Harriet Miers rejects subpoena compliance deadline, shakes off 'contempt' threats
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Former White House Counsel Harriet Miers has again rejected calls from the House Judiciary Committee to comply with a subpoena for her testimony on the firing of 9 US Attorneys in 2006 and 2007. The Committee had set a deadline of 5 PM for Miers to explain how she would comply with the subpoena.
"In light of the continuing directives to Ms. Miers and as previously indicated to your Committee, I must respectfully inform you that, directed as she has been to honor the Executive privileges and immunities asserted in this matter, Ms. Miers will not appear before the Committee or otherwise produce documents or provide testimony as set forth in the Committee's subpoena," wrote Miers' attorney, George Manning, in a letter delivered Tuesday to Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
A copy of the letter was sent directly to RAW STORY.
In his letter, Manning suggested that the prohibition on Miers' subpoena compliance was 'unequivocal.'
"The correspondence communicating these unequivocal directives has been previously provided to the Committee," he wrote. "The Subcommittee has demanded that Ms. Miers do precisely what the President has prohibited her from doing."
Conyers had set 5 PM, July 17, as the deadline for Miers to make her intentions known about complying with the committee's subpoena. The Judiciary Committee had warned last week that it would contemplate other actions, including criminal contempt proceedings, if Miers failed to comply with the subpoena.
In a statement released late on Tuesday afternoon, Rep. Conyers said the committee's next move was being planned.
"The subcommittee has overruled Ms. Miers' claims of immunity and privilege," he said. "Her failure to comply with our subpoena is a serious affront to this committee and our constitutional system of checks and balances. We are carefully planning our next steps."
But even if contempt charges were being planned, Miers appeared ready to stand up to the possibility.
"In fact, the cases cited in your letter confirm that the contempt statute is inapplicable to Ms. Miers," Manning wrote in the letter to Conyers. "None of these cases involves an assertion of Executive privilege and immunities at issue here. More importantly, as your letter acknowledged, these cases hold that the contempt statute does not apply where a witness has an 'adequate excuse.'"
Manning argued that Miers did in fact have such an 'adequate excuse' against complying with the subpoena, and that she also was not acting 'willfully' in contempt of Congress.
Manning's letter to Conyers can be downloaded at this link.