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Dems set deadline for White House on subpoenas

Dems set deadline for White House on subpoenas

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WASHINGTON - In a letter to White House counsel Fred Fielding, the heads of the Senate and House Judiciary committees demanded an explanation in 10 days of why the White House claimed executive privilege on subpoenaed documents and vowed to invoke "the full force of law."

The White House - echoing the senior Republican on the Senate panel - urged the chairmen to accept the administration's earlier offer to allow private, off-the-record interviews with current and former aides to President Bush.

"If the committees just want the facts, then they should withdraw the subpoenas and accept the president's offer, instead of this continued pattern of gross overreach and confrontation," said White House spokesman Tony Fratto.

The fight centers on an investigation that Democrats initially undertook into the firings of several U.S. attorneys, but which has since branched out to scrutiny of the administration's terrorism-era warrantless wiretapping and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' stewardship of the Justice Department.

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