Wednesday, June 13, 2007

sen. patrick leahy: "fred fielding! -- you've got mail, part IX!" -- subpoenas-edition...

June 13, 2007
Fred Fielding, Esq.
Counsel to the President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. Fielding:

I have sent you a half dozen letters in the past three months seeking voluntary cooperation from the White House with the Judiciary Committee’s investigation into the mass firings and replacements of U.S. Attorneys and politicization at the Department of Justice. It is now clear from the evidence gathered by the investigating Committees of the Senate and House that White House officials played a significant role in originating, developing, coordinating and implementing the plan and the Justice Department’s response to Congressional inquiries about it. Yet, to date the White House has not produced a single document or allowed even one White House official involved in these matters to be interviews.

In the two and half months since Democratic and Republican members of the Committee rejected your “take it or leave it” offer of off-the-record, backroom interviews as unacceptable, you have not made any effort to work with us on a voluntary basis. In response to our efforts to narrow our dispute by gaining access to documents you agreed to produce as part of your offer for off-the-record interviews or to information that forms the basis of the President’s conclusion that no wrongdoing has occurred, you have merely restated your initial, unacceptable offer.

The White House cannot have it both ways -- it cannot withhold documents and witnesses and thereby stonewall the investigation and, at the same time, claim that the facts about the White House’s improper influence over federal law enforcement have not been revealed in detail. The White House’s continued stonewalling leads to the obvious conclusion that the White House is hiding the truth because there is something to hide. Because the White House has continued its refusal to provide the requested information to the Senate Judiciary Committee on a voluntary basis, I am issuing subpoenas.

Enclosed please find a subpoena for all documents in the possession, custody or control of the White House related to the Committee’s investigation into the preservation of prosecutorial independence and the Department of Justice’s politicization of the hiring and firing of United States Attorneys. The documents compelled by the subpoena include documents related to the Administration’s evaluation of and decision to dismiss former U.S. Attorneys David Iglesias, H.E. “Bud” Cummins, John McKay, Carol Lam, Daniel Bogden, Paul Charlton, Kevin Ryan, Margaret Chiara, Todd Graves, or any other U.S. Attorney dismissed or considered for dismissal since President Bush’s re-election, the implementation of the dismissal and replacement of the dismissed U.S. Attorneys, and the selection, discussion and evaluation of possible replacements. Among these documents are documents related to the involvement of Karl Rove, Harriet E. Miers, William Kelley, J. Scott Jennings, Sara M. Taylor, or any other current or former White House employees or officials in the firings and replacements as well as documents related to the testimony of Justice Department officials to Congress regarding this matter.

The subpoenaed documents include those related to communications between the White House and the Department or any third parties. These are documents that you previously agreed to produce in conjunction with the unacceptable off-the-record interviews in your March 20, 2007, letter to me, Chairman Conyers, Ranking Member Specter, Ranking Member Smith, and Congresswoman Sanchez of March 20, 2007. The subpoena also includes documents related to the “reviews by White House staff” that led the President to publicly conclude as of March 20, 2007, that there was no wrongdoing in the mass firings and replacements of U.S. Attorneys, including any information that has led the President to discount evidence gathered by the investigating Committees.

I am disappointed that I have to turn to this subpoena in order to obtain information needed by the Committee to learn the truth about these firings and the erosion of independence at the Justice Department. However, the evidence that White House officials were deeply involved leaves me know choice in light of your lack of voluntary cooperation. I look forward to your compliance with the Judiciary Committee’s subpoena by the June 28 return date.


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