White House seeks legal cover from Gonzales.

The New York Times reports that the White House is confidently asserting that any attempts by Congress to hold White House staffers in contempt will be stymied by Alberto Gonzales’ Justice Department:

“The Justice Department would be likely to block any efforts by Congressional Democrats to seek contempt charges against present and former White House officials for refusing to give information to Congress, a White House spokesman said Friday. […]

A White House spokesman, Tony Fratto, said Congressional threats to have presidential aides charged with criminal contempt would probably end in failure. “It has been the Justice Department’s long-held view that the law does not permit Congress to require a U.S. attorney to convene a grand jury or otherwise pursue a prosecution” when someone refuses on the basis of executive privilege to testify or turn over documents, Mr. Fratto said.”