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New Testimony on Fired Federal Prosecutors

Former White House aide Sara Taylor testified before the Senate Wednesday on the firings of eight federal prosecutors in the Bush Administration. The NewsHour reports on new testimony from the trail.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    Now in Congress, the continuing confrontation over the fired prosecutors investigation. NewsHour congressional correspondent Kwame Holman has that story.

  • KWAME HOLMAN:

    Sara Taylor, the one-time political director at the White House, came before the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning under force of subpoena to talk about her involvement in the firings of nine U.S. attorneys last year.

    For months, Democrats have alleged improper political meddling by the White House and Justice Department in those ousters. But the 32-year-old Taylor answered few questions, adhering to a broad claim of executive privilege stated in a letter from White House counsel Fred Fielding.

    Chairman Patrick Leahy blasted the White House assertion immediately and told Taylor she was in danger of drawing a criminal contempt of Congress citation. The chairman's opening line of questioning drew what became a stock response from Taylor.

    SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), Vermont: Did you speak with President Bush about replacing U.S. attorneys?

  • SARA TAYLOR, Former White Aide:

    Senator Leahy, as you know, I have a letter from…

  • SEN. PATRICK LEAHY:

    That's not my question. I'm not asking you what was said or anything else. Did you speak with the president replacing U.S. attorneys — not what the content of the discussion on — but did you speak with him, yes or no, about replacing U.S. attorneys?

  • SARA TAYLOR:

    Senator, I have a very clear letter from Mr. Fielding. That letter says and has asked me to follow the president's assertion of executive privilege. And as I read that, I determine my acknowledging whether a conversation occurred or did not occur would, in fact, be part of the deliberations.

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