Conyers moves on contempt

Judiciary Committee to refer case against Miers, Bolten to full House.


Salon Staff
November 5, 2007 11:33PM (UTC)

The House Judiciary Committee will file contempt resolutions with the House clerk this afternoon, paving the way for a vote on whether to hold former White House chief of staff Josh Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers in criminal contempt of Congress for failing to comply with subpoenas in the U.S. attorneys probe.

The Judiciary Committee approved the contempt resolutions back in July, but chairman John Conyers has held on to them as he's tried to work out some kind of deal with the White House. In a letter sent to Fred Fielding today -- he says it's his ninth on the subject -- Conyers proposes another compromise solution: The White House turns over documents "reflecting communications between White House staff and persons outside the White House relating to the U.S. Attorney terminations and related matters"; the White House allows the committee's staff to review "internal White House documents relating to the same subjects," with an eye toward identifying some small number of those for production; and then the White House and the committee identify "mutually relevant present and former White House staffers" for on-the-record interviews, possibly forgoing the requirement that such interviews be conducted under oath.

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Conyers urges Fielding to accept the offer as a way to "avoid a constitutional confrontation," but it's possible that the White House can avoid such a confrontation by continuing to do nothing. Conyers may not have enough votes in the House to approve the contempt resolutions. And even if he does, it's far from clear that the Justice Department would allow the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia to pursue criminal-contempt charges anyway.


Salon Staff

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