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Congress, White House Clash on Hearing Rules

President Bush and Sen. Patrick Leahy agree that Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers should speak to the Judiciary Committee. But they have differing views of how it should be done.
Win McNamee/Mark Wilson/Getty Images
President Bush and Sen. Patrick Leahy agree that Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers should speak to the Judiciary Committee. But they have differing views of how it should be done.

The White House and Congress squared off Tuesday over the dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys in 2006. The question is whether White House officials will testify voluntarily on their terms or under subpoena on Congress's terms.

The White House says it will make Karl Rove and former counsel Harriet Miers available to testify — but not under oath — about the firing of eight U.S. attorneys.

In a brief press appearance Tuesday afternoon, President Bush insisted that no one on his staff had done anything improper, including Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who has taken the blame for what he acknowledged as "mistakes" in the way the events were handled.

"We will not go along with a partisan fishing expedition aimed at honorable public servants," Mr. Bush said.

But Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has said in response to the White House's offer that testimony from administration officials "should be on the record and under oath. That's the formula for true accountability."

Lawmakers say they still have many questions about the firings, despite the release of documents intended to explain what happened. Late Monday, the Justice Department released thousands of pages of documents about the firings.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ari Shapiro has been one of the hosts of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine, since 2015. During his first two years on the program, listenership to All Things Considered grew at an unprecedented rate, with more people tuning in during a typical quarter-hour than any other program on the radio.
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