Rove: Still Safe from Congress?
Clammyc says no. Some highlights:
However, that isn’t really why I am writing this – I am looking more at WHY they won’t testify as opposed to the underlying issues, documents, and possible crimes (I will say that the fired attorneys will most likely provide enough information regarding whether any "obstruction of justice" charges would be warranted with or without Rove and Miers).
It all obviously goes to the matter of Executive Privilege. And the question is – will Congress fight the Administration all the way to the Supreme Court (only to run out the clock and possibly lose in this case anyway), or will they focus on all other areas of this case and determine whether charges can be brought or if this will truly become yet another slimy but political matter. The upshot if it remaining political is that it will damage the republicans – the downside is that it pisses off the American public because Congress was spending too much time on this as opposed to getting us out of Iraq and promoting policies that are good for We the People.
Whether this technically should even fall under executive privilege is a question in and of itself – but will likely be resolved through negotiations or in court.
While Tony Snow and Bush have both said how it is pretty much unprecedented for Presidential advisors to testify before Congress, a Congressional Research Service report from 2004 lists those Presidential advisors who HAVE testified (surprise – there are over 30 Clinton advisors who have testified more than 40 times).
It is obvious that Bush, as stubborn as he has been, will try to push the boundaries as far as he can to begin with. That, in and of itself, is ample reason to think that he will do everything possible to stall or not have Rove and Miers testify. Additionally, a 1999 CRS Report discusses Executive Privilege and cites a case In re Sealed Case from the Clinton era. The interesting part here is that it appears that the court determined that Executive Privilege applies to direct decision making by the President, except in cases where there is government misconduct
The crux here is obviously twofold – (1) was there government misconduct? and (2) were there direct decisions made by the President here?
The answer to (1) seems like a "yes" but still remains to be seen as far as whether any misconduct rises to the level of a "slam dunk" in overcoming the assertion. The answer to (2) also seems to be "yes", as indicated by Josh Marshall
The issue here is why these US Attorneys were fired and the fact that the White House intended to replace them with US Attorneys not confirmed by the senate. We now have abundant evidence that they were fired for not sufficiently politicizing their offices, for not indicting enough Democrats on bogus charges or for too aggressively going after Republicans. (Remember, Carol Lam is still the big story here.) We also now know that the top leadership of the Justice Department lied both to the public and to Congress about why the firing took place. As an added bonus we know the whole plan was hatched at the White House with the direct involvement of the president.
Bush has and will continue to dig his heels in on Rove and Miers;
It appears that he doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on;
It doesn’t seem to matter much – as there appears to be ample evidence (with more to come) that would implicate those who may have committed crimes;
Gonzales still lied to Congress under oath – which is the biggest story here;
The Patriot Act provision that got this all kicked off to begin with was reversed – and even if it is vetoed, it will likely be overruled by Congress;
Obstruction of justice charges seem like the only "legal" recourse to be taken here (other than perjury); and
He will still try to take this all the way to the Supreme Court, which, even if he loses, will run out the clock on Rove and Miers testifying
But as much as I would like to see them testify under oath, I think there is enough smoke and fire that any crimes committed will come out anyway.
Sorry to rain on anyone’s parade who was hoping to see those 2 testify, but I just don’t see how it will ever happen. Or if it is really necessary anyway.
This makes sense to me. Readers?