Waxman Threatens Mukasey with Contempt of Congress

Backs off request for Bush interview but says Cheney is key to Plame investigation.

The showdown between the Democratically controlled Congress and the Bush administration over copies of FBI interviews with President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney continues to heat up.

House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) threatened to hold Attorney General Michael Mukasey in contempt of Congress unless he produces some of the documents related to the leak of CIA officer Valerie Plame's name to the press, although the committee backed off one request in the interests of accommodation.

The committee June 16 subpoenaed copies of the interviews and the attorney general has not produced them and has not "asserted any privilege to justify withholding documents from the committee," Waxman wrote to Mukasey Tuesday, according to a copy of the letter supplied to B&C.

"In light of your actions," he wrote, "I am writing to inform you that the committee will meet July 16 to consider a resolution citing you for contempt of Congress. I strongly urge you to comply with the duly issued subpoena before then."

But Waxman added, "In deference to your concerns and in a further attempt at accommodation," he would not seek the Bush interview "at this time," while insisting that the interview with Cheney "needs to be produced."

Waxman pointed out that former Cheney chief of staff Scooter Libby told the FBI it was "possible" that the VP told him to reveal Plame's identity, making that interview crucial to the committee's investigation.