Waxman threatens AG with contempt unless he gets FBI's Cheney transcripts
Nick JulianoPublished: Tuesday July 8, 2008
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) says his committee will vote next week to hold Attorney General Michael Mukasey in contempt if the Bush appointee continues to refuse to hand over transcripts of an FBI interview with Vice President Dick Cheney.
Waxman says the interview transcript is vital to the Oversight Committee's investigation of the outing of former CIA agent Valerie Plame. In a letter to Mukasey (.pdf), Waxman noted that Cheney's former aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby told the FBI it was "possible" that Cheney told him to expose Plame after her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, publicly undercut the administration's claim that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa.
"The arguments you have raised for withholding the interview report are not tenable," Waxman told Mukasey. "When the FBI interview with the Vice President was conducted, the Vice President knew that the information in the interview could be made public in a criminal trial and that there were no restrictions on Special Counsel Fitzgerald's use of the interview."
Mukasey has invoked executive privilege -- the Bush administration's go-to response to Congress's attempts at oversight -- in refusing to hand over transcripts of the interviews with the president and vice president. The interviews were conducted in relation to Patrick Fitzgerald's probe of Plame's outing. Libby was the only person convicted as a result of that inquiry, although it eventually revealed that Karl Rove and former State Department official Richard Armitage also had leaked Plame's name.