Leahy again demands documents, testimony

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Friday continued his drumbeat of demands for White House documents related to the firings of eight U.S. attorneys last year.

This time Leahy asked White House Counsel Fred Fielding to hand over any information that has led the administration to discount “troubling evidence” the congressional committees have uncovered in relation to the prosecutors' dismissals.

Leahy, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to Fielding asking him to justify White House officials’ repeated claims that nothing improper occurred with the firings in the face of mounting evidence in e-mails released by the Justice Department and testimony from Justice Department officials that some of the attorneys were dismissed for purely political reasons.

White House and Justice Department officials have not responded to numerous requests by congressional Democrats to hand over additional documents related to the firings, Leahy wrote.

“Despite the lack of cooperation, the President and White House surrogates assert publicly that there was no wrongdoing. Those assertions prompt me to ask for their basis,” Leahy wrote.

Leahy also wrote that President Bush “apparently” based his March 20 assertion that no one did anything improper on reviews by the White House staff. Earlier this week, Bush again said that there has been “no credible evidence of any wrongdoing.”

“The investigating Committees of the Congress would benefit from the reviews and investigations the Administration has conducted that have led the President to conclude that there has been no wrongdoing,” Leahy wrote, noting that this is the third letter he has sent the White House in the past few weeks seeking their cooperation.