Ruling: White House Aides Not Immune From Congressional Subpoenas

The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed Miers and Bolten in June 2007, after the White House declined several requests from Democrats for information. Several weeks later it cited both former aides for contempt, after the two failed to comply with the subpoenas.

In today's ruling, Bates noted that while the White House said in March 2007 that Bush "was not involved in any way" in the firings, it subsequently told the court that the record shows Bush was not involved "in decisions about who would be asked to resign," but "does not reflect that the President had no future involvement" in the matter.

In February 2005, shortly after President Bush's re-election, then-White House counsel Miers wrote to D. Kyle Sampson, then a Bush appointee at the Department of Justice, about whether all 93 U.S. attorneys should be replaced, according to White House documents provided to congressional investigators.

Sampson has since resigned.

Gonzales reportedly rejected the idea as too disruptive, but his White House-appointed adviser, Sampson, spent the next two years coordinating the dismissal of top federal prosecutors viewed as disloyal to the administration.

In a document he forwarded to Miers that was later released to congressional investigators, Sampson ranked all U.S. attorneys by "loyalty to the President and Attorney General." A year later, in an e-mail Sampson wrote Miers suggesting "a limited number of U.S. Attorneys could be targeted for removal and replacement." In that e-mail, he flagged seven candidates for dismissal, including four which were among those eventually fired.

Includes wire reports.

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