Congress critters upset with Jefferson office search.
Politics: Via AP.
|Rep. Dennis Hastert, the House speaker, complained directly to President Bush yesterday about the FBI's unprecedented raid on Rep. William Jefferson's office. Meanwhile, officials said that senior Democrats were working to ease Jefferson, R-La., out of a powerful committee assignment, at least temporarily. "My opinion is that they took the wrong path," Hastert, R-Ill., told reporters after meeting with Bush in the White House. "They need to back up, and we need to go from there." White House officials said they did not learn of the search of Jefferson's office until after it happened. They promised to work with the Justice Department to soothe legislators' anger. "We are hoping that there's a way to balance the constitutional concerns of the House of Representatives with the law-enforcement obligations of the executive branch," said Tony Snow, the White House press secretary. FBI agents raided Jefferson's office over the weekend and issued an affidavit saying that they earlier had discovered $90,000 in cash wrapped and hidden in the freezer of his home. ....Historians said that the search, carried out on a warrant issued Thursday by Judge Thomas Hogan of U.S. District Court in Washington, is the first in the 219-year history of the Congress. The House and Senate Judiciary committees were looking at the ramifications of Hogan's action, but their respective chairmen, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., and Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., declined to comment yesterday. Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, the majority leader, sharply criticized the search, telling reporters that Hastert's aides are reviewing several responses, including legal options. Top Democrats stood with Republicans in their protest of the FBI search's search of a congressman's office. "No member is above the law, but the institution has a right to protect itself against the executive department going into our offices," said Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., the minority whip|