Evan Perez reports on the link between J. Steven Griles guilty plea and Congress’s confrontation with the White House over executive privilege.
If there’s any doubt about the importance of getting a record of Senate investigative interviews, consider the case of J. Steven Griles.
A transcript of the Senate interview is what helped get Griles in trouble. (See the plea agreement.) Former White House aide David Safavian found himself in similar hot water, and was convicted earlier this year on charges that included lying to Senate investigators.
House and Senate committees have approved subpoenas to try to compel public testimony, but officials are trying to negotiate a compromise to avoid a legal confrontation. President Bush staunchly defended his proposal and accused Democrats of trying to go on a “fishing expedition” with their threats of subpoenas.
Some Republicans find the White House’s stance hard to defend. Sen. Arlen Specter (R., Pa.) is among those trying to get the White House to at least allow a record of the interviews in order to help the Senate complete its investigation into the ouster of eight U.S. attorneys.