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US House judiciary panel to vote on contempt citation against Miers, Bolten

[JURIST] US House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) announced Monday that the Committee will meet on Wednesday to vote [press release] on whether to proceed with contempt of Congress [backgrounder; 2 USC Sec. 192] citations against former White House counsel Harriet Miers and White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten [official profiles] for their refusal to comply with subpoenas [JURIST report] issued in the congressional probe of the US Attorneys firing scandal [JURIST news archive]. Conyers said the decision to move forward with contempt was a "reluctant but necessary" step to ensure that the executive branch will cooperate with congressional efforts to investigate alleged wrongdoing.

Miers, who was scheduled [press release] to appear before the committee on July 12, has repeatedly refused to testify [JURIST report], citing President George W. Bush's order that she not to cooperate with the investigation on the grounds of executive privilege [JURIST report]. Bolten has refused to turn over White House documents demanded by the Committee. Last Thursday, an anonymous White House official said that the administration will not allow the Department of Justice to pursue any contempt charges [JURIST report] brought against White House officials because it believes Congress cannot force the US Attorney for the District of Columbia [official website] to refer charges to a grand jury once the executive has invoked executive privilege. The Washington Post has more.

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