White House Expands Exec Privilege Claims

Congressional Dems face new obstacle in US attorneys probe
By Sam Biddle,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2007 5:00 PM CDT
White House Expands Exec Privilege Claims
President Bush waves as he walks from the Oval Office to the residence of the White House before his departure to Camp David, Friday, July 20, 2007, in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)   (Associated Press)

White House officials have made a broad new claim to executive privilege that would block the Justice Department from pursuing contempt charges initiated by Congress, the Washington Post reports. Citing a Regan-era legal opinion, they argued that "A US attorney would not be permitted to bring contempt charges or convene a grand jury in an executive privilege case."

The assertion is the latest in a constitutional grappling match between Congress and President Bush over the firing of 9 US attorneys late last year. It presents new obstacles for Democrats who've threatened to bring contempt charges against former White House officials who are defying subpoenas on the president's orders. (More White House stories.)

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