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Mukasey Claims Executive Privilege

Attorney General Michael Mukasey pre-empted a contempt of Congress vote by the House oversight committee this morning by claiming executive privilege. Henry A. Waxman’s House oversight committee subpoenaed Mukasey to issue a ton of documents related to the Valerie Plame Wilson scandal, including the interview special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald had with Dick Cheney.

The oversight committee has spent a year trying to get its hands on interviews Fitzgerald had with Cheney and President George W. Bush about what Waxman calls "the despicable outing of Ms. Wilson." Fitzgerald is fine with the interviews being made public, but the Bush administration isn’t. Waxman called the executive privilege claim "ludicrous."

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) judged it "bizarre" for another reason. Cummings argued at an oversight committee business meeting this morning that Cheney can’t claim executive privilege because he’s announced he’s not part of the executive branch. "You can’t say you’re not part of the executive branch when it suits you," Cummings said. "But then say you’re in the executive branch when you don’t want to give documents about the Plame case."

Rep. Tom Davis the committee’s top Republican — who supports the White House on this – is now having a nasty fight with Waxman. The Streak will have more on this– and what happens next to Mukasey, in a moment.

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