Separation of Powers

Ex-Aide: Bush and I Didn't Discuss Firings

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Former White House political director Sara Taylor testified today that she did not discuss the upcoming firings of federal prosecutors with President Bush.

“I did not speak to the president about removing U.S. attorneys,” Taylor said. “I did not attend any meetings with the president where that matter was discussed.” When asked if the president was involved in the firings in any way, she replied, “I don’t have any knowledge that he was.”

The statements were among the few revelations made as Taylor declined to testify about matters shielded by Bush’s claim of executive privilege, the Associated Press reports.

Taylor said in a prepared statement that she would not answer Senate Judiciary Committee questions about “White House consideration, deliberations, or communications, whether internal or external, relating to the possible dismissal or appointment of United States attorneys.” (See this earlier post for more information.)

Taylor also defended her former colleagues.

“I don’t believe there was any wrongdoing by anybody,” she said. “I don’t believe anybody in the White House did any wrongdoing.”

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., responded to Taylor’s decision on executive privilege with a challenge for her to cooperate.

“It is apparent that this White House is contemptuous of the Congress and feels that it does not have to explain itself to anybody,” Leahy said as he opened the hearing. “I urge Ms. Taylor not to follow that contemptuous position and not to follow the White House down this path.”

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