The legal conflict between Congress and the White House is heating up considerably as the House Judiciary Committee launched citations for contempt of Congress against two senior Bush aids. Chief of Staff Josh Bolton and former Senior Counsel Harriet Miers will undergo the contempt proceedings according to a House Judiciary Committee vote of 22-17, along strict party lines, following Bush’s statement last week that he will not allow members of his administration to undergo prosecution by the justice department. White House spokesman Tony Snow responded with, “This is pathetic,” and appealed to Congress to attend to its legislative duties and stop playing sheriff.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi says, “The contempt proceedings are part of a broader effort by House Democrats to restore our nation’s fundamental system of checks and balances.”
If Mr. Bolton and Ms. Miers were to be prosecuted for contempt, they could each face up to a $100,000 fine and a year in jail. It is almost certain that the justice department will honor Bush’s statement and reject Congress’ request to prosecute the two aids.
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