Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Saga Continues

As CQ Politics reported July 3, 2008, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D.-MI) on May 22, 2008 issued a subpoena to force Karl Rove to testify before the Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee on July 10, 2008. Congressional Democrats want to inquire about the firing of several U.S. Attorneys and, especially, "about allegations that the Justice Department has engaged in politically motivated prosecutions of Democratic officials, including former Alabama governor Donald Siegelman."

In a development as stunning as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west, Rove refused to testify- citing executive privilege- and "offering" instead to testify in private with no oath and no transcript. On Wednesday, July 30, 2008 the Judiciary Committee voted 20 to 14 along party lines to recommend to the full chamber that the former political and policy (simultaneously) advisor to President Bush be held in contempt.

On July 31, 2008 U.S. District Judge John Bates, a Bush 43 appointee, ruled there is no basis in case law for Bush Administration officials former legal counsel Harriet Miers, Chief of Staff Josh Bolten, and Rove to invoke executive privilege to avoid responding to Congressional subpoenas.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi responded as expected:

It certainly strengthens our hand. This decision should send a clear signal to the Bush administration that it must cooperate fully with Congress and that former administration officials Harriet Miers and Karl Rove must testify before Congress.

And when they don't testify? What will Pelosi do then? Since the Democrats gained "control" in January, 2007, Congress has, at the insistence of the White House: repeatedly funded the Iraq war without conditions; enacted the "Protect America Act" giving President Bush new powers to eavesdrop without a warrant; defeated a bill to increase intervals between deployment of American troops; enacted the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 giving immunity to telecoms for breaking the law and squashing any realistic chance of investigating Bush's NSA spying program; and so much more. To call the Pelosi leadership "spineless" would be a childish, ad hominem attack- but she has displayed a marked proclivity to being intimidated by an extraordinarily unpopular president.

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