It's official: The White House is invoking executive privilege over the planned testimony of Harriet Miers, the former White House counsel, and Sara Taylor, the former White House political director. Both women, each of whom left the administration this year, have been subpoenaed by Congress to testify about their involvement in the controversial firings of several U.S. attorneys.
In late June, the White House invoked the same privilege when it refused to hand over documents related to the firings. Today, in a letter to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich. -- the chairmen of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, respectively -- White House counsel Fred Fielding scolds the committee, referring to the "preordained futility of any White House compliance with this demand."
"[T]he President feels compelled to assert Executive Privilege," Fielding writes, "with respect to the testimony sought from Sara M. Taylor and Harriet E. Miers covering White House consideration, deliberations or communications, whether internal or external, relating to the possible dismissal or appointment of United States Attorneys, including consideration of possible responses to congressional and media inquiries on the United States Attorneys matter. ... The President has instructed me to notify you and the counsel for Ms. Taylor and Ms. Miers of his decision and to inform counsel of his direction to Ms. Taylor and Ms. Miers not to provide this testimony."
Update: This post originally said that Miers and Taylor had both been subpoenaed by the Senate Judiciary Committee -- in fact, Miers' subpoena came from the House Judiciary Committee.