Rove refuses to testify on role in prosecutor firings

Nick Juliano
Published: Wednesday August 1, 2007

White House senior adviser Karl Rove has rebuked a Senate Judiciary Committee subpoena and will not appear Thursday to testify about his role in the firing of nine US Attorneys, Sen. Patrick Leahy said late Wednesday.

The committee chairman said chided the White House for allowing Rove to give public speeches about the attorney firing scandal but will not permit his testimony under oath.

"Mr. Rove has given reasons for the firings that have now been shown to be inaccurate after-the-fact fabrications," Leahy said. "Yet, he now refuses to tell this Committee the truth about his role in targeting well-respected U.S. Attorneys for firing and in seeking to cover up his role and that of his staff in the scandal."

The House Judiciary Committee last month initiated criminal contempt of Congress charges against former White House counsel Harriet Miers and Chief of Staff Joshua Bolton after they refused to comply with subpoenas demanding their testimony.

It remains unclear whether Rover will face similar charges. A Judiciary Committee spokeswoman told RAW STORY Wednesday night that if Rove followed through in refusing to testify, the committee could decide to issue criminal charges later, but no decisions had been made yet.

“It is a shame that this White House continues to act as if it is above the law. That is wrong," Leahy said. "The subpoenas authorized by this Committee in connection with its investigation into the mass firings of U.S. Attorneys and the corrosion of federal law enforcement by White House political influence deserve respect and compliance."

Scott Jennings, the White House deputy director of political affairs, is expected to appear before the committee Thursday, but his testimony will be limited by Bush's claim of executive privlege.

A letter to the Judiciary Committee from White House counsel Fred F. Fielding claimed Rove "is immune from compelled congressional testimony about matters that arose during his tenure (as an immediate presidential adviser) and that relate to his official duties in that capacity."