Bush Denies Congress Access to Aides
By LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press Writer
11:35 PM PDT, July 9, 2007, LA Times
WASHINGTON — President Bush directed former aides to defy congressional subpoenas on Monday, claiming executive privilege and prodding lawmakers closer to their first contempt citations against administration officials since Ronald Reagan was president.
It was the second time in as many weeks that Bush had cited executive privilege in resisting Congress’ investigation into the firings of U.S. attorneys.
White House Counsel Fred Fielding insisted that Bush was acting in good faith in withholding documents and directing the two aides — Fielding’s predecessor, Harriet Miers, and Bush’s former political director, Sara Taylor — to defy subpoenas ordering them to explain their roles in the firings over the winter.
In the standoff between branches of government, Fielding renewed the White House offer to let Miers, Taylor and other administration officials meet with congressional investigators off the record and with no transcript. He declined to explain anew the legal underpinnings of the privilege claim as the chairmen of the House and Senate judiciary committees had directed.
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