Bush won't let former aides testify on US Attorneys

President Bush has asserted executive privilege in order to prevent two former aides testify about the firings of several U.S. Attorneys.

The House and Senate Judiciary committees sought testimony from former White House counsel Harriet E. Miers and former White House political director Sara M. Taylor. But Bush said he directed both not to appear in public.

The White House also said it will not release further documents and said it would not explain in detail its executive privilege claims. Democrats said they might seek contempt of Congress charges.

Of the eight U.S. Attorneys who were fired last December, five came from states with significant Indian Country. All were prominent members of the Native American Issued Subcommittee, which was chaired by former U.S. Attorney Margaret Chiara of Western Michigan, who was among those ousted.

Chiara's predecessor in the post, former U.S. Attorney Tom Heffelfinger of Minnesota, was also targeted for removal because he spent "too much time" on Native American issues, a former Department of Justice aide testified.

In related news, Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah) called fired U.S. Attorney David Iglesias of New Mexico an "idiot" who deserved be fired because he was "clearly not competent to do his job." He based his remarks on Iglesias' "temperamental and puerile appearance" before a Senate committee, a spokesperson said. Iglesias is descended from the Kuna Tribe of Panama.

Get the Story:
New Privilege Claim by Bush Escalates Clash Over Firings (The Washington Post 7/10)
Bush Won’t Deliver Aides in Prosecutor Case (The New York Times 7/10)
Cannon rips fired U.S. attorney Iglesias as 'an idiot' (The Salt Lake Tribune 7/10)

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