Rep. John Conyers spoke on ABC's This Week about the stonewalling of the White House on Congress's investigation of the firings of the US Attorneys (he wants the President to waive Executive Privilege). He said he wouldn't hold Sara Taylor in contempt to compel her to testify, since according to her attorney, she wants to testify. Duncan asks how the WH can prevent a former employee from testifying about anything? John said he'll press on with subpoenas if Bush refuses.
Conyers then told Stephanopoulos that he thought the White House would be more cooperative in light of the latest polls that say a majority of Americans want Cheney impeached while Bush is at almost 50%.
CONYERS: Well, I certainly wouldn’t hold her in contempt. And we’re in negotiations with Mr. Fielding in the White House. We’re hoping that as the cries for the removal of both Cheney and Bush now reach 46% and 58%, respectively, for impeachment that we could begin to become a little bit more cooperative, if not amicable, in trying to get to the truth of these matters.
This White House will never comply, Mr. Conyers. (Full transcript below the fold via ABC)
STEPHANOPOULOS: You've asked the president -- you're asking the president to waive executive privilege in this case on the pardons. You've also asked him to waive executive privilege as you investigate the firing of those U.S. attorneys. And you've given the president a 10 a.m. deadline tomorrow to come forward with those documents.
But The Washington Post reports this morning that the White House is going to deny that request. They say that they're not going to turn over the documents you've requested or the detailed justification for the executive privilege claims. So what's your response going to be?
CONYERS: Well, I'm glad The Post finds out about what the president plans to do before anybody just gives us a call. We're going to pursue our legal remedies to press forward with the subpoenas. I don't think, if this is correct, we don't have any other choice.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So that means holding the White House in contempt of Congress?
CONYERS: Well, yes. It means moving forward in the process that would require him to comply with the subpoenas like most other people.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So how will you do that, sir? Will you actually introduce that resolution, put it forward for a vote in your committee and then on to the floor?
CONYERS: Well, look, you're telling me what The Post told -- the president told The Post. I would rather comment more fully on that after I find out what they're going to do. I don't want them to be infuriated because I said what I'm going to do if they don't do something else. What I've got before me right now are Wednesday hearings before our full committee on the question of this Libby commutation. But we also have outstanding subpoenas for materials and records and persons from the White House that are still being resisted in the case of the nine attorneys who were fired for what appears to be reasons that they weren't prosecuting Democrats vigorously enough on alleged election fraud, and that they were being -- some were being too severe on Republicans in terms of wrongdoings that they had encountered.
STEPHANOPOULOS: One of those individuals is the former White House deputy political director, Sara Taylor. Her lawyer wrote a letter yesterday saying that she wants to testify, but the White House won't let her. In that case, who would you hold in contempt, the individual or the White House? Her lawyers think she wants to testify.
CONYERS: Well, I certainly wouldn't hold her in contempt. And we're in negotiations with Mr. Fielding in the White House. We're hoping that as the cries for the removal of both Cheney and Bush now reach 46 percent and 58 percent, respectively, for impeachment that we could begin to become a little bit more cooperative, if not amicable, in trying to get to the truth of these matters.
We have so much more work to do, George, as you know. And we keep getting stalled. They keep pressing us. We're seeking cooperation. This is not partisan in any way whatsoever. I would have the same attitude if it were a Democratic president.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman, we're just about out of time. But I'm surprised you put impeachment on the table there. Are you open to pursuing that?
CONYERS: No, I didn't put impeachment on the table. I was just telling you that 46 percent of the American people polled want Bush impeached, and 58 percent want Cheney impeached. I'm saying...
STEPHANOPOULOS: But not you?
CONYERS: They're saying that we could -- we could move -- no, well, if I -- if I wanted impeachment, I would probably be on your program next Sunday.