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Wednesday is CONTEMPT DAY!

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PalJoey
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Wednesday is CONTEMPT DAY!#1
Posted: 7/25/07 at 11:07am
And after this, they'll STICK it to Gonzales too!

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House Democrats Push Contempt Citations

House Democrats Offer Contempt of Congress Citations Wednesday Against 2 Presidential Aides

By LAURIE KELLMAN The Associated Press

WASHINGTON

House Democrats proposed a contempt citation Wednesday against two White House aides who have refused to comply with subpoenas on the firings of federal prosecutors.

Democrats argued that Congress has nothing to lose by forcing a constitutional showdown with the Bush administration over the protracted controversy that has engulfed the Justice Department and jeopardized Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' job.

"If we countenance a process where our subpoenas can be readily ignored, where a witness under a duly authorized subpoena doesn't even have to bother to show up, where privilege can be asserted on the thinnest basis and in the broadest possible manner, then we have already lost," House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., said. "We won't be able to get anybody in front of this committee or any other."

Republicans said Democrats couldn't win this fight, noting the White House has offered to make top presidential aides available for private interviews about their roles in the firings. Republicans also suggested that the Democrats' rejection of the offer leaves only one reason for the dispute: politics.

"If the majority really wanted the facts, it could have had them," said Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas.

The White House has said that Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former legal counselor Harriet Miers, among other top advisers to President Bush, are absolutely immune from subpoenas because their documents and testimony are protected by executive privilege.

Democrats reject that claim and had drafted for a vote Wednesday a resolution citing Miers and Bolten with contempt of Congress. That would be a federal misdemeanor punishable by up to a $100,000 fine and a one-year prison sentence. If the measure wins support from a majority of the Judiciary and the full House, it would be advanced to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia a Bush appointee.

[more at link]
2 Bush Aides to Face Contempt Citations
Updated On: 7/25/07 at 11:07 AM
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PalJoey
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re: Wednesday is CONTEMPT DAY!#2
Posted: 7/25/07 at 11:15am
DailyKos has a handy summary of what can happen from here.

In sum, the options (in no particular order) are these:

1. Try to negotiate a settlement acceptable to both the Congress and the White House

2. Roll the dice on statutory contempt and see what the U.S. Attorney does

3. Use the inherent contempt procedure, either after statutory contempt has failed, or as a concurrent threat to encourage the U.S. Attorney to move

4. Create some new procedure legislatively, and hope it stands up to court challenges from the "administration" when Congress actually tries to use it

5. Move to impeach, whether the target be Gonzales (as the U.S. Attorney's boss), Bush (for misapplying executive privilege claims), or Cheney (if Congress believes it has established a connection between him and this particular obstruction, which to this point they apparently do not, despite Senator Whitehouse's revelations yesterday)

6. Do nothing, and hope some future administration does the same thing but is in an even weaker position politically when it does so, and can be brought to heel

One potential downside to keep in mind regarding the above options, particularly numbers 2-4: the Bush "administration" may also attempt to claim the president has the right to pardon anyone charged with contempt. Will that work? For statutory contempt, most likely yes.

For inherent contempt, most likely no -- though you can expect the opposite to be asserted, too, if it comes to it. For some new procedure? Well, we'll have to wait and see, though a smart approach would be to define any jail time involved as being analogous to that involved in civil (i.e., coercive) contempt.
Contempt vote in the House today
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PalJoey
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re: Wednesday is CONTEMPT DAY!#2
Posted: 7/25/07 at 1:17pm
The House Judiciary Committee voted 22-17 to send the Democratic measure to the full House.
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re: Wednesday is CONTEMPT DAY!#3
Posted: 7/25/07 at 1:51pm
Gonzales Testimony was a low point in Ameican History. I can not see how Republicans can possibly support this man! If the Attorney General is unable and unwilling to give direct truthful answers, what in the world is he doing heading the JUSTICE department? The Ashcroft hospital room visit is horrifying- to think someone has made John Ashcroft look prinicpaled!!
No good can possibly come from using this vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit. You should get off of it and warn others away. You should make sure your children and grandchildren know what a corrupt and morally bankrupt institution it truly is.
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pab
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re: Wednesday is CONTEMPT DAY!#4
Posted: 7/25/07 at 1:57pm
"Smart! And into all those exotic mystiques -- The Kama Sutra and Chinese techniques. I hear she knows more than seventy-five. Call me tomorrow if you're still alive!"
Updated On: 7/25/07 at 01:57 PM