House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) today announced that he and his staff were going to begin discussions with former press secretary Scott McClellan about testifying before Congress regarding revelations in his new memoir. In particular, Conyers pointed to attempts by the White House to cover-up Scooter Libby’s involvement in the Valerie Plame leak:
I believe this issue may require closer examination, so I have instructed my counsels to begin discussions with Mr. McClellan to determine whether a hearing is necessary and to secure his possible cooperation.
In today’s White House press briefing, spokeswoman Dana Perino told reporters that the White House, hypothetically, could stop McClellan from testifying:
QUESTION: Could the White House block him from testifying, if he wanted to testify? Or how does that work?
PERINO: Hypothetically, which I’m not supposed to answer a hypothetical, yes, I think so. The law would allow for that. But by saying that, I’m not suggesting that that’s what would happen or not happen.
It’s not clear on what grounds the White House would be able to block McClellan. He has already blanketed the media talking about his time in the administration. Additionally, in a Washington Post chat today, McClellan confirmed that White House officials reviewed his “final manuscript for classification and privilege issues,” and they found “no issues relating to classified information.” They did, however, “bring up some issues” relating to executive privilege.
McClellan said on CNN that he’d “be happy” to testify.