"Please understand, Senators, that I have the utmost respect for this committee. And a contempt citation is not something that I take lightly. To the contrary, if a court ultimately determines that Congress' need for the information outweighs the president's assertion of executive privilege, I would welcome the opportunity to answer your questions on the U.S. attorneys matter.
"Until that time, however, I am compelled to abide by the president's directive, particularly given my status as a current White House employee. In light of these considerations, as well as a desire to be as consistent as possible and avoid even the appearance of selectively answering questions, I will be unable at this time to answer any questions concerning White House consideration, deliberations or communications related to the U.S. attorneys matter, regardless of whether specific documents or conversations may already have been discussed publicly by others. To do otherwise would directly violate the president's order."