"We Will Have No Alternative..."

May 21, 2007
Blog
Today, Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers and Subcommittee Chairwoman Linda Sánchez sent a letter to White House Counsel Fred Fielding, offering the White House one last chance at cooperation with the Committee's ongoing investigation into the US Attorney firings and noted that the evidence to date indicated that the White House played a central role in the matter. Conyers and Sánchez warned that absent voluntary cooperation, the Committee would be left with no alternative but to resort to compulsory process to obtain the needed information:

May 21, 2007

Mr. Fred F. Fielding, Esq.

Counsel to the President

Office of Counsel to the President

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C. 20530

Dear Mr. Fielding:

We are today writing to express our extreme disappointment in the White House's rebuff of efforts by the Judiciary Committee to obtain voluntary cooperation with our investigation concerning the firing of at least nine U.S. Attorneys in 2006 and related matters. We write to make one last appeal for such voluntary cooperation.

As you know, we first wrote to you on March 9, 2007, in an effort to obtain your voluntary cooperation with our investigation. On March 21, 2007, the Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law voted to authorize the issuance of subpoenas for the testimony of former White House Counsel Harriet Miers, Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the President Karl Rove and Special Assistant to the President J. Scott Jennings and for documents in the custody or control of Deputy White House Counsel William Kelley, White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolton, Ms. Miers, Mr. Rove, Mr. Jennings and yourself. Pursuant to letters dated March 22, 2007, both Chairman Leahy and Chairman Conyers have rejected your offer of limited interviews with White House officials, to be conducted without a transcript and without the possibility of subsequent public testimony. Since that time, we have been willing and able to meet to consider other means of resolving our dispute, but we have received no response to our letters or proposals to you.

Even without a single document or witness interview provided by the White House, it is clear that the White House played an important role in the events concerning the U.S. Attorney controversy. In addition to the facts recited in Senator Leahy's letter of May 16, 2007, for example, we would note that Karl Rove has stated to White House officials that he relayed complaints about former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias to both the White House Counsel's Office and the Justice Department.1 Testimony from a Department official has revealed that Mr. Rove was specifically enlisted by several prominent New Mexico Republicans in their efforts to have Mr. Iglesias fired. Mr. Iglesias' name first appeared on the firing list just last November (see enclosed), but no one at the Department seems to recall who specifically suggested he be fired or why. In the context, it is becoming increasingly clear that we will not be able to complete our investigation absent full and complete cooperation from the White House.

We continue to be willing, as discussed in earlier letters and meetings with you, to work out a voluntary resolution of our requests for information from the White House. As previously explained, however, it would be constitutionally irresponsible to accept your "all or nothing" limitations that would completely preclude any access to on-the-record statements by current and former White House personnel or access to internal White House communications. If the White House persists in refusing to provide information to the House Judiciary Committee, or even to discuss providing such information, on a voluntary basis, we will have no alternative but to begin to resort to compulsory process in order to carry out our oversight responsibilities.

Sincerely,

____________________________________

John Conyers, Jr.

Chairman

____________________________________

Linda T. Sánchez

Chairwoman, Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law

Enclosure

cc: Hon. Lamar S. Smith

Hon. Chris Cannon

____________________________________

1 Ron Hutcheson, Marisa Taylor & Margaret Talev, White House says Rove relayed complaints about prosecutor, McClatchy Newspapers, Mar. 11, 2007