Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 2 (2 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   14 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

In Bold Extension of Exec Power, Bush Sent Rove a Letter Saying He Still Doesn't Have to Testify

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H1 1/27/09

Become a Fan
  (7 fans)

George W. Bush is seeking to extend his sweeping concept of executive privilege into his post-presidency, with the first battle likely to be fought over a renewed demand from House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers that Karl Rove finally testify about the politicization of the Justice Department.

On Monday, Conyers reissued a subpoena for Rove, a former White House deputy chief of staff, to testify before Congress about his role in firing nine federal prosecutors deemed not “loyal Bushies” as well as the controversial prosecution of Alabama’s former Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman.

Rove’s attorney, Robert Luskin, told the Washington Post that former President Bush recently sent a letter to Rove reasserting executive privilege that would prevent Rove and possibly other ex-White House officials from testifying. Bush sent the letter at Rove's request before he left office, according to Luskin.

However, it does appear that Bush is determined to extend his broad claims of executive privilege beyond his departure from the White House on Jan. 20.

In his last years in office, Bush succeeded in frustrating congressional inquiries by asserting a sweeping interpretation of executive privilege, a tradition that grants some confidentiality for advice between the President and his top aides. Bush expanded the scope of the privilege to include even discussions among his subordinates inside and outside the White House.

In September 2008, U.S. District Judge John Bates rejected Bush’s position, saying the concept of blanket executive privilege lacked legal precedent.

“The Executive cannot identify a single judicial opinion that recognizes absolute immunity for senior presidential advisors in this or any other context,” wrote Bates, a Bush appointee. "In fact, there is Supreme Court authority that is all but conclusive on this question and that powerfully suggests that such advisors do not enjoy absolute immunity.”

However, Bush’s lawyers appealed Bates’s ruling to a Republican-dominated Appeals Court panel in Washington that relied on a technicality – the looming adjournment of the 110th Congress – to declare the issue moot. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “GOP Judges Aid White House Cover-up.”]

At the time, Conyers promised not to let the issue drop, and his announcement that he is reissuing the Rove subpoena under the 111th Congress indicates the case may soon return to the federal courts.

“I have said many times that I will carry this investigation forward to its conclusion, whether in Congress or in court,” Conyers said in a prepared statement. “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 demands that Rove appear before Congress for a deposition on Feb. 2, at 10 a.m. But it appears unlikely Rove, who was considered Bush's political guru, will show up to give testimony to the committee.

Conyers’s Judiciary Committee also has pursued testimony and documents from Bush’s last White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers about their involvement in the decision to fire the federal prosecutors. It is believed subpoenas will be issued for their testimony as well in the weeks ahead.

Rove as Victim

In public comments, Rove has presented himself as the victim of a Democratic witch-hunt, particularly after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Fox News’ Chris Wallace two weeks ago that she supported a renewed probe into the politicization of the Justice Department.

“I think that we have to learn from the past, and we cannot let the politicizing of the — for example, the Justice Department, to go unreviewed. Past is prologue. We learn from it," Pelosi said.

Rove, a Fox News contributor, was asked about the exchange and said Pelosi was out to get him.

"What do you think she's talking about?" Rove said. "Who do you think she was pointing a finger towards? Read carefully the description of who she said we ought to be looking at."

Rove’s lawyer Luskin argued that Rove and other Bush administration officials are protected by an umbrella of executive privilege that extends past the end of Bush’s term.

"It's generally agreed that former presidents retain executive privilege as to matters occurring during their term," Luskin said. "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."

However, President Barack Obama stated during Campaign 2008 that he believed Bush was overreaching with his claims of executive privilege. On his first full day in office, Obama also signed an executive order reining in the power of former presidents to keep their historical records secret.

Next Page  1  |  2

 

Jason Leopold is Deputy Managing Editor of Truthout.org and the founding editor of the online investigative news magazine The Public Record, http://www.pubrecord.org. He is the author of the National Bestseller, "News Junkie," a memoir. Visit (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Follow Me on Twitter

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

CIA Watchdog Report Says Detainees Died During Interrogations

Whistleblower: BP Risks More Massive Catastrophes in Gulf

Newly Released E-Mails Reveal Cheney Pressured DOJ to Approve Torture

Army's "Spiritual Fitness" Test Comes Under Fire

Newly Declassified DOD Documents Reveal Detainees Tortured To Death

Voter Registration Group ACORN Long a Target of GOP Operatives

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
14 people are discussing this page, with 14 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

I wonder who he should listen to?... by Daniel Geery on Tuesday, Jan 27, 2009 at 4:19:09 PM
The Smirking Chimp can play with his toy desk set,... by muservin on Tuesday, Jan 27, 2009 at 4:34:53 PM
Perfect.... by Amanda Lang on Tuesday, Jan 27, 2009 at 5:29:07 PM
I wonder if a vote could be taken on whether to ex... by Steven G. Erickson on Tuesday, Jan 27, 2009 at 4:40:35 PM
For those who haven't seen the film Frost/Nixo... by John S. Hatch on Tuesday, Jan 27, 2009 at 5:12:09 PM
we can't take more. . . I think sometimes that... by sometimes blinded on Tuesday, Jan 27, 2009 at 7:14:28 PM
It is long past time for all those parties wh... by Archie on Tuesday, Jan 27, 2009 at 11:48:05 PM
This is a real scoop. Small wonder the NY Times di... by martinweiss on Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009 at 3:21:05 AM
who need to brought to justice. As this issue expa... by DC Rapier on Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009 at 4:05:09 AM
Mr. Rove has a note explaining that he is too dist... by Perry Logan on Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009 at 5:52:32 AM
Probably over the 8 million e-mails he flushed dow... by eileen kuch on Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009 at 5:49:40 PM
This whole situation is absurd. Let him be fr... by Steve Windisch (jibbguy) on Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009 at 10:00:16 AM
JAN 28, 2009Take Action: House Votes TODAY on Addi... by James Murtagh on Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009 at 1:21:38 PM
Executive Privelege is a constitutional myth. See:... by William Whitten on Thursday, Jan 29, 2009 at 1:48:28 PM