Thursday, August 2, 2007

fred fielding -- on behalf of white house -- asserts "blanket" privilege re rove and jennings

huge surprise.

or, not.

leahy's reaction next.


August 1, 2007

Dear Chairman Leahy and Senator Specter:

As you are aware, Chairman Leahy on July 26, 2007 caused to be served two subpoenas on the White House: one for Karl Rove, Assistant to the President, Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor, and one for J. Scott Jennings, Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Political Affairs. Like the previous June 13 subpoena to former White House Political Director Sara Taylor, these subpoenas seek to compel on August 2, 2007 (1) the production of certain documents in the possession of Mr. Rove and Mr. Jennings related to the replacement of certain United States Attorneys and (2) the appearance for testimony by both Mr. Rove and Mr. Jennings. I write at the direction of the President to advise and inform you that the President has decided to assert executive privilege as to both the requested documents and testimony. Mr. Rove and Mr. Jennings have been informed of the President's decision to assert executive privilege and have been directed not to produce any documents or to provide any testimony covered by the assertion.

The President's actions today are consistent with his previous assertion of executive privilege over similar subpoenas for documents and testimony in this matter, for the reasons set forth in detail in my letters of June 28, 2007 and July 9, 2007 to Chairman Leahy and Congressman Conyers.

I attach for your reference a letter from the Acting Attorney General to the President, which informs him that "[ fJor the reaSons set forth in my June 27th letter, it is my legal judgment that executive privilege may properly be asserted with respect to documents and testimony subpoenaed from Mr. Rove and Mr. Jennings that concern the same categories of information described in that letter." Based upon the reasons set out in the Acting Attorney General's June 27, 2007 letter, the President remains committed to protecting the ability of future Presidents to ensure that the Executive's decisions reflect and benefit from the candid exchange of informed and diverse viewpoints and open and frank deliberations that such a privilege provides.

Based upon the advice of the Department of Justice, the President also has requested that I advise and inform you that Mr. Rove, as an immediate presidential advisor, is immune from compelled congressional testimony about matters that arose during his tenure and that relate to his official duties in that capacity. Accordingly, Mr. Rove is not required to appear in response to the Judiciary Committee subpoena to testify about such matters, and he has been directed not to appear. Copies of the supporting documents from the Department of Justice are attached.

It is regretted that the Committee has forced this action, as the President's offer of accommodation to you and to the House Judiciary Committee could have provided information being sought in a manner respectful of Presidential prerogatives and consistent with a spirit of comity. It is the President's continuing hope that the actions taken by the House Judiciary Committee and your Committee might be reconsidered and withdrawn, so that this constitutional impasse may be obviated.

[attached -- a letter from DoJ steven bradbury -- citing a rehnquist memo, but no case law, thus:

". . .Accordingly, we conclude that Mr. Rove is immune from compelled congressional testimony about matters (such as the U. S. Attorney resignations) that arose during his tenure as an immediate presidential adviser and that relate to his official duties in that capacity. Therefore, he is not required to appear in response to the Judiciary Committee subpoena to testify about such matters. . ."]

Respectfully yours,


Wordsmith said...

I get home from work around 10:30 pm or so each night (yeah, sometimes Sat&Sun!) and of course, I check The News. Imagine my surprise to see the headline - Executive Privilege Invoked.

It was fairly quiet from their front, hardly a peep - I mean, my hopes were almost up there. At least they didn't have far to tumble.

O'Reilly said...

Time to hold Jennings on inherent contempt and send a follow-up letter to Rove and Miers. BEFORE THE RECESS.

nolo said...

definitely before the recess -- o'reilly, but i'd like to see contempt resolutions, and for BOTH of them!

and wordsmith -- i think we need
them to tumble a bit more. . .

all the way to the d.c. city jail,
for contempt of congress. . .

p e a c e -- back into the
yearly kos sessions -- and offline!