Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Bush Rebukes Congress on Aides' Testimony
Under growing political pressure, the White House offered to allow members of Congressional committees to hold private interviews with Karl Rove, the president's senior adviser and deputy chief of staff; Harriet E. Miers, the former White House counsel; and two other officials. It also offered to provide access to e-mail messages and other communications about the dismissals, but not those between White House officials.
Democrats promptly rejected the offer, which specified that the officials would not testify under oath, that there would be no transcript and that Congress would not subsequently subpoena them.
"I don't accept his offer," said Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee. "It is not constructive, and it is not helpful to be telling the Senate how to do our investigation or to prejudge its outcome."
Although the president said he did not approve of the way the Department of Justice had provided a shifting series of explanations for the sackings, he publicly reaffirmed his support for Mr Gonzales, reiterating that he still has confidence in his old friend from Texas.
An influential Republican with close White House ties said the attorney-general's position was not safe. He said Fred Fielding, the White House counsel, had not lined up a replacement for the attorney-general, but that he "knows all the potential choices", he said.
And then there's a mysterious 18-day gap in the chronology of the DOJ e-mails and other memos which were turned over Monday night to the House Judiciary Committee.