Thursday, July 10, 2008

Rove, Rove, Rove Your Boat

Karl Rove has refused to testify:

Karl Rove, President Bush's longtime political guru, refused to obey an order to testify before a House Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday.

Karl Rove's lawyers says he is immune from a congressional subpoena.

Rove's lawyer asserted that Rove was "immune" from the subpoena the committee had issued, arguing that the committee could not compel him to testify due to "executive privilege."

The panel subpoenaed Rove in May after his lawyer, Robert D. Luskin, made clear the former White House deputy chief of staff would not appear voluntarily.

Luskin responded immediately that Rove still would not appear, prompting a threat of prosecution from the Judiciary Committee chairman, Rep. John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, and Rep. Linda Sanchez, a California Democrat who chairs the subcommittee on commercial and administrative law.

"A refusal to appear in violation of the subpoena could subject Mr. Rove to contempt proceedings, including statutory contempt under federal law and proceedings under the inherent contempt authority of the House of Representatives," Conyers and Sanchez wrote.

"We are unaware of any proper legal basis for Mr. Rove's refusal to even appear today as required by the subpoena," Sanchez said Thursday morning when Rove failed to show up. "The courts have made clear that no one -- not even the president -- is immune from compulsory process. That is what the Supreme Court rules in U.S. v. Nixon and Clinton v. Jones."

This is not surprising, of course. It's how the concept of "executive privilege" has been used by the Bush administration as meaning that no laws need to be followed if they happen to displease someone in the administration.