Bush orders ex-counsel to defy congressional subpoena

The title says it all. Cite

How completely sad. I’m pretty anti-Bush so I am comfortable saying how predictable. But you know what? Arch conservative or way left liberal, it is humiliating to all Americans that the President would do this.

There is no much-vaunted Rule Of Law. Apparently the only Rule Of Law is that which eminates from Kennebunkport, Maine.



I’m confused. If she doesn’t work for him anymore, on what authority is Bush ordering her?

There was mention of Executive Privilege in another thread, but how that gets applied to this situation is completely beyond me. I thought it only applied to the President himself, and members of his administration he’s delegated stuff to.

Don’t know much about executive privilege, but solicitor-client privilege attaches during the relationship between the client and the lawyer, and survives even if the lawyer is no longer working for that client. It might be something similar here: Bush is claiming privilege for work done by Ms. Meiers while she was working for him, and that privilege doesn’t disappear just because she is no longer working for him.

But not every question asked would be covered under privilege, so wouldn’t she be breaking the law by not accepting the subpoena (Or wouldn’t Bush be breaking the law by ordering her to ignore it)?

Apparently he’s citing a Clinton-era EP document that says that Presidential advisors can’t testify re: matters that fall under executive priviledge since they are not subject to Congressional oversight. The only flaw with that is that administration of the justice system does fall under Congressional oversight. The committee she was asked to testify for is even named “Judiciary”.

Another woman (I forget who) testified yesterday and it was a fiasco, so perhaps that’s why they decided to pull the plug on Meiers.

“Yes, grandchild, there really was a time…once, long ago…when America was a Nation of Laws…”

Found out the woman’s name:Sara Taylor.


Let her refuse to testify and prosecute her for contempt of Congress- but don’t start the prosecution until Jan 21, 2009.

This thread is better suited for Great Debates.

I’ll move it for you.

Cajun Man
for the SDMB

Screw going the normal route on this (which involves referring the matter to the D.C District Attorney, who we know is in Bush’s pocket).

Congress needs to dust of their inherent contempt power, which does not require any action on the part of a corrupt Executive Branch. Send the Seargent At Arms over to Harriet Miers and frog march her into the chamber.

Here’s Taylor at probably her lowest point in her testimony. Ouch.

In the context of this discussion, and considering that George Washington invoked Executive Privilege, I have to wonder what exactly you’re remembering or how old you are.

It was my understanding that EP could extend to anyone who is a direct adviser to the president, but not to lower level staffers. Seems like HM would qualify. Maybe an actual discussion of the privilege might be more useful than throwing out silly little cliches.

The seminal case here is U.S. vs. Nixon. I think there are some big problems with applying it here though.

First of all, Burger assumed in the decision that secrecy for the evidence needed would be guaranteed by in camera review in the course of a criminal investigation by a special prosecutor. Clinton’s advisors initially testified in confidence as well in the course of the Whitewater investigation. Here, though, witnesses are asked to testify in public by Congress, where secrecy is not assured.

What is more, this decision explicitly recognizes an executive privilege right, though a constrained one:

So there is an executive privilege, and it takes some suing to lift it. Furthermore, it seems clear that it would certainly apply to Harriet Miers.

Outide of the White House things are far simpler, since all of the Cabinet departments and all Federal agencies were explicitly created by Congress, and thus Congress has power of subpoena, etc. there. That is why Congress can drag Alberto Gonzalez and all of his staff over the coals all it wishes.

But since the president derives his authority from the Constitution, and separation of powers is an explicit doctrine, privilege does apply to at least some extent.

Echoing John Mace’s comment, I’m not sure I understand the OP’s claim that the President’s directive is unambiguously illegal.

The Supreme Court, in US v. Nixon, confirmed that the privilege does exist (although they cautioned that it is not absolute, and they laid out some framework for determining its reach).

Cartooniverse, what specific parts of the Court’s guidance do you believe President Bush’s order violates?

Nixon v. United States:

No military or diplomatic secrets are alleged to be involved here, and I see no plausible argument by which Congress’ need for subpoenaed documents or testimony in exercise of its oversight function is any less compelling than the courts’ need for evidence in criminal trials.

I’m wondering, just how can the President “direct” Harriet Miers on this matter when she’s no longer a White House employee?

Isn’t it rather astonishing that Bush claims Harriet Miers doesn’t even have to show up? As you’re probably aware, even if someone does have a legitimate claim (like pleading the Fifth), they still are bound to show up and claim it in response to specific questions. Doesn’t this strike you as the act of an activist executive run amuck? Or is legal activism ok when its the Unitary Executive doing it?

That’s talking about a generalized privilege in a criminal trial. Not clear that that is operable in this case.