Friday, December 14, 2007

Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Contempt Citations for Rove and Bolten

The Senate Judiciary approved by a 12-7 vote -- Senators Specter and Grassley joined the ten Democrats in favor -- contempt citations (here) for former White House aides Karl Rove and Josh Bolten for their refusal to produce documents or even appear before the Committee as part of its investigation of the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys in 2006.  The contempt citation for Rove sets forth the crux of the dispute over Executive Privilege:

WHEREAS, Mr. Fielding, in an August 1, 2007 letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member, informed the Committee that the President would invoke a claim of executive privilege and a claim of immunity from congressional testimony for Mr. Rove, and directed Mr. Rove not to produce responsive documents or testify before the Committee about the firings, and that Mr. Rove would not appear in response to the Committee’s subpoena;

WHEREAS, Mr. Rove refused to appear or to produce documents or to testify at the Committee’s August 2, 2007, hearing in compliance with the subpoena;

Bolten, the President's former chief of staff, has the dubious honor of also being named, along with former White House Counsel Harriet Miers, in the earlier contempt citations approved by the House Judiciary Committee over the same claim of Executive Privilege.  Whether either side on Capitol Hill seeks a full vote of the chamber to authorize the contempt remains to be seen.  Of course, all Congress can do in these citations is ask the Department of Justice to pursue the case.  Whether or not Attorney General Mukasey would authorize a contempt proceeding remains an open question. (ph)

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