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Bush Sealed Jefferson Records as Compromise

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - We're learning about President Bush's role in
defusing a confrontation between the House of Representatives and
the Justice Department.

The focus of the dispute was the FBI's search of Louisiana
Congressman William Jefferson's office. Jefferson is being
investigated for bribery.

House leaders protested the raid. A senior administration says
the House was threatening to go after the Justice Department's
budget.

For its part, Justice officials, including Attorney General
Alberto Gonzales, raised the prospect of resigning if they were
forced to return seized material.

The source says Bush, acting as mediator, struck a compromise.
He ordered that the documents be sealed for 45 days until
congressional leaders and the Justice Department agree on what to
do with them.

House leaders have acknowledged that FBI agents can legally
search a congressman's office. But they say they want procedures
established.


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