Judiciary Committee Cites White House Aides for Contempt of Congress

Joshua Bolten with George W. Bush

Joshua Bolten and Harriet Miers

The New York Times has reported that Joshua Bolten and Harriet Miers now face Contempt of Congress charges:

“The House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines on Wednesday to hold President Bush’s chief of staff and the former White House counsel in contempt of Congress.

The issue now goes before the full House, where the Democrats who control the chamber suggested it would not be taken up until after the August recess.

In the debate before the 22-to-17 vote to pass the contempt resolution, Democrats on the committee firmly rejected the White House argument that the invocation of executive privilege blocked Congress from obtaining information from Harriet E. Miers, the former White House counsel, or Joshua B. Bolten, the chief of staff.

The Judiciary Committee had issued subpoenas seeking testimony from Ms. Miers and documents from Mr. Bolten as part of an investigation into whether there was any improper political influence in the dismissal of several federal prosecutors.

Representative John Conyers Jr., the Michigan Democrat who is chairman of the committee, said the action was needed “not only to gain an accurate picture of the facts surrounding the U. S. attorneys controversy, but to protect our constitutional prerogatives as a co-equal branch of government.”

Representative Lamar Smith of Texas, the committee’s ranking Republican, dismissed the contempt citation as part of a political game and a waste of public money. Citing administration officials’ comments about the dismissals, Mr. Smith said they demonstrated that “there was no evidence of wrongdoing” in firing the prosecutors. In the full House, the Democratic leaders made it clear that they fully intend to use their majority to vote the contempt citation in September unless the White House relents.”

Readers may access the full New York Times article here.

And The Washington Post reports today:

The House Judiciary Committee voted yesterday to issue contempt citations for two of President Bush’s closest aides, moving nearer to a constitutional confrontation with the White House over access to information about the Justice Department’s dismissal of nine U.S. attorneys.

The panel voted 22 to 17, along party lines, to issue citations to Joshua B. Bolten, White House chief of staff, and Harriet E. Miers, former White House counsel. Both refused to comply with committee subpoenas after Bush declared that documents and testimony related to the prosecutor firings are protected by executive privilege.

Readers can access the full Washington Post article here.

White House Aides Cited for Contempt of Congress

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