The president gave Congress an ultimatum Tuesday regarding testimony in the U.S. attorney scandal: His aides will talk in private and off the record or not at all. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy balked at the proposal, setting up a possible constitutional showdown over executive privilege. Bush continued to dismiss the scandal, even as the Senate voted to require confirmation of U.S. attorneys.
AP via Yahoo!:
WASHINGTON—President Bush warned Democrats Tuesday to accept his offer to have top aides testify about the firings of federal prosecutors only privately and not under oath, or risk a constitutional showdown from which he would not back down.
Democrats’ response to his proposal was swift and firm. “Testimony should be on the record and under oath. That’s the formula for true accountability,” said Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Bush, in a late-afternoon statement at the White House, said, “We will not go along with a partisan fishing expedition aimed at honorable public servants. ... I proposed a reasonable way to avoid an impasse.”