[Letter to President George W. Bush from Attorney General John D. Ashcroft Regarding the Assertion of Executive Privilege with Respect to Prosecutorial Documents, December 10, 2001]   [open pdf - 65KB]

This letter from Attorney General John D. Ashcroft to President George W. Bush concerns the assertion of executive privilege with respect to prosecutorial documents. From the letter: "I am writing to request that you assert executive privilege with respect to memoranda from the Chief of the Campaign Financing Task Force to former Attorney General Janet Reno recommending that a Special Counsel be appointed to investigate a matter under review by the Task Force, memoranda written in response to those memoranda, and deliberative memoranda from other investigations containing advice and recommendations concerning whether or not particular criminal prosecutions should be brought. The Committee on Government Reformof the House of Representatives has issued subpoenas to me demanding these documents. The Department has gone to great lengths, consistent with the constitutional and statutory obligations of the Executive Branch, to accommodate the Committee's needs concerning the prosecutorial decisions that are the subject of these documents. The Department has provided briefings that included explanations of the reasons for the decisions, and we are willing to provide further briefings. The Committee has been unsatisfied with these accommodations, however, and has pressed for access to the documents themselves. I strongly believe that releasing or otherwise making these extremely sensitive prosecutorial decisionmaking documents available to Congress would compromise the ability ofthe Department of Justice to assist you in discharging your constitutional law enforcement responsibilities."

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U.S. Dept. of Justice: http://www.justice.gov/
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