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The Nation | Nation in Brief / WASHINGTON, D.C.

Bolten could be cited for contempt

July 20, 2007|From Times Wire Reports

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee warned the White House that chief of staff Joshua Bolten could face a contempt citation if he does not comply with a subpoena for documents related to the firings of U.S. attorneys.

In a letter to White House counsel Fred F. Fielding, Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) gave Bolten until Monday to announce whether he will comply.

The Bush administration has declared that any documents between White House officials regarding the firings are protected by executive privilege, to preserve the flow of candid advice the president receives. A subcommittee of Conyers' panel ruled that the privilege claim in Bolten's case was out of order.

In an escalation of the dispute, the White House asserted that the Justice Department would not be allowed to pursue contempt charges initiated by Congress because the president has invoked executive privilege.

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