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Rove and Miers in the Hot Seat, Finally

By Eva Rodriguez

After a constitutional battle that has drawn on for years, soon (with luck) the House Judiciary Committee will question Karl Rove and Harriet Miers about the dismissals of nine U.S. attorneys in 2007. It’s about time.

According to a deal they agreed to, Rove and Miers will not have to be sworn in, but because they are providing information to a congressional committee, they could be subject to perjury charges if they lie. The interviews will be conducted in private sessions and transcripts will be made public only after all witnesses have been questioned, in order to avoid inappropriate coordination of testimony. And the committee has agreed not to ask Rove and Miers about direct communications with President Bush.

But the long overdue glasnost achieves several important goals. First, the committee -- and the public -- will finally hear directly from two key Bush administration aides believed to have played a part in a scandal that raised profound questions about the inappropriate politicization of the Justice Department. The controversy and the mishandling of its aftermath was instrumental in triggering the resignation of then-Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales.

Second, the agreement averts further court proceedings that could have eroded executive prerogatives for future presidents, including the current one. The Judiciary Committee filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after the administration refused to allow aides to testify. Miers, for example, declined to show up for a congressional hearing, even though she had been subpoenaed. Last August, Judge John D. Bates, a 2001 Bush appointee, eviscerated much of the administration’s legal reasoning; it is unclear, he concluded, whether Miers could be compelled to testify, but there was no doubt that she had a legal obligation to respect the summons and enter a personal appearance. The administration duly appealed to the consistently conservative U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Now that the two sides have come to agreement, the appellate process has been put on hold.

The Obama administration deserves credit for brokering the deal and for recognizing that need for and desirability of a political, rather than a judicial, solution. It did not act, however, entirely out of altruistic motives. If the litigation had gone forward, President Obama could have found himself legally stepping into the shoes of his predecessor to defend the presidency’s prerogatives. If he had decided against that, he could have undermined his and future presidents’ ability to shield aides from illegitimate congressional intrusions. A continued court battle, in other words, presented a virtual no win situation.

The White House was smart and right to push for this resolution. Now let’s hope that all sides of the dispute are smart enough to abide by it -- so that Rove and Miers finally go on the record.

By Eva Rodriguez  | March 9, 2009; 3:38 PM ET
Categories:  Rodriguez  | Tags:  Eva Rodriguez  
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Comments


I agree that this was a good political outcome for President Obama, in that he will not have to "take sides" in the Court of Appeals.

I am glad that Rove will finally be answering questions about this incident, but I am not optimistic that his answers will be particularly revealing. Rove is the type who doesn't tell the truth if a lie (or "spin") will do as well.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | March 9, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

To Karl Rove, half truths aren't the same as lying. I'm counting on John Conyers (a true patriot) to hold his feet to the fire until he sings line a canary. It's time Rove told the whole truth and nothing but the truth if he doesn't want to go to prison for the rest of his life.

Posted by: nfwriter9999 | March 9, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Meyers and Rove will be not be sworn in.

They are providing information to a congressional committee and subject to perjury charges if they lie.

AND Rove and Meyers will stain !!

Fei Hu

Posted by: Fei_Hu | March 9, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Rove will pull a Gonzalez.

Posted by: nodebris | March 10, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse

You said it: It's about time. Enough with coddling these crooks.

Posted by: melizzie | March 10, 2009 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Maybe we were better off just letting Rove/Goebbels just fade off into the obscurity of Faux News.

And Miers?!? I hope there's a hefty supply of Depends undergarments and all-stuck-together-old-people-hard-candy on hand!

Posted by: Heerman532 | March 10, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Now that they have a President in office, the Democrats will "remember" that there has been a concept of Executive Privilege and that it has a history to respect. Perhaps they and others will stop sneering at our heritage. Presidents have work to do and these ideas protect their ability to serve.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | March 10, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

"And Miers?!? I hope there's a hefty supply of Depends undergarments and all-stuck-together-old-people-hard-candy on hand!"

Gosh!

Are you sure you will never be old? Or are you determined to be "different."

Don't worry.

You are.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | March 10, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

"And the committee has agreed not to ask Rove and Miers about direct communications with President Bush."

..and..and I want a pink pony and..and foot rubs and..and...

Why are these two getting ANY concessions. They should have to be sworn in and testify just like any other citizen.

Is the "firing of US Attorneys" considered a risk to national security if they don't get to claim executive privilege?

Posted by: JRM2 | March 10, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Why haven't both Karl Rove (Mr. Turd Bloosom) and Harriet Myers (Pres. Bush is the best(?) been arrested for non-compliance of a Congressional supeona? Why have members of the Bush Administration been allowed to indescriminately break the law or did the Rule of Law simply disappear under the war criminals regime?

Posted by: sailorflat | March 10, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Must be a slow newsday! Who cares! Presidents appoint justices at their pleasure. The US has more things to worry about than Karl Rove - DEMS get over it!!!

Posted by: CHASSTARR1 | March 10, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

The Democrat Obama administration should try to squash this hearing, if they ever want to replace a Republican US attorney with a Democrat.

Posted by: TheIggynoonewants | March 10, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

...AND Rove and Meyers will stain !!

Fei Hu
*****************

I think Fei Hu meant abstain, but I like the malaprop! Seriously, if they're not sworn in and they can excuse themselves from any question touching the president, of what real value will this testimony be?

Posted by: abqcleve | March 10, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

What are the Las Vegas odds on how many times Rove and Miers will say, "I do not recall"?

Posted by: multiplepov | March 10, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

"Second, the agreement averts further court proceedings that could have eroded executive prerogatives for future presidents, including the current one."

Eroding executive prerogatives is a good idea. This arrangement struck here for Rove and Meiers erodes Congressional prerogatives, which is not a good idea.

Posted by: fzdybel | March 11, 2009 12:46 AM | Report abuse

I don't see this as even viable - they are not sworn in, they do not have to discuss communicatiions with Bush, etc. They should be treated as any other criminal would. This appears more a political device than any kind of "truth seeking." This is useless.

Posted by: angryinmaine | March 11, 2009 6:42 AM | Report abuse

This is pure unadulterated B.S!!!

Posted by: Lazarus2 | March 11, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

According to a deal they agreed to, Rove and Miers will not have to be sworn in, but because they are providing information to a congressional committee, they could be subject to perjury charges if they lie. [[The interviews will be conducted in private sessions and transcripts will be made public only after all witnesses have been questioned, in order to avoid inappropriate coordination of testimony. And the committee has agreed not to ask Rove and Miers about direct communications with President Bush.]]

Wow -- get tough with them. Rove wins again. This is such BS and there are two sets of standards of justice in this country. One for the likes of Rove, Cheney and Miers and one for the rest of us.

Posted by: creatia52 | March 11, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I think it's absurd this issue is even coming up. As appointees, the President, whether Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, black or white, has the authority to offer and take away their positions. Whether or not it was politically motivated shouldn't matter. Everyone seems shocked that it could have been... Really? Are these people also shocked that Obama Administration disagrees with many of the Bush Administration policies? Wake up America, it's called bi-partisan politics, and our founders intended it.

Posted by: farlowjw | March 11, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

This really cracks me up. Not only have I only recently discovered that neither Limbaugh nor Hannity were able to graduate from college, but Karl Rove has never graduated from college! Although, to be fair, his website mentions four different colleges he "attended." If you don't believe me, check out his bio on Wikipedia.

Posted by: dianainohio | March 14, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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