House Committee to Vote on Criminal Contempt

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Despite the administration’s statements that a U.S. attorney would not be permitted to enforce a contempt citation from Congress, the House Judiciary Committee will vote Wednesday on whether to cite Harriet Miers and Joshua Bolten with statutory contempt, according to a senior committee aide.

“This is a step we have to take to continue the process,” the aide told me. “We’re obviously aware of The Washington Post’s story, and we’re reviewing all of the options that are available to us.”

According to the law, D.C.’s U.S. attorney Jeffrey Taylor is required to enforce Congress’ citation, but the administration has argued that such a citation against a current or former White House aide for asserting executive privilege is unenforceable. Despite that, however, it would still be up to Taylor to make the determination. A further complication is that Taylor might be forced to recuse himself from the proceedings, due to his ties to some of the central players in the U.S. attorney firings.

The committee also has the option of “inherent contempt,” which would result in a trial before Congress — but as the Post reported this weekend, such an option isn’t under “serious consideration” by Democrats.

See my post last week as for what might happen if Taylor were to refuse to enforce the citation.