Bush orders Harriet Miers to defy House committee's subpoen

Bush orders Harriet Miers to defy House committee's subpoen
Wed Jul 11, 2007 15:34


Bush orders former counsel to defy House committee's subpoena


Associated Press

July 11, 2007 at 3:41 PM EDT

WASHINGTON — President George W. Bush ordered his former White House counsel, Harriet Miers, to defy a congressional subpoena and refuse to testify Thursday before a House panel investigating U.S. attorney firings.

“Ms. Miers has absolute immunity from compelled congressional testimony as to matters occurring while she was a senior adviser to the president,” White House Counsel Fred Fielding wrote in a letter to Miers' lawyer, George T. Manning.

Mr. Manning, in turn, notified committee chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., that Miers would not show up Thursday to answer questions about the White House role in the firings of eight federal prosecutors over the winter.

Mr. Conyers, who had previously said he would consider pursuing criminal contempt citations against anyone who defied his committee' subpoenas, revealed the letters after former White House political director Sara Taylor testified Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Ms. Taylor said she knew of no involvement by the President in the firings of the U.S. attorneys.

She irked senators by refusing to answer many questions from a panel investigating whether the firings were politically motivated. She said she was bound by Mr. Bush's position that White House conversations were protected by executive privilege.

Mr. Conyers said of Ms. Miers, Mr. Bush's former White House lawyer, “As a former public official and officer of the court, Ms. Miers should be especially aware of the need to respect legal process, and we expect her to appear before the committee tomorrow as scheduled.”

Mr. Fielding said the Justice Department had advised the White House that Ms. Miers had absolute immunity from compelled congressional testimony.

“The president has directed her not to appear at the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday, July 12, 2007,” Mr. Fielding wrote.


Patrick Leahy: Sen. Leahy Remarks On The U.S. Attorney Investigation
Tue, 07/10/2007 - 10:14 — admin



``What is the White House trying to hide?'' said committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat. ``I think you are doing the best you can not to answer legitimate questions here and the White House is helping you continue that kind of coverup.''

Leahy said he hasn't decided whether to seek to hold Taylor in contempt for refusing to answer questions. Her testimony that she didn't know of any presidential involvement in the firings ``seriously undercuts his claim of executive privilege if he was not involved,'' he said.

Bush's assertion of executive privilege ``does not protect you from a contempt citation,'' Leahy told Taylor.



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