WH Gives Congress The Finger…Again
Just off the AP wire, via MSNBC:
“The doctrine of executive privilege exists, at least in part, to protect such communications from compelled disclosure to Congress, especially where, as here, the president’s interests in maintaining confidentiality far outweigh Congress’s interests in obtaining deliberative White House communications,” Fielding said.
“Further, it remains unclear precisely how and why your committees are unable to fulfill your legislative and oversight interests without the unfettered requests you have made in your subpoenas,” Fielding said. “Put differently, there is no demonstration that the documents and information you seek by subpoena are critically important to any legislative initiatives that you may be pursuing or intending to pursue.”
Game on with regard to protecting Rover’s behind. The fact that the US Attorney firings had their genesis in the White House, and that Congress has a duty to provide oversight as to whether or not it was politicization of the positions vis-a-vis Rove’s political department and their heavy-handed minion planting at the DOJ is apparently not something that Fielding recognizes as legitimate. Not exactly a shocker, is it?
Where this goes from here? Could be a court challenge — in the form of subpoenas being issued by Congress, and then the WH challenging their validity in court. What this ultimately means: the Bush Administration is trying to run out the clock without anyone getting their hands on Rove’s copious RNC Blackberry files. Where’s a whistleblower when you need one?
(H/T to Stephen Parrish for the link.)
UPDATE: Raw Story has a statement from Sen. Leahy:
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) slammed President Bush’s move.
“This is a further shift by the Bush Administration into Nixonian stonewalling and more evidence of their disdain for our system of checks and balances,” he said in a statement released to RAW STORY. “This White House cannot have it both ways. They cannot stonewall congressional investigations by refusing to provide documents and witnesses, while claiming nothing improper occurred….Increasingly, the President and Vice President feel they are above the law – in America no one is above law.”
“The President’s response to our subpoena shows an appalling disregard for the right of the people to know what is going on in their government. The executive privilege assertion is unprecedented in its breadth and scope, and even includes documents that the Adminstration previously offered to provide as part of their ‘take it or leave it’ proposal. This response indicates the reckless disrepect this Administration has for the rule of law. The charges alleged in this investigation are serious – including obstruction of justice and misleading Congress – and the White House should be as committed to this investigation as the Congress. At this point, I see only one choice in moving forward, and that is to enforce the rule of law set forth in these subpoenas.”