On Administration’s Second Refusal To Provide Testimony From Joshua Bolten

The White House today responded to a July 31 letter sent by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) instructing White House Counsel Fred Fielding to advise the Committee when Joshua Bolten would comply with a congressional subpoena requiring testimony related to the firing of U.S. Attorneys.   A ruling by District Court Judge John Bates last week rejected President Bush's claim that senior White House officials are not required to comply with congressional subpoenas.  Today, White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers requested that Judge Bates stay the ruling until the case is appealed.  In a letter to Leahy today, Fielding stated that, despite the court's order, the White House would await the outcome of its appeal before "entertaining any requests for Mr. Bolten's compliance with the Senate Judiciary Committee subpoena."

“The Bush-Cheney administration continues to defy our validly issued congressional subpoenas for information relevant to the politicization of the Department of Justice by this White House. For more than a year, Karl Rove and the President’s chief of staff have hidden behind baseless and unprecedented claims of ‘absolute immunity’ not to appear in compliance with subpoenas. They continue to withhold critical evidence and testimony and to act as if they are above the law because they work at the White House. This claim was rejected by Judge Bates after months of consideration. Still, the White House refuses to appear or cooperate. This continuing contempt of Congress is another example of the lengths to which this administration will go and how it uses government lawyers to protect its actions from scrutiny and increase its power, rather than respect the rule of law.”

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