Tons of news out of Washington this morning. Yesterday the House Judiciary Committee issued contempt citations to Miers and White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten for not dishing on why those U.S. Attorneys were fired. Miers could be found in criminal contempt of Congress, a federal misdemeanor punishable by a year in prison. But the Washington Post says it probably won’t come to that.
Previous contempt votes against officials in other administrations were settled by compromise.
Surely that won’t happen with this batch of Democratic leaders. What with their firm deadline for withdrawal from Iraq and their success with that immigration guest worker bill. The Miers issue will next be heard by the full House, most likely after Labor Day, which gives the White House plenty of time to argue Miers doesn’t have to say a word because she’s protected by executive privilege. Wonky side note to all this: should the contempt of Congress route fail, the House could try something called “inherent contempt.” Basically this means the House’s sergeant-at-arms (who’s that guy, by the way? and how could I get such a sweet title?) would arrest witnesses and haul them in for questioning without the cooperation of the executive branch. But, as the Post says:
Democrats have shown no appetite for the process, which has not been used since 1935.