Bush won't release records of discussions with Miers
Risking a possible clash with the Senate, President Bush insisted Monday he will not turn over documents detailing the private advice that Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers has given him while serving in the White House.
With Miers' nomination facing continued opposition from conservatives, Bush sidestepped a question of whether the White House was working on a contingency plan for her withdrawal. At the same time, he was emphatic about not turning over papers relating to the "decision-making process, what her recommendations were."
"That would breach very important confidentiality, and it's a red line I'm not willing to cross," he said in an apparent reference to bipartisan requests from the Senate Judiciary Committee. Miers has held three jobs in the Bush administration. Currently White House counsel, she has regularly advised the president on a range of sensitive topics.
Bush's remarks drew a cautious response from Sen. Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican who chairs the Judiciary Committee. He told reporters the panel had requested "non-privileged documents" and said he was hopeful of finding common ground with the White House on the issue.
He followed up with a written statement for emphasis: "I believe that if Ms. Miers does well at her hearing that she can be confirmed without touching on the issue of executive privilege. The Senate has not asked for anything falling under executive privilege."
But Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, a Democratic member of the committee, said it appeared the White House was refusing to turn over documents that were not shielded by attorney-client or executive privilege.
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