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Now it’s Fred Fielding’s move. Congressional Democrats have always believed that the Justice Department’s plan to fire eight U.S. attorneys began in the White House, and last week they proved willing to take their investigation to its doorstep by subpoenaing two former Bush aides. The White House has yet to say whether it will assert executive privilege over the testimony sought from its former public affairs director, Sara Taylor, and former White House counsel and one-time Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers. But Fielding, the White House counsel, hasn’t budged from his first response to congressional inquiries in March. His position is simple: no transcripts, no oath and no public testimony — and any questions must be restricted to discussions between White House officials and the Justice Department. Internal White House deliberations are off-limits. Yet, many legal observers say, the subpoenas are more likely to force the White House to find some sort of middle ground — even if it takes a protracted legal fight to get there. “A lot of this on both sides is face-saving,” says Stanley Brand, a defense attorney who served as counsel to the House of Representatives during a major fight over executive privilege in the Reagan administration. “The question is going to be, can they fashion some sort of compromise?” Miers and her attorney, George Manning of Jones Day, did not return phone calls and e-mails. But Taylor’s attorney, W. Neil Eggleston, a former Clinton White House lawyer and now a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton, indicated in a statement that his client is interested in working with Congress. “She is hopeful the White House and the Congress are quickly able to work out an appropriate agreement on her cooperation with the Senate’s proceedings,” Eggleston said. Either way, congressional Democrats say they are dedicated to determining the answers to the fundamental questions: Who authorized the firings, and why were the U.S. attorneys put on the final list? “The breadcrumbs in this investigation have always led to 1600 Pennsylvania,” Rep. JohnConyers (D-Mich.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement. “This investigation will not end until the White House complies . . . so that we may get to the bottom of this.” INSIDE JOB? Congressional Democrats have known for months that White House officials played a role in developing the firing plan and Justice’s response to it. As early as February 2005, Miers asked D. Kyle Sampson — then the chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales — in an e-mail whether it was possible to fire all 93 of the U.S. attorneys nationwide.
Probe of U.S. Attorney Scandal Moves to White House
The congressional investigation into the firing of eight U.S. attorneys escalated last week with the authorization of subpoenas to two former White House officials. The probe is only likely to inch closer to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

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