White House Rebuffs Congress in Firings Inquiry

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The White House announced today that it was invoking executive privilege to reject subpoenas for internal documents that Congress is seeking in its investigation into the firings of nine federal prosecutors last year.

The White House counsel, Fred F. Fielding, made clear that the Bush administration would not release documents from two senior officials — Harriet E. Miers, the former counsel to the president, and Sara M. Taylor, the director of political affairs — and that it would not allow them to testify before Congress. The White House has rejected previous requests from the Senate and House judiciary committees to interview presidential aides, saying instead that it would allow interviews in private if no transcripts were kept.

“It is with much regret that we are forced down this unfortunate path which we sought to avoid by finding grounds for mutual accommodation,” Mr. Fielding said in a statement. “We had hoped this matter could conclude with your committees receiving information in lieu of having to invoke executive privilege. Instead, we are at this conclusion.”

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