Democrats drop demand for documents as prerequisite to confirming Bush AG nominee
Senate Democrats who bemoaned the White House's refusal to turn over subpoenaed documents in their investigation of the firing of eight US Attorneys won't block Bush's nominee for Attorney General, Michael Mukasey, despite the fact he won't promise to release the files.
Mukasey, the man Bush tasked to enforce the laws of the United States, has no said whether he'll allow Democrats access to files and email messages about the prosecutors' firings and legal justifications for Bush's warrantless wiretapping program.
In a public letter dated Tuesday and released Wednesday, Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy (D-VT) said he'd go forward with confirmation hearings regardless.
In the letter, Leahy said he'd hoped President Bush would "work with us to fulfill longstanding requests for information so that we could all agree about what went so wrong at the Department of Justice and work together to restore it" but instead "have left you to answer the unanswered questions and left longstanding disputes unresolved."
"Regrettably, the White House has chosen not to clear the decks of past concerns and not to produce the information and material it should have and could have about the ongoing scandals that have shaken the Department of Justice and led to the exodus of its former leadership," Leahy added. "Those matters now encumber your nomination and, if confirmed, your tenure."
The White House called Wednesday for swift confirmation of their nominee, and added that the only way to address the US Attorney scandal was to have someone new at the helm.
"Members of the committee have been outspoken about the vacancies [at the Department of Justice], and they have an opportunity to do something about it by confirming him swiftly," said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.
"The Senate Judiciary Committee has now received all of Judge Mukasey’s documents in preparation for a confirmation hearing,” she added. "I think there’s no reason to delay scheduling a hearing."
Democrats say the hearings were likely to begin by late October.