View Full Version : Invoking Obama, House Judiciary Chairman Subpoenas Rove

01-26-2009, 09:01 PM
Invoking Obama, House Judiciary Chairman subpoenas Rove


John Byrne
Published: Monday January 26, 2009

Invoking President Barack Obama, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) has subpoenaed former Bush Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove about his alleged involved in the political prosecution of an Alabama governor and the firings of nine US Attorneys.

The subpoena, approved by an earlier vote of the House, was issued pursuant to "authority granted in H.R. 5 (111th Congress), and calls for Mr. Rove to appear at deposition on Monday, February 2, 2009."

Specifically, it enjoins Rove "to testify regarding his role in the Bush Administration’s politicization of the Department of Justice, including the US Attorney firings and the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman."

"Mr. Rove has previously refused to appear in response to a Judiciary Committee subpoena, claiming that even former presidential advisers cannot be compelled to testify before Congress," Conyers' office wrote in a release. "That 'absolute immunity' position was supported by then-President Bush, but it has been rejected by U.S. District Judge John Bates and President Obama has previously dismissed the claim as 'completely misguided.'"

This is the second time Conyers has subpoenaed Rove. It's uncertain whether Rove will be compelled to testify, as Obama's attorney general has not yet been confirmed.

“I have said many times that I will carry this investigation forward to its conclusion, whether in Congress or in court, and today’s action is an important step along the way,” Conyers said in a release. “Change has come to Washington, and I hope Karl Rove is ready for it. After two years of stonewalling, it’s time for him to talk.”

The subpoena delegates authority to US marshals to enforce, like any Congressional subpoena, and was copied to Rove's Washington, D.C. attorney, Robert Luskin.

Luskin could not immediately be reached for comment.

READ THE SUBPOENA HERE (http://rawstory.com/images/other/rovesubpoenarawstory.pdf) (PDF link).

01-28-2009, 08:49 AM
Obama order could present problems for Rove


John Byrne

A little-noticed twist in an order issued by President Barack Obama the day after his inauguration may present problems for former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove and other Bush Administration officials that have been targeted for their alleged role in various scandals.

Rove was subpoenaed Monday afternoon by House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI). When the dogged Democrat subpoenaed him last year, Bush Administration lawyers invoked "executive immunity" to prevent Rove from testifying.

This year, however, George W. Bush is no longer in the president's chair. Determination of executive privilege must now also be examined by President Obama's lawyers. In fact, Rove's lawyer made direct reference to Obama's role in any future decision to enjoin Rove's appearance on the congressional witness stand Monday night.

"It's generally agreed that former presidents retain executive privilege as to matters occurring during their term," Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, told The Washington Post (http://rawstory.com/news/2008/CONYERS_SUBPOENAS_KARL_ROVE_0126.html). "We'll solicit the views of the new White House counsel and, if there is a disagreement, assume that the matter will be resolved among the courts, the president and the former president."

Luskin doesn't concede that Rove isn't covered by Bush's blanket immunity, but appears to acknowledge that the question of keeping Rove off the witness stand has become more complex.

"The Attorney General and the Counsel to the President, in the exercise of their discretion and after appropriate review and consultation under subsection (a) of this section, may jointly determine that invocation of executive privilege is not justified," Obama said in his executive order (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/ExecutiveOrderPresidentialRecords/) Jan. 21. "The Archivist shall be notified promptly of any such determination."

In addition, a White House counsel to President Bill Clinton told (http://www.mercurynews.com/politics/ci_11558770) The Washington Post late Monday that a recent executive order issued by President Obama directing the National Archives to consult with Justice Department and White House lawyers "concerning the Archivist's determination as to whether to honor the former president's claim of privilege or instead to disclose the presidential records notwithstanding the claim of privilege," could open the door to the release of more information relating to controversies under the Bush Administration.

"The language," the Post wrote, "according to W. Neil Eggleston, a White House associate counsel during the Clinton administration, leaves open the possibility that more information could emerge in some long-running controversies."

Whether Rove can stay off the witness stand indefinitely is an open question. He could certainly plead the Fifth -- invoking his constitutional right to avoid self-incrimination -- and refuse to answer questions. But Obama's order opened the door to the release of presidential records the Bush Administration fought aggressively to keep out of the public eye.

On the flip side, Vice President Dick Cheney recently won a court case seeking his vice presidential records; the court said that the Vice President alone gets to make the determination as to which records are personal and which records should become public. The Presidential Records Act, which requires Administrations to surrender their files to the National Archives upon leaving office, provides an exemption for records of a personal nature.

Obama might also effectively protect Rove and President Bush by retaining a broad interpretation of executive privilege. Such an interpretation wouldn't be designed to save Rove from congressional investigators -- instead, it would allow Obama to protect himself and his team upon his own departure from the Oval Office.

02-02-2009, 09:30 PM
Attorney: Rove Will Cooperate With DOJ Probes


By Murray Waas - February 2, 2009, 7:08PM

Karl Rove will cooperate with a federal criminal inquiry underway into the firings of nine U.S. attorneys and has already spoken to investigators in a separate, internal DOJ investigation into the prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, his attorney said in an interview.

Rove previously refused to cooperate with an earlier Justice Department inquiry into the firings. The Justice Department's Inspector General and its Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) said in a report released last September detailing their earlier probe of the firings of the U.S. attorneys that their investigation was severely "hindered" by the refusal by Rove and other senior Bush administration officials to cooperate with the probe.

Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, said that Rove, however, will cooperate with a federal criminal probe of the firings being led by Nora Dannehy, the Acting U.S. Attorney for Connecticut who was selected by former Attorney General Michael Mukasey to lead the investigation. Dannehy has recently empaneled a federal grand jury to hear evidence in the matter.

Luskin told me that Rove had earlier not cooperated with the Inspector General and OPR probe into the firings because "it was not his [Karl's] call... it was not up to us decide." Luskin said that Rove was directed by the Bush White House counsel's office not to cooperate with the Inspector General and OPR.

Regarding the more recent probe by Dannehy, Luskin said: "I can say that he would cooperate with the Dannehy investigation if asked."

In recent days, according to legal sources, two former Bush White House officials, including one former aide to Rove, have been contacted by investigators working for Dannehy and asked for interviews. One of the two has agreed to be interviewed.

Regarding the decision to cooperate with Dannehy, Luskin said that Rove "has not and will not assert any personal privileges." He also said that in regard to the earlier probe, Rove had not done so, but had rather only "followed the guidance of the White House."

Justice's Inspector General and OPR in their investigation could not compel testimony from witnesses other than that of current Justice Department employees. The two Justice Department watchdog agencies also cannot initiate criminal investigations.

But both the Inspector General and OPR can refer allegations of criminal wrongdoing to the Attorney General, who can then name a criminal prosecutor or special prosecutor to build on the earlier investigations.

Glenn A. Fine, the Inspector General, and H. Marshall Jarrett, the head of OPR, sought the appointment of a special prosecutor in the matter because they said they could not get to the bottom of the U.S. attorney firings because of the refusal by the Bush White House and the senior Bush administration officials to cooperate with their efforts.

Besides Rove, the Inspector and OPR said that former White House Counsel Harriet Miers, former White House counsel William Kelley, and Associate White House counsel, Richard Klingler, declined requests to be interviewed by investigators. The Bush White House also refused to "provide internal emails or internal documents related to the U.S. attorney removals," citing executive privilege concerns.

In a related matter, Luskin disclosed that Rove has already been cooperating with a probe by Justice's OPR into the prosecution of former Alabama governor Don Siegelman. At the request of Congress, the Justice Department watchdogs are probing whether prosecutors acted ethically in their prosecution of Siegelman as well as allegations that Rove might have encouraged the federal investigation in the first place. Siegelman, who was governor of Alabama, from 1999-2003, was convicted in 2006 of federal charges of bribery and mail fraud.

Regarding Siegelman, Luskin said: "At no time has he or will he assert personal privilege in that matter." While declining to discuss specifics of what Rove has told investigators regarding Siegelman, Luskin said: "What Karl has said [to investigators] is entirely consistent with what he has said publicly--that he absolutely nothing to do with this."

The conclusions of that OPR investigation are expected sometime soon.

02-05-2009, 11:24 AM
Rove says he won't comply with congressional subpoenas


John Byrne
Published: Thursday February 5, 2009

Former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove "won't comply" with congressional subpoenas, according to a newspaper report of an event held in Los Angeles earlier this week.

Rove spoke Tuesday evening at Loyola Marymount University, a Jesuit institution in Los Angeles, as part of the school's "First Amendment Week."

"One man loudly denounced Rove as a 'traitor' before he was escorted out," the Loyola Daily Breeze noted. "A woman held up a pair of handcuffs and said she would like to see Rove wearing them."

Rove mounted a "sprited defense" of Bush policies: warrantless wiretapping, Guantanamo Bay and so-called harsh interrogations. But among the questions bearing relevance on Rove's current predicament -- one answer stood out.

One questioner asked Rove whether he would comply with Congressional subpoenas. Rove was subpoenaed last month to testify to the House Judiciary Committee about his knowledge surrounding the firings of US Attorneys and the prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.

Rove "said he would not, and cited Janet Reno, President Clinton's attorney general, as his authority in resisting Congressional infringements on executive privilege."

His answer seems to contrast the sentiment of his Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, who told an investigative reporter earlier this week that Rove was cooperating with two Justice Department probes into the US Attorney firings and the Siegelman case.

"I can say that he would cooperate with the [Justice Department] investigation if asked," Luskin said. He made no such specific commitment to an investigation by the House Judiciary Committee, or the Senate Judiciary Committee, both of which have subpoenaed him to testify on the cases.

Luskin told Raw Story Thursday that while he hadn't seen the specific remarks, he was "confident that I've accurately expressed his position in this matter and it's consistent with what I have conveyed to [House Judiciary Chairman] Conyers and to the White House."

Rove also told the Los Angeles crowd that media coverage leading up to the election was "unbelievably tilted toward Obama," and "not healthy for the system."

"That coverage is putting a finger on the scale," Rove said, adding that most members of the national press corps live in Washington and New York and went to schools with a liberal bent.