Court Of Impeachment And War Crimes: Karl Rove In The News and In Hot Water…Subpoenaed!

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Karl Rove In The News and In Hot Water…Subpoenaed!

Karl Rove In The News and In Hot Water…Subpoenaed!

WASHINGTON - The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday subpoenaed former White House top political adviser Karl Rove to testify about whether the White House improperly meddled with the Justice Department.

Accusations of politics influencing decisions at the department led to last year's resignation of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

The subpoena issued Thursday orders Rove to testify before the House panel on July 10. He is expected to face questions about the White House's role in firing nine U.S. attorneys in 2006 and the prosecution of former Gov. Don Siegelman of Alabama, a Democrat.

House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers had negotiated with Rove's attorneys for more than a year over whether the former top aide to President Bush would testify voluntarily.

"It is unfortunate that Mr. Rove has failed to cooperate with our requests," Conyers, D-Mich., said in a statement. "Although he does not seem the least bit hesitant to discuss these very issues weekly on cable television and in the print news media, Mr. Rove and his attorney have apparently concluded that a public hearing room would not be appropriate."

"Unfortunately, I have no choice today but to compel his testimony on these very important matters," Conyers said.

Neither Rove nor his attorney, Robert Luskin, could be immediately reached for comment.

In a May 21 letter to the House panel, Luskin called the subpoena a "gratuitous confrontation," noting that Rove has been similarly ordered to testify by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Luskin maintained Rove would not testify because of an ongoing legal dispute over whether the White House could claim executive privilege in refusing to publicly share conversations Bush had with top advisers. Instead, he wrote, Rove could discuss the issues with congressional investigators — but only behind closed doors and without a transcript being made of the session.

"While the committee has the authority to issue a subpoena, it is hard to see what this will accomplish, apart from a Groundhog Day replay of the same issues that are already the subject of litigation," Luskin wrote in the letter, which was released by Conyers' staff.

Conyers also released a May 5 letter showing the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating whether Siegelman was the target of "selective, politically motivated prosecutions."

The office, which is the department's internal ethics board, also has been investigating whether politics played a part in the firing of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006.

Results of the joint inquiry into the fired prosecutors, which has been ongoing for more than a year with the department's inspector general, are expected to be released in coming months.

Former Rove-Protege Tim Griffin Joining RNC Opposition Research Shop To Help McCain ‘Turn His Fire’ On Obama»

Last year, in the middle of the U.S. attorney scandal, former Karl Rove protege Tim Griffin resigned as the interim Eastern District U.S. attorney in Arkansas. Griffin had become the poster boy for the politicization of the U.S. attorney process after the Justice Department fired Bud Cummins to make way for him.

Now, Robert Novak reports that Griffin will be returning to his roots as a member of the RNC’s opposition research team. According to Novak, Griffin is being brought in as part of “the McCain campaign’s plan” to “turn his fire against [Sen. Barack] Obama“:

McCain, however, is not prepared to disarm himself unilaterally. Tim Griffin, the crack opposition research operative, is about to move into the Republican National Committee to turn his fire against Obama. McCain strategists see their only hope is to focus on the real Barack Obama.

But Griffin may do more than just “digging up of derogatory information” on Obama.

As RNC research director in 2004, Griffin reportedly led a “caging” scheme to suppress the votes of likely Democratic voters, including African-American service members in Florida. (Here’s an e-mail written by Griffin in August 2004 with the subject line “caging.”)

In March 2007, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) explained what happens in this “nefarious voter suppression tactic“:

First, a campaign identifies a geographic area with a disproportionate number of registered voters who belong to the opposite party — sometimes, but not always, taking the ethnic or racial makeup of that area into account. Second, the campaign sends “do not forward/return to sender” letters to voters in that area.

Third, the campaign challenges the right to vote of those citizens whose mail was returned “undelivered” — on the grounds that the voter does not live at the registered address. Of course, there are many reasons why a piece of mail might be “returned to sender” that have nothing whatsoever to do with a voter’s eligibility.

Last year, Whitehouse and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) introduced legislation to ban “caging,” but neither bill has been voted on.

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