U.S. President George W. Bush has ordered his former counsel, Harriet Miers, not to testify at a scheduled hearing of the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday over last year's firings of several federal prosecutors, U.S. media reported Wednesday.
In a letter to Miers's lawyer, White House counsel Fred Fielding said Miers "has absolute immunity from compelled congressional testimony as to matters occurring while she was a senior adviser to the president."
The House panel issued a subpoena last month demanding Miers to testify about the White House's role in the dismissals of the prosecutors, which the Justice Department has said were based on the attorneys' performance but lawmakers suspected to be politically-motivated.
Miers' lawyer, George Manning, has notified John Conyers, chairman of the committee, that she would not appear before the committee Thursday.
Conyers revealed the letters Wednesday after Bush's former political advisor Sara Taylor testified at the Senate Judiciary Committee over the firings of the attorneys.
Taylor said she would observe Bush's directive to defy the subpoena and refuse to answer questions covered by executive privilege, unless a court ordered her to do so.
She refused to answer many questions during the hearing regarding the White House's involvement in the firings, and said she did not have any knowledge Bush was involved.
Eight federal prosecutors were fired last year. While administration officials said the attorneys were ousted over concern about their performance, lawmakers suspected that they were targeted because they had not carried out the political agenda of the Republican Party, particularly before the mid-term elections last November.