Bush Invokes Executive Privilege

Way to start the week with a bang:

President Bush invoked executive privilege Monday to deny requests by Congress for testimony from two former aides about the firings of federal prosecutors.

The White House, however, did offer again to make former counsel Harriet Miers and one-time political director Sara Taylor available for private, off-the-record interviews.

Great. That “private, off-the-record interviews” thing just keeps getting better and better. Especially from my perspective as a private citizen of the country by whom the president is employed and to whose private citizens he’s meant to answer.

[White House counsel Fred Fielding] was responding to a 10 a.m. EDT deadline set by the Democratic chairmen, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, for the White House to explain it’s privilege claim, prove that the president personally invoked it and provide logs of which documents were being withheld.

As expected, Fielding refused to comply. He said he was acting at Bush’s direction, and he complained that the committees had decided to enforce the subpoenas whether or not the White House complied.

“The committees have already prejudged the question, regardless of the production of any privilege log,” Fielding wrote. “In such circumstances, we will not be undertaking such a project, even as a further accommodation.”

Got that? Bush won’t even explain why it’s invoking privilege, likely because it does not have a legally valid basis for it in the first place. So their best defense is to accuse Congress of being prejudiced, despite the fact that Congress needs the information so that they can judge at all, prejudging having nothing to do with it. Of course, the White House knows full well that handing over the logs will mean they can’t continue to accuse Congress of a witch hunt, because Congress will either find something or not find something. And if they were going to not find something, well, why not hand the bloody things over and let’s be done with it?!

Meanwhile, let’s at least put impeachment back on the table, shall we, Dems?



Filed under 01_shakespeares_sister

20 responses to “Bush Invokes Executive Privilege

  1. larkohio

    He thinks he is king. We are neither surprised nor amused.

    So tired of W. now.

  2. Meanwhile, let’s at least put impeachment back on the table, shall we, Dems?

    We need some version of “Carthago delenda est” in this Congress–a congressperson willing to end every floor speech with the words “Bush and Cheney must be impeached.”

  3. How soon they forget.

    When the Republicans went after Clinton, they went after his executive privilege, specifically with regard to advice given to him by White House Counsel.

    Though I’m sure there’s some obscure provision in the Patriot Act that restores it.

  4. NameChanged


    All that keeps running through my mind is “Off with his head!”

  5. I hope they keep after Bush on this. Polls show most people are sick of the administration’s bullshit. They’ve got nothing to lose by exposing the crimes of Bush, Inc.

  6. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t executive privilege a binary option; you either invoke it fully or not at all? The president can’t cite executive privilege for sworn public testimony then turn around and say it’s okay if they talk in private and off the record.

    At least not in the real world.

  7. At least not in the real world.

    If one thing is clear after the last 6 years, it’s that the reality this executive inhabits and the one the rest of us live are completely different. About the only way that will change is if we go upside their heads and shake them out of it.

  8. Arkades

    I thought privilege could only be invoked to protect national security interests… not just any old ‘we don’t feel like sharing any info’ situation. Am I mistaken about this?

    ….because if I am, and the Executive branch only has to cooperate with the other branches whenever it suits their wishes to do so (and can change the rules in an instant by fiat), we really are *far* past the point where transparency and accountability are well and truly lost.

  9. (let’s see if this works; my prior attempt got rejected due to too many hyperlinks)

    I knew there was a court ruling:

    WASHINGTON (May 5) – In a setback for President Bill Clinton, a federal judge has ruled that White House aides may not claim executive privilege before the Whitewater grand jury looking into sex-and-perjury allegations against the president.

    Unless the White House appeals and wins, the decision means White House aides Sidney Blumenthal and Bruce Lindsey will have to appear before the grand jury and answer its questions.

    Lindsey is a lawyer and longtime friend of the president; Blumenthal was a sympathetic journalist before he joined the White House as a communications advisor.

    The ruling is under seal and the White House had no immediate comment on the decision, although sources said an appeal is likely. It is not believed that the ruling relates to the issue of whether Secret Service agents, who protect the president, can be called to testify.

    The White House had sought to protect the aides from having to testify because of their close relationship with the president.

    White House aides told The Associated Press that Clinton’s claim was limited and sought to prevent questions about White House strategy, not Clinton’s relationship with ex-White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

    And a ruling that Secret Service agents could not refuse to testify, a decision upheld by the appeals court.

    The executive privilege claims were dropped, and Sidney Blumenthal testified, but White House Counsel Bruce Lindsey pursued the appeal of Judge Johnson’s decision denying him attorney-client privilege. He lost.

    Handy Clinton timeline here.

    So, as it stands, it looks like the decisions are not going Bush’s way, but in the end, that probably doesn’t matter, since he’s bought and paid for the Supreme Court.

  10. mac

    It is so predictable that it bores me to even comment..

  11. Conyers is the man. If anybody has the stick-to-it-iveness to stick it to the administration on this one, it’s him and Leahy. That position is completely untenable — there is a Lanny Breuer quote out there somewhere about how the Clinton White House at the very least would say WHY it wouldn’t reveal certain information.

    And I’m especially up on Conyers right now because it looks like he’s about to hold hearings looking into bad credit card practices that target merchant account holders. It’s an issue I work on professionally, so he’s making me even happier than usual.

  12. When he rejects comparisons to Nixon, he looks sillier by the day.

  13. christine

    OT – Interrobanger,
    The bank fees for credit cards isn’t new and yes it does need attention. The fees are why many places do not accept Discover cards. Discover charges something like 3-4% for their use.

  14. Christine:

    Not to get too far OT but you’re right. But even the 2% (on average) charged by Visa/MasterCard is much higher than they pay in most of Europe and Australia. This is why you see those “minimum purchase” signs for using credit cards — the fees are so high and cuts so far into the margins, if you buy something for less than a dollar on credit, the store might actually LOSE money.

    But back on topic — is Bush more like Nixon or Warren Harding? I guess I have to go with “both.”

  15. NameChanged

    Why aren’t the Dems foaming at the mouth for impeachment? This is much worse than consensual sex acts in a closed room. This is much worse than denying an affair in court. Perjury is bad. Taking the Constitution and wiping your ass with it is far worse. I am sick of the administration’s continual “nyah, nyah” to the public. They do it because they can. It is far beyond time to at least try to show them that we are sick of it. Grr.

  16. Constant Comment

    Every day at WH press briefings, the MSM stenographers should demand to know what it is they’re hiding. Seriously, they keep asking Tony Snow that on a daily basis.

    Is is 2009 yet?

  17. Pingback: The Heretik : It’s a Privilege

  18. mamajane

    What’s really pissing me off about this is how the MSM is parsing it. All weekend long I’ve seen headlines and news tickers about this, and they all read something like “White House Declines Congressional Requests For Testimony”. Declines? Requests? Jesus fucking Christ on a cracker, Congress issued SUBPOENAS, not requests, and by the rule of law they can’t be “declined”, right? Any legal scholars out there who can help me with this? Gotta’ love how our liberal media is sticking it to the Bushies yet again.

  19. segmentation fault

    what the fuck is executive privilege? nothing in the constitution says anything about it.

  20. Typos-R-us

    executive privilege? Look under ‘Separation of powers’;


    Like most liberals, you are clueless about how our government actually works.
    Congress, the Executive and the Courts are EQUAL. That means none of them can tell the others what to do. Checks and Balances. When there is a disargeement between Congress and the Executive over who has the hand on an issue, the Courts decides. Since the Courts are selected by the Executive and approved by the Congress, when the courts get out of wack, they are adjusted by replacing the justices. The SC will rule in favor of the Executive, since there is absolutely nothing in the constitution that allows Congress to go snooping around the White House. If Congress gets really upset, they can impeach the Supreme Courts Justices, which will open up a can of worms that nobody wants to see opened.
    I see a lot of liberals are talking about using violence to get their way.
    Bring it on. If you guys want to put aside the ballots for a while and switch to bullets, that is fine with fly-over America. NRA vs Coalition to Ban Handguns. Works for me.
    Before you try hitting me upside the head with a 2 by 4, check with your Proctologist and see what he will charge to remove it.

    3 things the Left needs to get up to speed on.
    1.) the USA is a REPUBLIC, NOT a Democracy. Congress is elected by the States. Your Congresscritter represents the STATE. The States select the President, too.
    2.) Withdrawal from Iraq WILL NOT end the War. Iraq is a part of the war. The technical term is ‘theater’, although the Soviet Union used the term ‘front’, which might be a better word.
    3.) A lot of Conservatives are happy about withdrawing from Iraq. That is because if we cut and run, New York will get nuked. That means two birds with 1 stone. With New York a glowing crater, the Left in America will be a thing of the past. Then we can nuke about 50 million muslims and that should pretty much end the war. So yeah, bring the troops home. Throw me in that brier patch.

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