Waxman Issues Contempt of Congress Threat Against Mukasey

Michael Mukasey could face a contempt of Congress citation if House Oversight Committee Chairman Henry Waxman does't get what he wants from the attorney general.

Rep. Waxman, D-Calif., is upset with Mukasey because the nation's top cop has not produced a report Waxman is demanding about the CIA leak investigation. The report is about an interview of Vice President Dick Cheney done by the Justice Department as it investigated the case of the release of CIA employee Valerie Plame's name.

"The committee cannot complete its inquiry into this serious matter without the report of the vice president's FBI interview," Waxman wrote in a letter Tuesday to Mukasey.

Waxman said that his committee will be meeting July 16 to consider forwarding a resolution to charge Mukasey with contempt — a court-enforceable action, although one unlikely to take hold before Mukasey's boss, President Bush, leaves office next January. To prove contempt, the full House must first authorize the resolution, and then a federal prosecutor — which would have to come from Mukasey's Justice Department — would have to push the charges in court.

Mukasey already told House investigators earlier this year he will not prosecute contempt charges filed against White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers. They were cited in refusing to testify in a probe over politicization of Justice Department hiring.

Waxman's committee issued a subpoena to Mukasey on June 16 for the report on Cheney and other documents. The demand is part of an ongoing investigation into the leaking of Plame's identity in 2003, shortly after her husband disputed the Bush administration's claims that Iraq was seeking nuclear material in Niger.

The Justice Department's initial investigation by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald led to perjury charges against Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. He was convicted, but President Bush commuted his sentence last year.