Judiciary Chairmen Leahy, Conyers Seek Basis For President's Executive Privilege Claim

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on July 1, 2007

Press release, June 29, 2007: “Senate and House Judiciary Chairmen Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) sent a letter to White House Counsel Fred Fielding, responding to the President’s executive privilege assertion over documents relating to the US Attorney investigation. Leahy and Conyers reiterated their concern that the President’s sweeping assertion was unprecedented. They also demanded the White House “immediately provide us with the specific bases for your claims regarding each document withheld via a privilege log…and a copy of any explicit determination by the President with respect to the assertion of privilege.”
Related news and documents:

  • AP: Senator Patrick Leahy Pledges to Take White House Subpoena Dispute to Court if Necessary
  • Meet the Press’ transcript for July 1, 2007, July 1: “Speaking to NBC’s Tim Russert on ‘Meet the Press,’ Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., leaves open the possibility of contempt of Congress charges against the White House stemming from ongoing investigations by the Judiciary Committee.”
  • Definition: “Contempt of Congress is defined in statute, 2 U.S.C.A. § 192, enacted in 1938, which states that any person who is summoned before Congress who “willfully makes default, or who, having appeared, refuses to answer any question pertinent to the question under inquiry” shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a maximum $1,000 fine and 12 month imprisonment. Before a Congressional witness may be convicted of contempt, it must be established that the matter under investigation is a subject which Congress has constitutional power to legislate. Generally, the same Constitutional rights against self-incrimination that apply in a judicial setting apply when one is testifying before Congress.”
  • beSpacific postings on U.S. Attorney firings
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