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April 18, 2008

Rove's lawyer says client will flout Siegelman subpoena

Karl Rove's lawyer says his client won't testify before the House Judiciary Committee, even if he is subpoenaed.

On April 7, lawyer Ronald Luskin indicated to MSNBC that his client would testify before the House Judiciary Committee if he were subpoenaed to give evidence about the prosecution of Don Siegelman:

ABRAMS: We asked this question to his attorney: Will Karl Rove agree to testify if Congress issues a subpoena to him as part of an investigation into the Siegelman case? The answer we got — “Sure.”

Luskin says he was quoted out of context.

Subpoenas are just engraved invitations these days.

Could the Judiciary Committee send US Marshals out to get Rove if he won't testify?

I know, executive privilege. Invoking executive privilege to avoid testifying about Don Siegelman would seem like a tacit admission that Rove and the president were involved in the Siegelman prosecution. Maybe some of our legal experts can help me here. Can Rove claim executive privilege regarding acts he committed without the involvement of the president?

The whistle blower in the Siegelman case, former Republican operative Dana Jill Simpson, told 60 Minutes that Rove instructed her to spy on Siegelman. Let's assume that's true. Could Rove invoke executive privilege if the president didn't authorize him to gather intelligence on the Democratic Governor of Alabama?

What the hell was Karl Rove telling the president about Siegelman and the Justice Department? There shouldn't be any state secrets here.


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Rove claims he never meet or spoke to Dana Jill Simpson.
Will Dana Jill Simpson be put under oath too?
If her story turns out to be BS, will she charged with perjury?
Or will it be like when Valerie Plame testified under oath about why Joe Wilson got sent to Niger and gave different answers at three different hearings.

While I fully expected Rove to avoid testifying at all costs, I must give props to Rove's lawyer for the "my comments were taken out of context dodge." It's a classic feint. Keeps your opponent guessing. This strings the whole process out at least another month without doing a damn thing and brings Rove that much closer to pardon time.

Andrew Sullivan Is A Fraud

Simpson has already testified under oath before the House Judiciary Committee. She told 60 Minutes some extra-juicy details that weren't in her testimony, so if this goes any further, expect her to be called back.

If Karl Rove never met her, there's no executive privilege at stake. He can just go under oath and tell Congress what he's already said to the American people.

If Simpson's caught lying, you better believe she'll be charged with perjury, or worse. She knows it, too. Yet, she's going up against Karl Rove.

Simpson's a single mom from Rainsville, AL and a lifelong Republican who has nothing whatsoever to gain and a lot to lose by severing her ties with the Alabama Republican establishment and calling out Karl Rove.

Looks like Karl called out Dan Abrams about Dana Jill Simpson.
Don’t you find it odd that in 143 pages of testimony in September she said nothing about having worked with me in campaigns, nothing about being asked by me to undertake various tasks, nothing about my supposedly having asked her to follow Governor Siegelman and photograph him in a compromising position, nothing about having had meetings with me? In fact, she never says she knows me or has met me. Don’t you find that odd? Or were these considerations that got lost as you attempted to catch-up with CBS on the story? Did the pressure of competition lead you to discard tough questions and sober reflection?
Quoting you
If Simpson's caught lying, you better believe she'll be charged with perjury, or worse. She knows it, too. Yet, she's going up against Karl Rove.
Valerie Plame was also going up against Karl Rove. Along with Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby.
I see no reason why Mr. Rove should be compelled to testify unless Ms. Simpson would like to testify to the extra-juicy details under oath.

Ms. Simpson won't get a choice about whether she tells her Karl Rove stories under oath. For ordinary people, a subpoena is a subpoena. Of course she'll have to testify again. It's only Republican Royalty like Karl Rove who can tell Congress to fuck off.

I see no reason why Mr. Rove should be compelled to testify. . .

You're missing the point. (Rather spectacularly, and I suspect, intentionally.) The core issue isn't whether Rove should be compelled to testify, or whether Simpson is lying. The core issue is whether, if Rove is in fact compelled to testify, he has the right to decide on his own that there was no reason to compel him, and that he can thus chuck the subpoena and the rule of law.

We see this Republican dodge all the time, most prominently with telecom amnesty. Decide that your side is on the right, make some half-assed arguments that you're in the right, and then make the amazing logical leap that there's no reason for your side to be bothered with that pesky rule of law. I'm sure Nixon is crying in his grave over the realization that he could have won U.S. v. Nixon by the simple expedient of judging the case himself, declaring himself the winner, and then refusing to show up in court.

Shorter Paul L: Republicans aren't compelled to obey the law.

Subpoenas are just engraved invitations these days.

That's cooptable.

I want to spread that all OVER THE INTERNET.


On the technical question of compulsion to testify: to the best of my knowledge Congress does not have the power to send U.S. Marshals to drag Rove into a hearing. The committee in question does have the power to find Rove in contempt of Congress. This is a criminal misdemeanor ($1K fine and/or 12 months in jail). According to the Cornel Univ. School of Law web site for the contempt charge to stick the "matter under investigation is a subject which Congress has constitutional power to legislate." It may turn out to be a question of whether the committee has the votes (or guts) to issue a contempt charge and whether they can fend off defense attorney's arguments. I do not see the matter as entirely clear. Perhaps a constitutional lawyer could contribute an answer?

The answer we got — “Sure.”

Luskin says he was quoted out of context.

I.e: "Sure he'll testify. When pigs fly, hell freezes over and Democrats actually try and enforce the law."

I don't know the details of federal and congressional practice, but in state courts a failure to appear for a civil subpeona can get you a capias, meaning the sheriff is going to pick you up, put you in handcuffs, keep you in jail overnight or over a long weekend if necessary, and present your sorry ass in court at the soonest opportunity.

It is a shame that Congress has less power to enforce felony contempt than the county probate court going after a deadbeat dad. Let's file that one in the 'remember for next constitutional convention' folder. That folder is getting thick...

I am suffering from scandal fatigue, there are just too many.

the sergeant-at-arms has this same arrest authority no matter WHO it is. I have many fantasies about bushCO in handcuffs.

I'd like to see what would happen if I ignored and flouted a subpeona.

And Paul - Valerie Wilson did not give 3 versions of her story - that is a flat out lie.

It seems if you had nothing to hide, you would cherish the opportunity to go to congress and clear his name while putting a critic in trouble for refuting her testimony. Refusing to honor a subpoena seems to me as an omition of guilt. What harm would be done by his testimony since it would be the truth, the truth and nothing but the truth? ... unless of course ... he did it.

Trickledown, in fairness to Mr. Rove, I believe that he's entitled to all the rights of any person accused of a crime. Refusing to honor a subpoena is an illegal flouting of a subpoena, not an admission of guilt. If he wants to obey the law, but is worried that his testimony might incriminate him in some way, he should show up to Congress and then plead the 5th. That would not be an admission of guilt either, but would, like the flouting of the subpoenta, raise red flags.

Inherent Contempt of Congress --> Arrest by the Sgt at Arms --> Turdblossom Perp Walk

At some point Congress has to grow a spine and use their own power to restore some incremental level of balance. The truth be told, I'd let Rove walk on all his crimes if he would fully disclose the inner most secret actions of David Addington.

There are actually two forms of contempt of congress (as opposed to the simple feeling of contempt so many of us have) the criminal contempt (which the president can pardon) and a civil contempt, which he can't.

The Sergeant at Arms can arrest the person for civil contempt and keep them in the one of the cells in the Capitol, or turn them over to the DC police, and they can be kept in the public jail.

For awhile *until the dog ate it* I kept a picture of georgelauraCO dancing all over the great seal of the USA at his second CORONIAL ball and THIS is what got me out of bed every day to envision the sergeant-at-arms doing JUST THAT.
And, thanks for the laugh (simple feeling of contempt we all feel towards them)
If he doensn't know Dana Jill Simpson then why would they run her off the road, burn her house down .....

Valerie Wilson did not give 3 versions of her story - that is a flat out lie.
•She told the CIA's inspector general in 2003 or 2004 that she had suggested Wilson.

•Plame told Senate Intelligence Committee staffers in 2004 that she couldn't remember whether she had suggested Wilson.

•She told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in March that an unidentified person in Vice President Cheney's office asked a CIA colleague about the African uranium report in February 2002. A third officer, overhearing Plame and the colleague discussing this, suggested, "Well, why don't we send Joe?" Plame told the committee.

Very impressive, Paul L! Given that numerous commentators have pointed out that this story is about Karl Rove's blatant refusal to obey the law, I thought that you had slunk away in shame. I hadn't anticipated your ability to retain a laser-like focus on attacking a CIA agent completely unrelated to the story. I applaud your ability to avoid even remotely relevant comments. But surely you could throw in some comments about how Hilary Clinton had Vince Foster killed? Put a little effort into it!

/Dull Monotone Voice On "Wow, I'm like, so surprised I almost had a heart attack. Karl Rove refusing to testify?" /Dull Monotone Voice Off

'kay Paul, are you playing a gotcha game or are you debating in good faith? I have to know because if you're playing a gotcha game, well, you're supposed to say "HAH! Gotcha!" and do your little dance and remain impervious to logic and reasoning.

Um. I don't want to seem like I'm trying to subtly insult you here, so let me be explicit: Yes, I do think you're playing such a game, and, metaphorically speaking, doing your little dance.

But from a rational perspective, one must note that there is nothing inconsistent about these stories.

Valerie Wilson wrote a memo outlining how her husband could handle the mission. That's a "suggestion". But that doesn't mean she was the original person who suggested her husband for the trip.

If she didn't remember what, exactly, she said in the memo, she could certainly say that she doesn't remember whether she'd recommended - read as "suggested" - her husband for the trip, or if she simply laid out the facts without any recommendation whatsoever.

Both of these can fit quite nicely with someone else having said "well, your husband handled this last time, why not send him?" leading to her writing a memo.

Yes, I know... it's not fair. If one thinks things through, if one insists on rationality - which has a well known liberal bias - then the gotcha game gets ruined and you can't do your dance in good faith (though I'm sure you'll do it anyway, hoping against hope that it might convince people who aren't willing to be rational).

But alas, it's the nature of reality, which grown-ups have to deal with on a day to day basis.

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