Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Arlen Specter to White House: "Let's Make a Deal"

From TPMmuckraker:
Here's Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Arlen Specter (R-PA) on the floor of the Senate today making an offer to the White House for a compromise:

The standing offer from the White House is that congressional investigators interview White House aides about the U.S. attorney firings behind closed doors, with no oath or no transcript. Democrats have rejected that, and today the chairmen of the House and Senate judiciary committees issued subpoenas for former White House counsel Harriet Miers and Karl Rove's former top aide Sara Taylor.

Specter said that he'd spoken to the current White House counsel Fred Fielding today about the subpoenas for Taylor and Miers. Specter went on to muse about a possible compromise. He'd prefer that there be a public hearing and that the hearing be under oath, but said that's not necessary, given that it's a crime to lie to investigators, even if it's not under oath. But Specter said there needs to be a transcript -- otherwise it would be much more difficult to hold an aide to account for lying.

So if the White House offers to hand over Taylor and Miers for private interviews with a transcript (but no oath), Specter would agree. And given that a court battle between Congress and the White House is likely to drag on for months upon months, you can bet that Democrats would give such a deal serious consideration.

But before any of that happens, the White House has to give ground -- something they haven't done since Congress started knocking on the door in March. Will the subpoenas change that?