White House Conference Call on Executive Privilege

Rick Moran
Early this afternoon, I participated in a blogger conference call with a high level Administration official who briefed us about the White House position on Executive Privilege and related matters, including the contempt citations issued last Wednesday by the House Judiciary Committee.

The senior Administration official in charge of the briefing called the contempt citations an "extraordinary act," unprecedented in the history of the country. Congress had never attempted a contempt citation against anyone on the President's staff. He pointed out that what made the charges even more outrageous was the extensive cooperation by the White House in their probe of the firing of the 8 US Attorneys.

He pointed out that they had released 8500 pages in documents and made senior administration officials available several times to testify. They had even offered to allow access to senior White House staff in an interview setting, the oath not being administered. This way, the principle that Congress cannot compel the president's people to testify remains while giving Congress access to people who can further their investigation. Congress refused the offer. 

Executive privilege is very strong in this case given the fact that only the President has the right to hire and fire US Attorneys. The senior official pointed out that the entire matter was an effort by the Democrats in Congress to embarrass the Administration.

For more on the conference call, see Ed Morrissey's piece.
Early this afternoon, I participated in a blogger conference call with a high level Administration official who briefed us about the White House position on Executive Privilege and related matters, including the contempt citations issued last Wednesday by the House Judiciary Committee.

The senior Administration official in charge of the briefing called the contempt citations an "extraordinary act," unprecedented in the history of the country. Congress had never attempted a contempt citation against anyone on the President's staff. He pointed out that what made the charges even more outrageous was the extensive cooperation by the White House in their probe of the firing of the 8 US Attorneys.

He pointed out that they had released 8500 pages in documents and made senior administration officials available several times to testify. They had even offered to allow access to senior White House staff in an interview setting, the oath not being administered. This way, the principle that Congress cannot compel the president's people to testify remains while giving Congress access to people who can further their investigation. Congress refused the offer. 

Executive privilege is very strong in this case given the fact that only the President has the right to hire and fire US Attorneys. The senior official pointed out that the entire matter was an effort by the Democrats in Congress to embarrass the Administration.

For more on the conference call, see Ed Morrissey's piece.