July 25, 2007
BY FAX AND U.S. MAIL
Mr. Fred F. Fielding
Counsel to the President
Office of the Counsel to the President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
Dear Mr. Fielding:
I am enclosing with this letter a copy of the report and resolution approved by the House Judiciary Committee today recommending that the House of Representatives cite Joshua Bolten and Harriet Miers for contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with the subpoenas issued to them on June 13. As I explained before the Committee's vote, I regret that the Committee has had to take this step, and continue to hope that we can resolve with you the Committee's need for information from the White House in our investigation. Indeed, as the Congressional Research Service noted in a recent report, in each of the eight cases in which House Committees alone have found executive branch officials in contempt for refusing to comply with subpoenas based on executive privilege since 1975, there was "full or substantial compliance with the demands of the committee" after the vote.
Many possible paths are available to reach an agreement in this matter. Senator Leahy and I previously suggested that we begin by the White House providing copies of documents reflecting communications outside the White House, which was part of your offer in March. With respect to the Department of Justice, we and the Senate Judiciary Committee have conducted some 12 on-the-record interviews, and have subsequently called only one of those interviewees to testify before a Committee. Just recently, in an attempt to resolve executive branch confidentiality concerns about documents relating to the tragic death of Corporal Patrick Tillman, the White House made available over 400 pages of documents for staff review to assess relevancy and to narrow differences between the White House and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
As we have repeatedly explained, we stand ready to discuss these and all other possible constructive paths to resolve our need for information from the White House in the U.S. Attorneys matter. But make no mistake: If the White House continues to refuse to engage in any discussions beyond repeating its unacceptable "take it or leave it" offer, and if Mr. Bolten and Ms. Miers continue to refuse to comply altogether with our subpoenas, we will have no choice but to enforce those subpoenas by all appropriate legal means. In our system of government, no one is above the law.
John Conyers, Jr.
cc: The Honorable Lamar S. Smith
The Honorable Linda T. SÃ¡nchez
The Honorable Chris Cannon