Just got off the phone with a spokesperson for the Senate Judiciary Committee. Contrary to the White House diktat yesterday that it was citing executive privilege in denying requests from Congress for the testimony of even ex-White House officials, she says that former White House director of political affairs and Karl Rove aide Sara Taylor will appear before the committee tomorrow. What happened, I asked. “She’s under subpoena,” committee spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said. Stay tuned.
Update: Muckraker Paul Kiel says likewise, House Judiciary committee chairman John Conyers is going to require former White House counsel Harriet Miers to show up at his committee and invoke privilege. He anticipates that Taylor plans to do the same thing.
Wednesday Morning Update: The AP says Taylor plans to follow White House direction to not answer questions about her role in the US attorney firings:
“While I may be unable to answer certain questions today, I will answer those questions if the courts rule that this committee’s need for the information outweighs the president’s assertion of executive privilege,” Sara M. Taylor, who left her White House job two months ago, said in remarks prepared for presentation to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
“Thank you for your understanding,” she added in the statement.
The Post reports that the Senate Judiciary Committee may not in fact be feeling so understanding:
A spokeswoman for Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) said the panel has questions that will not fall under that restriction. But committee Democrats made clear that they will not be satisfied with that and will press the White House to drop its assertion of executive privilege. The Senate could cite Bush or Taylor or both for criminal contempt, which would send the matter into the courts.
“I hope Ms. Taylor chooses to reject the White House’s insistence that she carry out their stonewalling and, instead, works with us so that we can get to the bottom of what has gone on and gone wrong,” Leahy said in a statement last night.