White House: No sworn testimony from Rove, Miers

The president will speak on the prosecutor purge tonight.

Published March 20, 2007 7:58PM (EDT)

At the White House press briefing Monday, Tony Snow complained that people were jumping to conclusions about the level of cooperation Congress could expect from the White House as it investigates the prosecutor purge. "I think there's been sort of an expectation of brinkmanship, when, in fact, they haven't really had those conversations," Snow said. "What [White House Counsel] Fred Fielding will be doing is going up to the Hill and, in a spirit of cooperation, trying to work with members to come up with a way of getting them the information they need -- as we've said a number of times now -- in a manner consistent with presidential prerogatives."

So what happened today? Fielding sent members of Congress a letter saying that the White House would let them talk with Karl Rove and Harriet Miers about the prosecutor purge -- but that "such interviews would be private and conducted without the need for an oath, transcript, subsequent testimony, or the subsequent issuance of subpoenas."

Brinksmanship? You be the judge. Sen. Chuck Schumer says Fielding had made it clear that he didn't want to negotiate" whether Rove and others would have to appear in an open hearing or under oath. "That doesn't mean we're not going to try," the New York Democrat tells the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, the White House is announcing that George W. Bush will make a statement about the U.S. attorney scandal when he returns to Washington from Kansas City tonight. He won't be under oath, either.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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