From the Associated Press minutes ago:
(03-20) 15:59 PDT WASHINGTON (AP) --
A defiant President Bush warned Democrats Tuesday to accept his offer to have top aides testify about the firings of federal prosecutors only privately and not under oath or risk a constitutional showdown from which he would not back down.
Democrats' response to his proposal was swift and firm: They said they would start authorizing subpoenas as soon as Wednesday for the White House aides.
"Testimony should be on the record and under oath. That's the formula for true accountability," said Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Bush, in a late-afternoon statement at the White House, said, "We will not go along with a partisan fishing expedition aimed at honorable public servants. ... I have proposed a reasonable way to avoid an impasse."
He added that federal prosecutors work for him and it is natural to consider replacing them. "There is no indication that anybody did anything improper," the president said.
Bush gave his embattled attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, a boost during an early morning call and ended the day with a public statement repeating it. "He's got support with me," Bush said.*
*Well, based on recent history (think Donald Rumsfeld) that ought to make 'Ole Al feel pretty good . . . .