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White House official says DOJ will not pursue contempt of Congress charges

[JURIST] A senior White House official said Thursday that the administration will not allow the Department of Justice to pursue any contempt of Congress charges [backgrounder; 2 USC Sec. 192] brought against White House officials in the congressional probe of the US Attorneys firing scandal [JURIST news archive]. The official said that Congress has no independent authority to force the US Attorney for the District of Columbia to refer charges to a grand jury once the executive has invoked executive privilege [JURIST report]. The comments, made under the condition of anonymity, came as House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) warned that White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten [official profile] could be cited for contempt of Congress [AP report] if Bolten did not immediately comply with subpoenas [JURIST report] in the ongoing investigation.

Last Thursday, a panel of the House Judiciary Committee voted to proceed with contempt proceedings [JURIST report] against former White House counsel Harriet Miers [official profile] after she ignored a subpoena ordering her to appear and testify before the committee. Friday's Washington Post has more.

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