Bush Withholds Documents in Attorneys Dispute

As promised, the White House has formally invoked executive privilege in a dispute with Congress over the controversy involving the firing of U.S. attorneys last year.

In a letter to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) — the chairmen of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees — the Bush administration said that it will not submit e-mails and other documents regarding the dismissal of eight federal prosecutors.

Writing on behalf of President Bush, Fred F. Fielding, the counsel to the president, said "that it is incorrect to say that the President's assertion of Executive Privilege was performed without 'good faith.'"

The memo also argued that promises from the judiciary committees to enforce their subpoenas "'[w]hether or not [they] have the benefit of the information'" suggests that the panels "have already prejudged the question, regardless of the production of any privilege log."

Fielding also extended the president's "request that further interbranch relations in this matter be distinguished by respect for the constitutional principles of both institutions and marked by a presumption of goodwill on all sides."

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