Rice Balks At House Subpoena

Friday, April 27, 2007

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice signaled yesterday that she is unlikely to comply with a subpoena issued by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, arguing that she has already answered questions about the administration's knowledge of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Rice, who was attending a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Oslo, told reporters there that she would be happy to respond in writing to the committee's demand but indicated that she would not agree to appear in person.

"I addressed these questions, almost the same questions, during my confirmation hearing," Rice said. "This is an issue that has been answered and answered and answered."

Also yesterday, another House panel investigating the firings of eight U.S. attorneys announced that it will authorize a subpoena next week for James B. Comey, a former deputy attorney general, who was at the department when top aides to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales began formulating the dismissal plan.

A subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee plans to formally approve a subpoena on Tuesday for Comey's public testimony on Thursday. A former U.S. attorney, Comey has publicly praised some of the fired prosecutors.

Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty is expected to be interviewed privately today by the staff of the House and Senate Judiciary committees about his role in the firings, and about his Senate testimony two months ago about the rationale for the firings. Some of his remarks were later contradicted by internal documents released by the Justice Department.

-- Paul Kane and Dan Eggen

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