On Air Force One, en route to Rhode Island.
Pony Makes It Clear That The White House Claim Of Executive Privilege Does Not Apply To The Testimony Of Harriet Miers Or Sara Taylor
Q The privilege applies to the document request, but what about testimony by Taylor and Miers?
MR. SNOW: We are responding only to the subpoenas which refer to document requests.
Q Tony, the arguments made by Fielding in the letter would apply also to this later request, right?
MR. SNOW: The Fielding letter replies only to the document requests — again, for those they needed a response today. There is an additional one where I believe Chairman Conyers, in the case of Harriet Miers, has a July 12th date. The President has instructed both Sara Taylor and Harriet Miers — that is, their attorneys — that he is asserting privilege and would want them to withhold any document production.
Q What about their testimony?
Q Yes, what does that mean for testimony?
MR. SNOW: That’s not one of the issues that’s raised by the subpoenas today.
Q It’s raised by their subpoenas, though — they’ve issued subpoenas.
MR. SNOW: Well, again, we aren’t talking about the subpoenas — I’m simply discussing — I’m not going to talk about testimony. I’m telling you what we are responding right now to the request for document production. That is what is in the subpoenas, but we’re responding —
MR. SNOW: Because what we’re doing is we’re responding to the precise subpoenas that we’re responding to today. They are only request for document production; that’s what we’re responding to.
Q Does that mean that you’ll respond —
Q For instance, is there a difference, though, as a principle —
MR. SNOW: It doesn’t mean anything. It just means —
Q Does it mean you’ll respond at a later date, or does it mean that you’re willing to let them testify?
MR. SNOW: It means that when we have subpoenas — we will respond to subpoenas appropriately and in due course, and that’s what we’ve done in this case. Again, the subpoenas we’re talking about today do not refer to testimony, they refer to document production.
Q Does that mean that the White House has given no instruction to Sara and to Harriet on whether they should agree to testify or not?
MR. SNOW: It’s in Fred’s letter. We have informed them that the President is asserting executive privilege and that they should not turn over documents.
Q I understand. That wasn’t my question. My question is what has the White House instructed them to do, in terms of testimony?
MR. SNOW: The White House is not instructing them. You can ask their attorneys.
Q So they’re free to testify if they want?
MR. SNOW: I’m not going any further. Again, I know you want to talk about testimony. We’re talking about document production today.
Pony Held This Gaggle Before The Spectacular Failure Of Chimpy’s Immigration Bill
Q On immigration, is the administration growing more concerned that the cloture will fail?
MR. SNOW: Well, we’ll find out. I mean, there’s going to be a vote within an hour or so. We’ll find out what’s going on.
Q I mean, is he on the phone on the plane, or has he done anything this morning?
MR. SNOW: Well, we have been in contact with members of Congress over the last couple of days, and the President has made it clear that this is very important to him. This is an issue that everybody agrees is of national importance, and therefore it is a key test of leadership to see if Congress can respond to something that the public has said overwhelmingly it considers a priority and needs addressing.
We All Know What Happened Next