Saturday, February 14, 2009

Conyers Summons Former White House Advisor Karl Rove, Again

Feb. 13, 2009 – 1:50 p.m.

House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers Jr. , D-Mich., issued another subpoena Friday for Bush White House adviser Karl Rove, setting up a new confrontation with the former aide.

Conyers subpoenaed Rove to appear for a Feb. 23 deposition as part of the committee’s ongoing probe into allegations of Justice Department politicization in the Bush administration.

“Like every citizen subject to compulsory process, I believe it is Mr. Rove’s obligation to appear in response to the subpoena and answer the questions he is asked or assert a valid legal privilege in response to individual questions,” Conyers wrote Rove’s lawyer, Robert D. Luskin.

Conyers is interested in learning Rove’s role, if any, in the firings of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006 and the Justice Department’s prosecution of former Alabama Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman on public corruption charges .

Conyers also subpoenaed Rove in the last Congress. Rove refused to comply after President Bush invoked executive privilege. On Jan. 16, a few days before he left office, Bush instructed Rove not to comply with any new subpoenas on the subject of the attorney firings.

On Jan. 26, Conyers subpoenaed Rove to appear at a Feb. 2 deposition. But he postponed the deposition to Feb. 23 at Rove’s request so Luskin could confer with the White House.

Luskin apparently asked for a further delay, which Conyers is refusing to grant.

Luskin declined comment, but in a Jan. 26 e-mail to the committee, he said that because Bush had only reasserted executive privilege in the U.S. attorneys matter, Rove was free to answer questions about the Siegelman affair.

But Conyers rejected that distinction, writing Luskin, “I do not believe it is acceptable for the committee to allow witnesses to unilaterally determine what they can and cannot testify concerning, again absent assertion of a valid privilege.”

Rove has denied any wrongdoing in the Siegelman matter. Luskin has told the committee that Rove will not assert any personal privilege in an effort not to appear.

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