Friday, August 3, 2007
Scott Jennings, the White House deputy political director, showed up on Capitol Hill to testify -- somewhat -- before the Senate Judiciary Committee looking into the firing of nine U.S. Attorneys. But top Presidential aide Karl Rove did not appear, based on the assertion of Executive Privilege (letter from Counsel to the President Fred Fielding here) that purports to allow a close adviser to the President to not even appear when subpoenaed. The same rationale was applied to Harriet Miers, the former Counsel to the President, and former chief of staff Josh Bolton, and the House Judiciary Committee has taken steps to hold them in contempt for their refusal to appear. Whether the Senate will do likewise with Rove is an open question, and it may be an easier case with a former aide, such as Miers or Bolton, than one still working in the White House.
Because the White House only asserted the "no show" Executive Privilege for Rove, Jennings was stuck going before the Committee and getting beat up. He refused to answer any questions about the firings based on Executive Privilege, according to a CCN.Com article (here). He did testify about his use of a Republican National Committee e-mail account for which he was provided a Blackberry, but the White House refused to provide him with one for his governmental e-mail. Jennings testified that over time he used his RNC account as his default e-mail address, even to conduct official business, which violates the law regarding Presidential communications. Given the addictive nature of the "Crackberry," it's no surprise that Jennings found it much easier to use his handheld device to access all his e-mail. Somehow, I doubt he will become a spokesperson for Research in Motion any time soon. (ph)