Immunity studiedin attorney firings
By WASHINGTON POST
Published April 18, 2007
WASHINGTON - The confrontation between Congress and the administration over the dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys escalated again Tuesday as Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee said they are weighing an offer of immunity to a potential key witness in the investigation.
At the same time, the Republican National Committee turned down congressional demands that it turn over e-mails related to the dismissals, angering House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr., D-Mich.
Frustrated by Monica Goodling's refusal to testify, committee Democrats said they may grant limited-use immunity to the former counsel to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
Such a grant of immunity, which would require the approval of two-thirds of the nearly 40-member panel, would free Goodling to speak about the plan to fire the U.S. attorneys and the dismissals' aftermath, without fear that prosecutors could use her testimony in a criminal proceeding. Goodling has invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself.
Conyers cited Goodling's dual role as Gonzales' aide and the Justice Department's liaison to the White House for the unusual immunity offer, saying she could "clear up the many inconsistencies and gaps surrounding this matter."
Conyers criticized the RNC for not handing over the e-mails related to the dismissals of the U.S. attorneys. The RNC deferred to White House requests that all documents from administration officials who used RNC e-mail accounts must first be reviewed by President Bush's lawyers.
[Last modified April 18, 2007, 02:33:43]
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