George W. Bush - In Search Of The Holy Grail? genre: Polispeak & Snapshot Thoughts & Tongue-In-Cheek
In the wake of another scandal, President Bush has once again embarked upon a familiar path. He has drawn a line in the sand and challenged his detractors to force his hand. Despite the likelihood that his Attorney General (and no doubt others) is headed for dismissal or what will be characterized as his unfortunate resignation, the President's penchant for loyalty over substance is clouding his already questionable judgment skills in much the same manner as with the Rumsfeld departure. Frankly, he may be facing this dilemma because of the weight he places upon loyalty...regardless of propriety.
“Once executive privilege is asserted," Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority in a 2004 Supreme Court decision, “coequal branches of the government are set on a collision course."
And the White House and Congress seemed headed for just such a confrontation yesterday.
Democratic lawmakers are demanding public testimony under oath from White House aides about their role in the dismissals of eight United States attorneys, threatening to issue subpoenas.
The new White House counsel, Fred F. Fielding, offered a compromise yesterday. He said the White House would make several aides — including Karl Rove, the president’s chief political strategist, and Harriet E. Miers, Mr. Fielding’s predecessor as counsel — available to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees for informal private interviews. But the interviews would not be public or under oath, and no transcripts would be prepared.
As they continued with their public and private negotiations, both sides were mindful that Mr. Fielding possesses a powerful but dangerous weapon, the invocation of executive privilege, which is the constitutional equivalent of a declaration of war. In a letter to the two committees, he only alluded to it, in a reference to “the constitutional prerogatives of the presidency."
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- House Democrats voted Wednesday to give their leaders the authority to force White House officials to testify on the firings of U.S. attorneys.
The House Judiciary subcommittee vote was to authorize subpoenas. It does not mean that subpoenas will be issued; only that they could be if the four White House officials Democrats want to question do not voluntarily testify under oath.
But the act puts congressional Democrats on a collision course with President Bush. He said Tuesday that the four -- top political adviser Karl Rove, former White House counsel Harriet Miers, and their two deputies -- could be interviewed in the matter, but no oath could be administered and no transcript would be taken.
White House spokesman Tony Snow said later Wednesday that the administration's offer for interviews would be pulled if subpoenas were issued.
"The moment subpoenas are issued it means they have rejected the offer," Snow said.
[...] The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to vote on the authorization of subpoenas Thursday.
The committees are considering issuing subpoenas to force Rove, Miers and their two deputies to reveal what they knew about the reasons behind the firings of at least seven U.S. attorneys.
Bush said sworn testimony by White House officials would breach executive privilege -- the right of the president to have confidential communications with his staff -- and vowed Congress would face a legal fight if subpoenas are issued.
At some point, it is no longer possible to give this President the benefit of the doubt. Time and again he finds himself...by virtue of the actions of his appointees...in difficult straits. In my opinion, each time this happens, his credibility and his believability diminish and the polls seem to suggest that a large majority of Americans concur. Many have sought to portray President Bush as a man of limited intellectual capacity.
One could argue either side of that debate but more important is the fact that he remains fixated upon conducting his affairs as he sees fit...even if those actions blur the lines of authority...or even more concerning...breach the intent of the constitution. Unfortunately, for a man of his ilk...when confronted by such assertions...he simply believes his interpretation of his authority and that document far exceeds the worthiness of all others. Such is the conundrum we face until his second term expires. Here's hoping time flies!