House Dems Moving Towards Contempt Vote

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Better late than never. Three weeks ago, we reported that the House leadership seemed to be wavering in its pursuit of contempt citations for White House chief of staff Josh Bolten and former counsel Harriet Miers. Both of them, remember, refused to even show up in response to a House Judiciary Committee subpoena relating to the U.S. attorney firings.

But now things seem to be moving along again. The Politico reports that vote counting has begun and quotes a House aide as saying that a vote is likely in the next couple of weeks.

The committee passed the resolutions in July, and once the House votes on them, they would be referred to the U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C. What happens then will be, to say the least, interesting. Michael Mukasey was a noncommittal on that question during his confirmation hearing last week. And the Miers and Bolten contempt citations aren’t likely to be the only ones.

The Dems are apparently confident that they could easily pass the resolutions despite no likely Republican crossovers. For his part, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has put the emphasis on institutional integrity, rather than subjecting Harriet Miers to a frog march:

Conyers said the contempt battle was not aimed at seeking criminal sanctions against Bolten and Miers personally, but would nonetheless surely spark a long legal fight over the reach of executive privilege.

“Remember – no handcuffs,” Conyers said in an interview Thursday, noting that contempt of Congress is a misdemeanor.