Monday, July 9, 2007
So, the White House and Congress apparently are heading for a constitutional confrontation over Congressional subpoenas mandating testimony from former White House counsel Harriet Miers and others about the firing of the U.S. attorneys. Well, it's about time. How much disrespect can either of these branches of government take from the other? Bush doesn't want his people spilling the beans on what happened with the stonewalling, and Congress doesn't want government employees thinking they can do whatever they want with no oversight. There really is no issue over whether Bush could fire the U.S. attorneys -- they serve at the pleasure of the president. Simple. The problem is that members of the White House staff and Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, the president's longtime pal, apparently were less than truthful when they testified before Congress the past few months. There is a word for lying under oath -- perjury -- and any lawyer worth anything knows there are consequences for doing this (think Bill Clinton, if you have any questions). Maybe the White House and Congress will negotiate an end to their disagreement like they usually do when questions like this come up, because the White House cannot possibly win this fight. Congress pays the bills and Congress gets to decide what happens. The Constitution is very clear on this. There is no such thing as executive privilege, it's a creation of the courts and it works sometimes. But like with Nixon, what the president does is public and needs to remain public.