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Why Harriet??

We all know that Harriet was a no-show for her date with HJC on Thursday. We all know that Harriet refused to testify based on some new opinions issued by DOJ. But I’ve seen almost no discussion that explores why BushCo decided to take such an inflammatory approach with Harriet’s testimony.

It seems there are two likely answers to that question–or rather, questions that need to be answered:

  • Why did Bush choose to ratchet up the subpoena fight at this point in time–what events allowed or forced him to do so?
  • Why did Bush choose to draw the line at Harriet, rather than (say) Sara Taylor?

As is my wont, I’ll start with a chronology.

June 13: Harriet subpoenaed

June 27: Paul Clement issues opinion asserting executive privilege–but not immunity

June 28: Fred tells Harriet’s and Taylor’s lawyers that they cannot turn over documents; tells Conyers and Leahy the same

July 9: Conyers mentions impeachment on the Sunday shows in response to a question on testimony

July 9: Harriet’s lawyer tells HJC she will show up and testify (apparently verbally)

July 9: Harriet’s lawyer tells HJC she cannot testify (in writing)

July 10: Conyers and Sanchez attempt to reconfirm Harriet’s appearance

Unknown date: Harriet asks Fielding to provide an opinion on whether she has to show at HJC

July 10: OLC issues an opinion stating that Harriet has immunity from subpoena

July 10: Fielding relays that information to Harriet’s lawyer

July 10, 7:15 PM: Manning relays that information to HJC

The takeaway from the chronology is that there appears to have been some last minute maneuvers on July 10–ostensibly at the request of Harriet and her lawyer–that resulted in her no-show (as compared to Sara Taylor’s limited show-and-don’t-tell).

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