The House Judiciary Committee served a subpoena on former top Bush aide, Karl Rove, on Thursday to force him to testify in regards to allegations that the Department of Justice had dismissed U.S. attorneys based on party affiliation.
The committee ordered Rove to appear July 10 to testify on claims that he was a key player in pressing the Justice Department to dismiss some U.S. attorneys and to prosecute Democrats.
According to a wriitten statement from Chairman John Conyers, the subpoena had been authorized earlier but delivered it Thursday only after Rove’s attorney said he would not appear voluntarily: “It is unfortunate that Mr. Rove has failed to cooperate with our requests,” Conyers said. “Although he does not seem the least bit hesitant to discuss these very issues weekly on cable television and in the print news media, Mr. Rove and his attorney have apparently concluded that a public hearing room would not be appropriate. Unfortunately, I have no choice today but to compel his testimony on these very important matters.”
In a response letter dated Thursday and addressed to Conyers, Robert D. Luskin, Rove’s attorney, noted that his client has received a subpoena on the same issue from the Senate Judiciary Committee: “While the committee has the authority to issue a subpoena, it is hard to see what this will accomplish, apart from a ‘Groundhog Day’ replay of the same issues that are already the subject of litigation.”
Luskin also added that “issues of executive privilege and separation of powers” could perhaps limit Rove’s testimony.
In the written reply sent to Rove’s lawyer, Conyers said the two committees are focusing on different matters, with the House committee focusing on the prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, a Democrat.
Conyers added that other former White House officials have testified under subpoena in the past and have dealt with issues of executive privilege on a case-by-case basis. That excuse is not likely to work this time.
“Mr. Rove should follow the same course,” he said.