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Does Michael Mukasey think that a U.S. attorney cannot enforce a citation of contempt from Congress against a White House official who's hiding behind executive privilege?
It's a key question for Harriet Miers, Karl Rove and current White House chief of staff Josh Bolten, who have all refused to testify to Congress or turn over documents relating to the U.S. attorney firings. Votes of contempt are probably on the horizon for at least those three. Such citations would be referred to the U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C., who would then either kick start a criminal case or refuse to enforce them.
Here's what Mukasey had to say:
Unlike the Justice Department under Alberto Gonzales, Mukasey told Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) that it's not a foregone conclusion. But he didn't seem to give Democrats much cause for optimism. The key issue, he said, is whether the U.S. attorney can find that the reliance on executive privilege was "unreasonable." He added: "I hope and pray for a lot of things, and one of them is that I won't have to make that decision."