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Bush to Miers: Just say ‘no’ to Congress

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July 11, 2007

President Bush ordered former Counsel Harriet Miers to defy a congressional subpoena and refuse to testify about the firings of federal prosecutors, even as a second former aide revealed new details Wednesday about White House involvement in the dismissals.

The possibility of contempt of Congress citations against both women hung over the developments.

House Democrats threatened to cite Miers if she refused to appear as subpoenaed for a Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday. The White House said she was immune from the subpoena and Bush had directed her not to appear, according to Miers’ lawyer.

Across the Capitol, meanwhile, former White House political director Sara Taylor found out what Miers may already have known: It’s almost impossible to answer some committee questions but not others without breaching either the subpoena or Bush’s claim of executive privilege.

After first refusing to answer questions about Bush’s possible role in the firings, Taylor later told the Senate Judiciary Committee that she knew of no involvement by the president. Further, she said, she knew of no wrongdoing by administration officials in the controversy that has hobbled the Justice Department and imperiled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

The developments whiplashed across Washington as part of a broader dispute over the boundaries of Bush’s executive power and Congress’ oversight duty. Democrats, in control of Congress for the first time in a dozen years, are probing whether the White House ordered the prosecutor firings in ways that might help Republicans in elections.

The Bush administration acknowledges that the firings were clumsily carried out but insists no wrongdoing occurred. Bush has offered to allow his aides, including counselor Karl Rove, Miers and Taylor, to be interviewed by congressional investigators — but only in private and without a transcript.

Democrats on the committees rejected the offer and subpoenaed Miers and Taylor to appear this week, a possible foreshadowing of what’s to come for Rove.

In letters dated Tuesday, White House Counsel Fred Fielding told Miers’ lawyer that Bush had ordered her to stay away from Thursday’s hearing.

“Ms. Miers has absolute immunity from compelled congressional testimony as to matters occurring while she was a senior adviser to the president,” Fielding wrote to Miers’ lawyer, George T. Manning. “The president has directed her not to appear at the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday, July 12, 2007.”

Manning, in turn, notified committee chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., and Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., chairwoman of the subcommittee on commercial and administrative law.

Conyers had previously said he would consider pursuing criminal contempt citations against anyone who defied his committee’s subpoenas.

“A refusal to appear before the subcommittee tomorrow could subject Ms. Miers to contempt proceedings,” Conyers and Sanchez, wrote back to Manning. “The subcommittee will convene as scheduled and expects Ms. Miers to appear as required by her subpoena.”

At the same time, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy held open the possibility of contempt proceedings against Taylor if she does not answer follow-up questions posed during his hearing Wednesday.

“That’s a decision yet to be made,” Leahy said.

Taylor, eager to exhibit a willingness to answer questions but refusing to do so on many of them, revealed some details behind the firings.

“I did not speak to the president about removing U.S. attorneys,” she said under stern questioning by Leahy, D-Vt. “I did not attend any meetings with the president where that matter was discussed.”

When asked more broadly whether Bush was involved in any way in the firings, Taylor said, “I don’t have any knowledge that he was.”

She said she did not recall ordering the addition or deletion of names to the list of prosecutors to be fired. Taylor said she had no knowledge that Bush was involved in the planning of whom to fire, an assertion that echoed previous statements by Attorney General Gonzales, his former chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, and Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty.

Taylor disputed Sampson’s account that she wanted to avoid submitting a new prosecutor, Tim Griffin, through Senate confirmation.

“I expected him to go through Senate confirmation,” Taylor said under questioning by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

Taylor also issued a stiff defense of her colleagues in the Bush administration.

“I don’t believe there was any wrongdoing by anybody,” she said.

On almost every question, Taylor hesitated to consider whether answering would cross Bush’s order to not reveal internal White House deliberations.

“I’m trying to be consistent and perhaps have not done a great job of that,” Taylor said. “I have tried.”

The committee’s ranking Republican, Sen. Arlen Specter, said that may not be enough to protect her from a contempt citation for failing to answer many of the committee’s questions.

“There’s no way you can come out a winner,” said Specter, R-Pa. “You might have been on safer legal ground if you’d said absolutely nothing.”

14 Responses to Bush to Miers: Just say ‘no’ to Congress

  1. nuQler Ostrich

    July 12, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    By forcing Miers to ignore a lawful subopena in a Congressional investigation, Bush has committed a felony under USC 18 Sec.1505 and 1515(b) punishable by 5 years in prison and a fine.

    Flood Pelosi’s office with calls and letters.
    1-866-340-9281 toll-free capitol switchboard

    Ask her how many more felonies before impeachment?

  2. Carl Nemo

    July 14, 2007 at 12:17 am

    Jenifer D. …

    I like your posts “muchly”…! You are evidently operating from a “real-time” knowledge base and have “fire in the belly”…!

    Your comrade in “freedom” for all time and all places…

    Carl Nemo **==

  3. Jenifer D.

    July 12, 2007 at 8:47 am

    No One, I repeat, NO ONE, is authorized to legally compel a subordinate, to ignore a legal court summons…..period. Not even a U.S. Dictator…er President.

    So where in THE hell does an over-privileged, piece of garbage, political lackey, have the audacity to think he can defy man’s law? I’m guessing the same scum that funded the Gestapo (Blackwater Army) he plans to activate once he declares an unjust national emergency, and ultimately martial law, to quell civil unrest once he suspends next year’s presidential elections until further notice..

  4. LurkingFromTheLeft

    July 12, 2007 at 9:09 am

    Once again…I like how you think –

    …I’ve said that to others – I don’t think we can be sure he’ll leave come January 2009 –

    http://www.backwardsbush.com

    …and I’ll imagine DicKkk has already suggested the suspension of elections too –

    LFTL

  5. kent shaw

    July 12, 2007 at 12:23 pm

    …in which case I shall take much glee in offing as many Blackwater bullies as I can until they off me.

  6. Carl Nemo

    July 11, 2007 at 7:36 pm

    Yeah and she needs to have a U.S. Marshal knock on her door and serve her with a Congressional subpoena “big-time”…! If she doesn’t comply then these same U.S. Marshals need to round-‘er-up and plunk her butt down in front of Congress as any other citizen of the U.S. and if she does not, then cite her with contempt and turn it over to the Justice Department for resolution. Ms. Harriet!…Ms. Harriet…! buck-up as a citizen of “these here” United States of America and chuck your “Stepford Wife” loyalty to the Bushistas…NOW! They must have you tranked out with Haldol and microwaves… :)) Go down as a true patriot; i.e, a woman/citizen patriot of the “Republic” rather than a toady for the implementation of an “evil agenda” orchestrated by mattoids…! You’ll end up in the history books no doubt, but it’s your chance to end up on the right side of truth for all time and all places. Ms. Harriet Miers a savior of the Republic rather than a liar facilitating Bushco’s evil agenda…!

    Carl Nemo **==

  7. bryan mcclellan

    July 11, 2007 at 9:21 pm

    Any and all who have worked for chimp should be hauled before Congress and first be given these options, to swear allegiance to the constitution and the sovereign nation of the United states, renounce allegiance to all political parties and individuals,retake the oath of office and then be sworn in and compelled to give honest testimony in regards to the machinations of this Hitleresque administration.Tell them that if they continue to tap dance around the facts they will be turned over to the U.S. Marshalls office to be incarcerated until their memory returns.Suspend the right to take the Fifth in this particular circumstance and refuse any form of immunity or plea bargain.Then grill these bastards and bastardettes until they come clean.Congress has the power to declare war on their culpability and make them talk.Left up to me I would be hard pressed not to go gitmo on these scum and I dare say they deserve it for enabling this evil cabal.Their silence is the very indictment that Congress needs to move forward with these suspensions, what the hell are they waiting for? Put them under the lights and keep them there until they come clean. If they choose noncompliance bring swift and terrible consequences such as the charges of perjury,sedition, and treason.Sounds crazy and un-american but these very tactics have been employed by bushco so why can’t we turn the tables?

  8. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    July 12, 2007 at 5:21 am

    Come on Leahy & Conyers, Get em’ Get those paper hanging bastards and bastardettes!
    (*Bastardettes* HA-HA-HA!!! that’s a great one Bryan, I like that term for the feline conspirators working for BushCo)

  9. adamrussell

    July 11, 2007 at 10:19 pm

    Charge her with contempt of congress and then she can appeal if she thinks she has a case.

  10. LurkingFromTheLeft

    July 11, 2007 at 10:31 pm

  11. SEAL

    July 12, 2007 at 4:54 am

    Bush is only doing what he has done all of his life. The time has come for him to be stopped. This congress appears to be ready to do that. It looks like enough of the republican senators feel they have no choice but to reverse their positions in order to save their own asses. They will not go to the limits they should but it will be far enough. There will be a time table set and it appears his veto will be over ridden. If that happens, and they follow through with the funding cut off on Cheney, you can expect Cheney to resign before long. He will destroy the evidence and bail out before being exposed.

  12. kiki

    July 12, 2007 at 8:48 am

    Whazza matter with you people?! Don’t you realize that it wouldn’t matter if Miers and Taylor were charged with child pornography ?!

    Shrub/Darth Cheney will pardon or commute their sentences !!!!

    He’s “apparently” survived the acid test regarding trashing the rule of law on the Libby case. Our Dictator-In-Chief will be on a roll now-you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.

    The Senate can threaten these women with Abu Ghraib for all Shrub cares. Unless and until immediate impeachment procedings are seriously instituted against Bush, Cheney and Rove any hearings or investigations conducted by the legislative or judicial branches are useless…

    AND BUSH KNOWS IT.

  13. anthny

    July 12, 2007 at 9:08 am

    anthny
    Mussolini had a remedy for all that ails politicians. “CASTOROIL”.
    Give them a dose of there own right-wing medicine.
    I’m seeing alot of good strong posts these days advocating Revolution. There’s something in the air.
    That Chetroff has a gut feeling about another Terror Attack should be an indicator that these people will not go away without doing more damage to this country.
    This could end in a Mexican Standoff, Conyers has to move very fast, and his team have not flinched yet.
    “If we just kick in the front door, the whole rotten structure will colaspe.” A.H.

  14. Steve Horn

    July 12, 2007 at 11:17 am

    Once again, if you’ve done nothing illegal or unethical, why would you hide behind exec. priv.???

    “W”‘s got to live in fear that one of his “faithful” will really see the light and speak out against his direct “orders”.

    Somewhere in that tower of flatus there must be one individual with a soul.

    Steve