Bush Administration Preparing for New Scrutiny and Subpoenas by Congress
The Baltimore Sun Reported today that:
President Bush is bracing for what could be an onslaught of investigations by the new Democratic-led Congress by hiring lawyers to fill key White House posts and preparing to play defense on countless document requests and possible subpoenas.
Bush is moving quickly to fill vacancies within his stable of lawyers, though White House officials say there are no plans to drastically expand the legal staff to deal with a flood of oversight.
"No, at this point, no," Tony Snow, the White House spokesman, said recently. "We'll have to see what happens."
Snow rebutted the notion that Bush is casting about for legal advice in the wake of his party's loss of control of the Congress.
"We don't have a war room set up where we're ... dialing the 800 numbers of law firms," he said.
Still, in the days after the elections, the White House announced that Bush had hired two replacements to plug holes in his counsel's office, including one lawyer, Christopher G. Oprison, who is a specialist in handling white-collar investigations. A third hire was securities law specialist Paul R. Eckert, whose duties include dealing with the Office of the Special Counsel. Bush is in the process of hiring a fourth associate counsel, said Emily A. Lawrimore, a White House spokeswoman.
"Obviously, if we do have investigations, we'll have to make sure we have enough people to be prepared to answer questions that come our way," Lawrimore said. "As of right now, I wouldn't say it's anything special."
Republicans close to Bush say any such moves would not come until the White House sees how aggressive Democrats are in trying to pry the lid off the inner workings of the administration.
"They just think it's inevitable that there will be some investigations that will tie up some time and attention," said Charles Black, a strategist with close ties to the White House. But there's no panic in the ranks of Bush's team, he added. "They don't think they have anything to hide."
Bush still must do what he can now -- before Democrats take over the majority in Congress next month -- to prepare, legal specialists say.
The complete story can be found here: