The heads of the Senate and House Judiciary committees have written a letter to the White House counsel demanding an explanation as to why exactly Bush is claiming executive privilege as defense against answering congressional subpoenas and warning that failure to answer their demand will be met with the full force of the law. The deadline they have given is July 9th.
``The veil of secrecy you have attempted to pull over the White House by withholding documents and witnesses is unprecedented and damaging to the tradition of open government by and for the people that has been a hallmark of the republic,'' Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., told Fielding.In a follow-up statement, White House spokesman Tony Fratto said:
They gave the White House until July 9 to furnish the factual and legal bases for the executive privilege claim and documentation that President Bush personally signed off on it.
Whether or not the White House meets the deadline, ``we will take the necessary steps to rule on your privilege claims and appropriately enforce our subpoenas backed by the full force of law,'' Leahy and Conyers wrote.
``If the committees just want the facts, then they should withdraw the subpoenas and accept the president's offer, instead of this continued pattern of gross overreach and confrontation,''Because, of course, we all trust White House officials to tell the truth in off-camera hearings with no oath and no official record!
This one's going to the Supremes, I guarantee it.