BREAKING: Bush blocks Miers from appearing before House Judiciary Committee, contempt charges possible
After the Senate Judiciary Committee heard from former top Karl Rove aide Sara Taylor, the House Judiciary Committee announced that the White House has asked former Counsel Harriet Miers to not even appear before a similar hearing in the firing of 8 US Attorneys on Thursday.
The refusal to appear could open Miers to criminal contempt charges when the panel convenes tomorrow, according to a letter sent to her attorney.
"We are aware of absolutely no court decision that supports the notion that a former White House official has the option of refusing to even appear in response to a Congressional subpoena," says the letter from Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.).
Taylor appeared Wednesday before the Senate panel and answered some of its questions while refusing to answer others on executive-privilege grounds. Miers refusal even to appear Thursday, the letter states, "could subject Ms. Miers to contempt proceedings."
"I am extremely disappointed in the White House's direction to Ms. Miers that she not even show up to assert the privilege before the Committee," Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the committee's chairman, said in a statement released to RAW STORY. "We understand that the White House has asserted privilege over both her testimony and documents, and we are prepared to consider those claims at tomorrow's hearing."
Miers attorney, George Manning, informed the panel his client would not appear in a letter sent late Tuesday evening.
"It is disappointing that Ms. Miers has chosen to forego this opportunity to give her account of the potential politicization of the justice system," Rep. Linda Sánchez, Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law chairwoman added. "Our investigation has shown - through extensive interviews and review of documents - that Ms. Miers played a central role in the Bush Administration's decision to fire chief federal prosecutors.
Sanchez still called on Miers to testify.
"I am hopeful that Ms. Miers will reconsider the White House's questionable assertion of executive privilege and give her testimony on the firing of U.S. Attorneys," she said.