Saturday, January 6, 2007
An earlier post (here) discussed recent hires into the White House counsel's office of lawyers with experience in white collar crime investigations. Now President Bush's chief legal counsel, erstwhile Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, has stepped down amid claims that the White House needs a lawyer with greater experience in dealing with investigations, something outside Miers' experience. A Washington Post story (here), citing the usual anonymous sources (this is Washington DC, where leaking is a contact sport), states that the Democrats takeover of Congress will result in a slew of investigations of the Administration, ranging from the war in Iraq to favoritism in the award of contracts and the like. With the power to subpoena comes the inevitable conflict over issues like Executive privilege and the attorney-client privilege.
The article notes that Senator Leahy, the new chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was denied documents related to advice given the President on acceptable interrogation methods related to the CIA's program of secret overseas prisons, with the Department of Justice asserting the memos were confidential legal advice. It will be interesting to see if Congress is as solicitous of the Executive's privilege claims as it is for the attorney-client privilege in the context of government investigations of possible corporate crime. (ph)