www.rothlawgroup.com
Canton Criminal Lawyer
Canton DUI lawyer
www.cantoncriminalattorney.com
Surry County Criminal Defense Lawyers
Yadkin County Family Law Attorneys
www.dirussolaw.com
Oregon DUI Law Attorney
Eugene DUI Lawyer. Criminal Defense Law
www.mjmlawoffice.com
Houston Car Accident Attorneys
Wrongful Death Attorneys Houston
Houston Wrongful Death
New York Adoption Lawyers
New York Foster Care Lawyers
Adoption Pre-Certification
www.lawrsm.com
Santa Ana Workers' Compensation Lawyers
www.gentryashtonlaw.com
Indianapolis personal injury lawyer
Brain injury lawyer Indianapolis
www.rwp-law.com
Eugene Bankruptcy Attorney
Bankruptcy Attorney Eugene
willamettevalleybankruptcy.com
Lorain Elyria Divorce Lawyer
www.loraindivorceattorney.com
Denver, Colorado Drug Crimes Lawyer
www.vanlandinghamlaw.com
   More Legal News  1  2  3  4  5  6
   Legal News Links
  Click The Law
  Daily Bar News
  The Legal Voice
  The Legal Report
  Legal News Post
  Crisis Legal News
  Legal News Journal
  Law Firm Logos
  Attorney Web Design
  Immigration Law Web Design
  Law Firm Directory