White House counsel Fred Fielding has just sent a letter to Patrick Leahy, John Conyers, and other members of Congress investigating the U.S. attorneys affair. Fielding is offering to let White House officials testify, but under conditions that Democrats in Congress seem sure to reject. The key graphs:
In response to the invitations for interviews extended by the Committees, I am prepared to agree to make available for interviews the President’s former Counsel; current Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor; Deputy Counsel; and a Special Assistant in the Office of Political Affairs. We are prepared to agree to the following terms, which, considering applicable constitutional principles relating to the Presidency and your Committees’ interests, we believe are fair, reasonable, and respectful. We believe that such interviews should be a last resort, and should be conducted, if needed, only after Congress has heard from Department of Justice officials about the decision to request the resignations of the U.S. Attorneys.
Such interviews may cover, and would be limited to, and subject of (a) communications between the White House and persons outside the White House concerning the request for resignations of the U.S. Attorneys in question; and (b) communications between the White House and Members of Congress concerning those requests. Those interviews should be conducted by both Committees jointly. Questioning of White House officials would be conducted by a Member or limited number of Members, who would be accompanied by committee staff. Such interviews would be private and conducted without the need for an oath, transcript, subsequent testimony, or the subsequent issuance of subpoenas. A representative of the Office of the Counsel to the President would attend these interviews and personal counsel to the invited officials may be present at their election.