House Judiciary Committee Issues Second Subpoena for Karl Rove
Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee John Conyers (D-MI) issued a subpoena for Karl Rove to testify regarding controversies surrounding his actions under the Bush Administration yesterday.
Rove is wanted for questioning specifically about the Justice Department's firing of U.S. attorneys in 2006, as well as other accusations of Rove abusing his position to influence the decision making process of the United States government.
Rove ignored a previous subpoena issued by the House Judiciary Committee calling on him to testify on July 10, 2008 citing executive privilege. As a result, the committee voted 20-14 in favor of holding Rove in contempt of congress. However, the vote was in reality only a recommendation.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi encouraged the investigation to continue, but ultimately blocked the recommendation from being brought to a final vote. It's speculated that Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have blocked final votes on issues involving criminally pursuing members of the Bush Administration fearing negative publicity and political backlash.
Rove has continually denied involvement in the Justice Department's decision making process regarding the firing of attorneys. However, according to Rep. Conyers, ""His name has come up repeatedly in the hearings on this subject."
The new subpoena requires Karl Rove to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on February 2nd. As the date approaches, two questions linger:
1. Is the renewed assertion of executive privilege for Karl Rove issued by President Bush just prior to leaving the White House still valid under a new president?
2. Will the Obama Administration stand behind the Senate Judiciary Committee? Or will Obama protect executive privilege for his predecessor just as President Bush did when he blocked the investigation into members of the Clinton Administration by members of congress in the beginning of his first term?
Robert Luskin, Rove's attorney, defended his client's right to executive privilege in a statement, saying, "It's generally agreed that former presidents retain executive privilege as to matters occurring during their term."
“Change has come to Washington, and I hope Karl Rove is ready for it," Rep. John Conyers said in a statement of his own stating that his committee would no longer allow Rove to dodge testifying. "After two years of stonewalling, it’s time for him to talk.”
In addition to Karl Rove, President Bush has also asserted executive privilege for Harriet Miers, Josh Bolton, and other members of his administration.