House Panel: White House Claims of Exec. Privilege “Unprecedented”

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October 14, 2008 3:38 p.m.

Oversight Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) came together today to criticize the White House for their use of executive privilege in the Valerie Plame leak scandal.

The two lawmakers called Bush’s refusal to disclose the report of the FBI interview with Vice President Cheney “legally unprecedented” and “inappropriate.” The committee seeks the document in order to establish the White House’s role in the leak of Plame’s name to the media.

From The Hill:

“The president’s assertion of executive privilege over this document was legally unprecedented and an inappropriate use of executive privilege” Waxman, the panel’s chair, and Davis, the ranking Republican, said in a joint report.

Although both lawmakers agree that the president’s action was “inappropriate,” they disagree over whether Bush had the right to invoke executive privilege. Waxman rejects the validity of the assertion while Davis supports the privilege.

Waxman has been attempting to get access to the document since December 2007, and the committee issued a subpoena for it on June 24th 2008.

The Justice Department declared it would “not provide or make available any reports of interviews with the president or the vice president from the leak investigation” in response to the subpoena.

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