Miers may face contempt of Congress

A congressional panel moved toward seeking contempt charges against former White House counsel Harriet Miers on Thursday after she refused to appear — under orders from President George W. Bush — at a hearing on the firing of federal prosecutors.

The White House promptly accused the Democratic-led Congress of looking for a fight and failing to understand separation of federal powers.

“The committee is rejecting accommodation because they prefer just the kind of political spectacle,” said spokesman Tony Fratto.

On a party-line vote of 7-5, a House of Representatives Judiciary subcommittee rejected the contention that Bush’s claim of executive privilege allowed Miers’ not to attend its hearing or testify on what she knows about fired prosecutors.

“I hereby rule that those claims are not legally valid, and that Ms. Miers is required pursuant to the subpoena to be here now and to produce documents and answer questions,” said subcommittee Chairwoman Linda Sanchez, a California Democrat.

After her panel adopted the ruling, Sanchez said, “This subcommittee and the full committee will take under advisement what next steps are warranted.”

Internal documents show Miers was involved in a plan that originated at the White House and stretched to the Justice Department that led to the dismissal last year of nine of the nation’s 93 U.S. attorneys.

Despite administration claims to the contrary, critics charge the ousters seemed politically motivated, perhaps to even influence probes of Democratic or Republican lawmakers.

Unless the White House reaches a compromise with lawmakers, the House Judiciary Committee could vote to hold Miers in contempt of Congress.

If the full House of Representatives concurs, the case would be referred to a U.S. attorney to seek a grand jury indictment.

Bush has offered to allow Miers and other current and former White House aides to talk to lawmakers, but only behind closed doors, without a transcript and not under oath.

Democrats have rejected it, but have pushed for compromise since a court fight could stretch beyond Bush’s second term, which ends in January 2009.

Miers finds herself in the middle of this battle two years after the president withdrew his nomination of her to the U.S. Supreme Court following opposition from fellow conservatives.

Miers refused to attend the House hearing under orders from Bush a day after another former White House aide, Sara Taylor, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in its investigation of the fired prosecutors.

But at Bush’s direction, Taylor refused to answer a number of questions about the firings.

Bush and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales have said the dismissals were justified, but mishandled. With the support of Bush, Gonzales has rejected bipartisan calls to resign.

Rep. Chris Cannon, a Utah Republican, said unless Democrats produced evidence of wrongdoing, “It is time for the majority to stop swaggering its power in this Congress, to clothe itself in prudence and to back off this pointless constitutional showdown.”


  1. geyser

    What is Miers? Is she still working in the White house? Just what is her position that she can be ordered by the president, what to and what not to do?
    She is referred to as Bush’s former White House councel. As I have been told many times, If I have nothing to hide, I should not care if my phone is tapped, in the same vane, if Ms. Miers has nothing to hide, why is bush telling her not to answer any questions? Does she have something to hide, does bush? What is bush afraid of, is there a Dark, Deep secret no one should hear and know? When will the Democrats stop being afraid of bush and put the Impeachment procedings into motion. At the very least, let’s make these last months as uncomfortable for him, as he made over the previous six years plus, for us.

    Taking One Day at a Time

  2. SEAL

    Rep. Chris Cannon, a Utah Republican, said unless Democrats produced evidence of wrongdoing, “It is time for the majority to stop swaggering its power in this Congress, to clothe itself in prudence and to back off this pointless constitutional showdown.”

    By Bush ordering her not to appear and she refusing to appear it is longer a political matter but a legal one. Both of them have refused to obey the law. Like the man said, that’s a felony for Bush and contempt of congress for her. Congress has no alternative but to file impeachment against Bush and send the Marshalls for her.

    Bush lost all credibility when he agreed to allow her to be questioned, not under oath without the threat of perjury. In so doing he waived separation of powers.

  3. KayInMaine

    It should be duly noted that Miers is the same US Supreme Court nominee who decided a few days ago to not show up to court after she was subpoenaed. Scary, huh? It’s no different than Bush’s Justice Dept. using their 5th Amendment right to not answer questions in court.

    We have a criminal White House on all levels starting from the US Supreme Court down….


  4. Arlo J. Thudpucker

    The inherent contempt process is more likely to be used. It cuts Gonzales’ corrupt D o J out of the loop, with the House handling the arrest and trial.

    Remember, Bush wanted to submit Meiers name as an SC candidate.

    Even the mouthbreathers wouldn’t bite on that one.


    Arlo J. Thudpucker

  5. gene

    As I said in reference to another article, Bush and Cheney have already become dictators. Joe (clueless) public just doesn’t know it yet. Martial law is just around the corner and I’m ready. Just let someone come on my property illegally. I will go down fighting if it comes to that. Congress remains a bunch of helpless whoring scum bags.

  6. Wayne K Dolik

    Just send the Sargent of Arms and arrest the woman. Then have a trial and send her to Gitmo until 2008. Nuff said.

  7. bryan mcclellan

    Chimp is afraid Harpyette will disclose how much baby oil and KY was used in the W.H. each time mr gannon visited. Indict,Impeach,prosecute,and incarcerate….

  8. nuQler Ostrich

    Quote”refused to appear — under orders from President George W. Bush”

    That, my fellow Americans, is a FELONY.

    Punishable by a fine and 5 years in the slammer.

    USC 18 Sec. 1505 and Sec 1515(b)