Also, on Tuesday, a federal judge ruled that the Bush administration must turn over to President-elect Obama’s staff documents Bush has been withholding from Congress related to the White House’s role in the firing of the nine U.S. Attorneys.
Conyers’s committee has been pursuing testimony and documents from White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers about their involvement in the decision to fire the federal prosecutors, a move that a senior Justice Department official said was designed to remove U.S. Attorneys who were deemed not “loyal Bushies.”
President Bush has asserted executive privilege in blocking Bolten and Miers from testifying before Congress. Last week, a new set of House rules was passed reviving subpoenas issued during the 110th Congress. In addition to Miers, Conyers’s committee subpoenaed former White House political adviser Karl Rove.
Conyers also said he wants to find out “to what extent were President Bush and Vice President Cheney involved in the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson and its aftermath.”
Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Cheney’s chief of staff, was convicted of obstruction of justice and perjury in the Plame case, but his prison sentence was commuted by Bush. “There is considerable evidence that culpability for the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson and subsequent obstruction goes above and beyond Scooter Libby,” Conyers said.
Conyers subpoenaed documents last year related to the Plame leak, including closed-door testimony that Bush and Cheney gave to special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. But the Justice Department refused to turn over the materials.
“Given that so many significant questions remain unanswered relating to these core constitutional and legal matters, many of which implicate basic premises of our national honor, it seems clear that our country cannot simply move on,” Conyers said.
“As easy or convenient as it would be to turn the page, our Nation’s respect for the rule of law and its role as a moral leader in the world demand that we finally and without obstruction conduct and complete these inquiries. This can and should be done without rancor or partisanship.”