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White House and Justice Face New Subpoenas

UPDATED AND BUMPED: The White House has asserted executive privilage in refusing to comply with the Senate 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 House and Senate 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.

(original post begins here)

White House and Justice Face New Subpoenas
Published: Jun 27, 07 09:16 PM

BBC reporting:

The US Senate has issued a subpoena ordering the White House to give up documents related to its surveillance of domestic terror suspects.

The Senate Judiciary Committee asked the Bush administration to give up the papers as part of its inquiry into the controversial spying programme.

The administration has refused a series of requests to release the documents.

The president rejects claims that he broke the law by ordering surveillance without first securing warrants.

The programme, authorised after the 9/11 attacks, enabled the government to monitor the overseas e-mail and telephone communications of Americans suspected of ties to terrorists.

While the president says his wartime powers allowed him to authorise surveillance without the need for a warrant, critics say he violated Americans' civil liberties.

The secret spying programme became public in 2005.

The White House's past refusal to provide information to the American people on this issue has only served to widen the credibility gap of the White House.

July deadline

The Senate Judiciary Committee's subpoenas target the White House, Vice-President Dick Cheney, the National Security Council and the Department of Justice.

Their intention is to shed light on any discussion that may have taken place within the administration on the legality of the spying programme.

"Our attempts to obtain information through testimony of administration witnesses have been met with a consistent pattern of evasion and misdirection," the Senate Committee's chairman, Patrick Leahy, says.

"There is no legitimate argument for withholding the requested materials from this committee."

The White House has until 18 July to comply with the demand, according to the Democratic-led Senate committee.

It is unclear whether it will do so, or mount a legal challenge to the subpoena.

"We're aware of the committee's action and will respond appropriately," a White House spokesman told the Associated Press news agency.

"It's unfortunate that congressional Democrats continue to choose the route of confrontation."


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Comments (10)

Allen:

I can hear the screams and cries of outrage in 2009 if a Demo wins the White House and does the same crap that this Administration is doing. However, instead of Clinton did it, it will be Bush did it.

kim:

The Judiciary Committee Dems will abandon this tactic when they see that it is hurting Dem credibility more than Bush. What price US Attorneys, and I can't wait until they present to the American people the NSA crap.
===================

kim:

This is a loser for the Dems. Had they not backed Joe Wilson, twice, and fallen in love with the madman Fitz, they might have a chance, but Plame is about to blow up, spectacularly, in their faces.

So if they'd run a legitimate investigation in the first place, they'd have a little credibility for another. Instead? Well, Jay Rockefeller, and John Kerry made this bed for you. Lie in it. Emphasis on the 'lie' part.
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kim:

And what about the US Attorney business. Big scandal, huh? The American people are unimpressed. And I told you that was a set-up from the gitgo by McNulty.

The new tactic is to stonewall the Dems over obviously political, and overconfident, investigation tactics. The Dems are now too smart to give another Goodling immunity. Boy, did that backfire.

It may end up at the SCOTUS, which will have the spectacle of Fitzgerald and Walton to wonder about by then, too. They might not come down, Constitutionally, on the idea that the Senate Judiciary Committee should have such influence on a part of the executive branch as has had this one on this Justice Department.
=============================

Lee Ward:

If it does got to court I suspect it won't end up at the SCOTUS before the election, and instead this carnival of lies and deceit will be center-ring entertainment from March, 2008 onward, through election day.

Kim,

Regardless of how well scandal A or B plays with the public it is the duty of Congress to provide oversite over our government. If Bush et al refuse to explain why they fired USA's or why they apparantly bypassed the FISA statutes then Congress should put as much pressure on the Bushies as they can in order to find out the truth.

jim:

This is a loser for the Dems. Had they not backed Joe Wilson, twice, and fallen in love with the madman Fitz, they might have a chance, but Plame is about to blow up, spectacularly, in their faces.

How does the White House refusing to obey the law, have anything to do with Plame??

Kim, do you or do you not think think the White House should obey the law?

ke_future:

which law, jim? and is it a constitutional law? remember, just because congresses passes something doesn't make it legal.

jim:

The law of freakin' subpoena power. You know, the one that says you have to answer a subpoena.

That's the law I'm referring to.

I guess it'll all get worked out in the courts now. That is, unless Cheney decides to assert he's not a member of the Executive Branch again.

Maybe he'll say he's actually a member of a branch that's too secret to reveal.

kim:

jim, do you, or do you not, think the White House should obey the Senate Judiciary Committee?
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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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