ABC's World News only network news broadcast to report on subpoenas for former Bush aides


Of the three network evening news broadcasts on June 13, only ABC's World News reported on the June 13 subpoenas issued by the House and Senate judiciary committees to two former aides to President Bush, former counsel Harriet Miers and former political director Sara Taylor, for their testimony about the firings of former federal prosecutors. During the June 13 broadcast of World News, ABC News legal correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg described the issuance of the subpoenas as "the most significant clash between the White House and Congress since President Bush took office."

Neither NBC's Nightly News nor the CBS Evening News covered the story, although both found time to report that NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. is switching teams and that Don Herbert, television's "Mr. Wizard," had died.

From the June 13 edition of ABC's World News:

CHARLES GIBSON (anchor): Back to the U.S., on Capitol Hill, Democrats moved closer to a constitutional showdown with the White House. The House and Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenaed the president's former counsel, Harriet Miers, and his former political director, Sara Taylor, demanding that they testify about the firings of eight former federal prosecutors. And we're joined now by our legal correspondent, Jan Crawford Greenburg. So, Jan, how significant is this?

GREENBURG: Charlie, this is the most significant clash between the White House and Congress since President Bush took office. Congress is using force. This is not a request, it's a demand. And now the White House has to decide if it's going to go along or meet that force with force by asserting executive privilege.

GIBSON: Well, if they exert executive privilege, they then might refuse to testify. Right?

GREENBURG: That's right. And then, the ball is back in Congress' court. It can try to hold Harriet Miers and Sara Taylor in contempt of Congress. And that will trigger the entire legal battle. And if we look back historically, that's when administrations have caved. The pressure from subpoenas and contempt charges have just been too much. It's more of a political battle than a legal battle.

GIBSON: These are the first two officials to be subpoenaed. Is it possible that somebody higher up, even Karl Rove, could be subpoenaed to come up in Capitol Hill?

GREENBURG: Absolutely. And that's what the White House is so worried about. They believe that Miers and Taylor are the first and that Karl Rove will be next. And that's why they believe they may have to strongly assert executive privilege and stay firm.

GIBSON: All right. A showdown in the offing. Jan Crawford Greenburg in Washington, thanks.

Posted In
Government, Cabinet & Agencies, Ethics, The Presidency & White House
ABC World News Tonight
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