Playing chicken with the wrong folks

The White House no longer gets to decide which documents to provide and which not to provide to Congressional investigations into possible corruption in the White House.

Somebody needs to tell the Bush & Co. that when they mess with the Congress now they’re messing with bulldogs, not lapdogs. So Fred Fielding needs more time to decide whether the White House is going to provide documents and “allow” testimony in an inquiry into possible obstruction of justice by senior officials in the White House? Well, while he’s thinking, both Senate and House Judiciary are going to be issuing subpoenas.

Just to make this an extra-special mistake, Fielding apparently welsched on a promise to provide an answer by today:

Linda Sanchez:

The White House is playing a dangerous game of chicken. The House Judiciary Committee has been operating in good faith to get to the bottom of this growing scandal, and Chairman Conyers has shown particular restraint in working towards voluntary cooperation.

Today, however, the White House has chosen to ignore the deadline for information on its role in firing federal prosecutors, after publicly stating a commitment to finding the truth. This commitment – like the Bush Administration’s ever-changing version of what actually happened – seems to have a very short shelf-life.

We will not stop our investigation until we know who ordered the purge of federal prosecutors, why they did it, and who is trying to cover it up. The White House can’t ignore this investigation.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: