D.C. showdown

Mar 12, 2008 at 12:00 am

News Hits is still nursing a grudge against Democrats who made big noise about the need to impeach George Bush when they lacked the power, then reneged once they gained control of Congress. At the top of that list would be Detroit Democrat John Conyers, chair of the House Judiciary Committee. But that open sore received a dab of salve Monday when word arrived that JC's committee filed a civil action in an attempt to enforce subpoenas issued to a pair of Bush cronies that keep trying to slither away from answering tough questions.

We're talking about White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers. Conyers has questions about the controversial firing of nine federal prosecutors in 2006. That scandal led to the resignation of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez. But the need to get to the bottom of the scandal — and to find if high-ranking members of the Bush administration ordered that the prosecutors get axed for either going after Republicans or not pursuing bogus cases against Democrats — remains.

Which is why Conyers wants Miers and Bolten to testify. Under oath. The lawsuit filed Monday is a consequence of new AG Michael Mukasey's refusal to take up the case. The White House response to the civil suit was typical, with Bush press secretary Dana Perino saying Congressional Democrats "continue to focus on partisan theater."

We think Conyers has his focus exactly where it should be: On protecting the Constitution. BushCo claims Bolten and Miers are shielded by "executive privilege." Conyers says bullshit, only he says it with a bit more eloquence than News Hits can muster.

"We will not allow the administration to steamroll Congress," Conyers said in a press release. "The administration's extreme claims to be immune from the oversight process are at odds with our constitutional principles on which this country was founded ..."

"I do not take this step lightly," he added.

But it is a step that needs to be taken.

News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Contact the column at 313-202-8004 or [email protected]