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Panel Cites Rove for Contempt

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Posted on Jul 31, 2008
White House / Eric Draper

President Bush in a makeshift situation room with Karl Rove at the far right on Sept. 11, 2001.

The House Judiciary Committee cited former presidential adviser Karl Rove for contempt of Congress because of his refusal to testify on the politicization of the Justice Department. There’s still plenty of red tape keeping Bush’s Brain from a day of reckoning. A full vote on the citation won’t happen—if it happens at all—until September, and by the time the lawyers get involved, George W. Bush will be back in Crawford whacking brush.

AP via Google:

The committee decision is only a recommendation; a spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she would not decide until September whether to bring it to a vote by the full House. If she does and Democrats prevail, Pelosi could then refer the contempt citation to the Justice Department for prosecution. She also could direct the House to file a federal lawsuit against Rove, as she has done with two other Bush confidants who similarly sidestepped their subpoenas: White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former presidential legal counselor Harriet Miers.

Rove’s attorney, Robert Luskin, called the contempt citation “gratuitously punitive” action that would serve no purpose because the question of executive privilege is already pending in federal court.

Indeed, the fate of that suit illustrates the conundrum of lame-duck oversight. Even if a judge rules that the Miers and Bolten case should proceed, it would be resolved long after Bush leaves office.

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By cyrena, August 1, 2008 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment

By cann4ing, August 1 at 9:08 am

“...Perhaps the first step at that point would be to press for a removal of Nancy the-constitution-is-off-the-table Pelosi from her powerful position as Speaker….”



I love this one…great name. smile

Of course we can continue to press for her removal, or we could speed it up. What if something caused a reaction to all of the botox?

Or, what if I just break both of her legs and arms, and give that head/neck a real serious spin…like that of a roulette wheel? It could be my practice for learning how to feed myself by growing and cooking my own chickens.

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By cann4ing, August 1, 2008 at 10:08 am Link to this comment

Writer:  I always appreciate your thoughtful comments.  But I’m not certain your pessimism over possible future prosecutions is warranted.  I think it important that progressives work tirelessly through organizations like the PDA to insure the election to Congress of people committed not only to the progressive agenda but to the rule of law, and it will be important, assuming that this election provides the Democratic landslide that is shaping up, that all of us keep up the pressure to shine a light on the criminality of the past eight years and to effectuate appropriate prosecutions.  Perhaps the first step at that point would be to press for a removal of Nancy the-constitution-is-off-the-table Pelosi from her powerful position as Speaker.

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By WriterOnTheStorm, August 1, 2008 at 9:22 am Link to this comment

When it comes to the villainous Mr Rove, I’ve been recommending contempt for years.

Unfortunately, he will go unpunished for his crimes against democracy and the people of this country. Once this administration is out of office all will be forgotten - even by the readers of truthdig. As the years pass and the collective amnesia sets in, the “eminence gris” of the Neocon movement may even be admired by those who wish to manipulate the system for their own foul(er) purposes.

For this reason, I would like to see a new precedent of continued aggressive investigation and prosecution of the Bush administration even after their term expires. The idea that because they no loner hold power, they are harmless, or that it’s somehow good for the nation to forgive and to move on as we have always done in the past simply can not apply here. The harm Rove and his ilk have done to the nation, the economy, international relations and to the democratic process requires vigilant action.  The people want it, but the constitution demands it.

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By cann4ing, August 1, 2008 at 8:15 am Link to this comment

As usual, our Rus doesn’t have a clue.  Bush publicly stated that he had ordered the NSA to conduct electronic surveillance of U.S. citizens without seeking a FISA court warrant.  This is an “admission” that he violated FISA, which expressly stated that it was the “exclusive” means for conducting such surveillance and that violations of FISA are a “felony”!  Bush publicly admitted that he authorized the CIA to waterboard detainees.  Despite Mukasey’s professed inability to say it, “waterboarding” = torture, always has!  (My father was waterboarded by the Japanese Kempetai in Shanghai.  His 1948 testimony at the War Crimes Trials in Hong Kong helped to convict a Japanese general and his subordinates.  By authorizing torture, Bush violated the U.S. War Crimes Act—also a felony.  The case made by Vincent Bugliosi in “The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder” that Bush/Cheney willfully deceived both Congress and the American people in order to take this nation to war, and the initiation of that war amount to the “highest” crimes a president could possibly commit.

Finally, on the topic at hand—Rus would have done well to read the ruling made yesterday by a U.S. District Court judge pertaining to Harriet Myers & and Joshua Bolton, instead of simply pressing the reset button on the Fixed News talking points recorder.  The judge noted that there is “no precedent” to support the argument that the aids of a president have an absolute immunity that would permit them to refuse to appear before Congress to testify and produce documents.  He would also do well to read the Supreme Court decision, U.S. vs. Nixon, which stated that even the president’s personal ability to invoke “executive privilege” is a limited and qualified one that must give way when there is a need to investigate the possibility of criminal wrongdoing.

Rus would also do well to review the history of impeachment of that same Richard M. Nixon.  One of the articles of impeachment which was supported by all but two members of the House entailed the abuse of power in Nixon’s refusal to turn evidence over to the House Judiciary Committee.  One of the two members who voted against impeachment, a Congressman Langrebbe, when asked how he could oppose impeachment in light of the “smoking gun” revelations on the Nixon tapes, said:  “Don’t bother me with the facts.  My mind’s made up.”  That appears to describe our Rus.

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By Tony Wicher, August 1, 2008 at 8:15 am Link to this comment

Rus7355, August 1 at 6:50 am #

What you mean is that these crooks are going to get away with it, the last remnants of democracy and constitutional law will perish and the country will go down the toilet forever. You’re probably right, but I hope you aren’t.

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By Tony Wicher, July 31, 2008 at 8:51 pm Link to this comment

By cyrena, July 31 at 1:06 pm #

With less than 6 months remaining on this tab, what should be happening now, (and I believe that it is, even if not on the surface of Pelosi’s real politick) is a preparation to get the whole flippin’ bunch of them before a tribunal of some sort, as soon as Obama is inaugurated.

God I hope you’re right!

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By tigger, July 31, 2008 at 3:44 pm Link to this comment

As we all know that Pres Bush does not follow the rules as we do.  He believes he can do what he wants, so its no wonder he pardons who he pleases.  The only thing I will say is that Rove is as guilty as we all know he is, and Pelosi should continue to do all she can to nab him for contempt.  I have never seen a Presidency so full of lies, backstabbing, firings, and leaving of politicians as I have with this administration. 
Should of impeached Bush if we could of, but then look who follows in his footsteps.
I wonder if George Sr. is embarrased?  At least George Sr had more graceful tact and more common sense with negotiations than his son does!

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By cyrena, July 31, 2008 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment

Re:By jleman, July 31 at 5:41 am #

•  “Are we not noticing what happened to one person already convicted and pardoned by Bush? Are we not noticing what Bush did to Daddy’s records as they were about to come to light?

If this all happens while Bush or one of the right’s minions is in power, all will come to naught…”
I noticed jleman, and your points are well taken. With less than 6 months remaining on this tab, what should be happening now, (and I believe that it is, even if not on the surface of Pelosi’s real politick) is a preparation to get the whole flippin’ bunch of them before a tribunal of some sort, as soon as Obama is inaugurated. (I think Purple Girl mentioned that). And, Obama has indicated he’s willing to do that, (major investigations of crimes against these thugs) even though he also doesn’t want the first of new administration work efforts to be totally bogged down with the prosecution of the previous regime.

That’s why I personally think he should start with a few of the basics, like revealing ALL of the signing statements of this thug regime, and making it clear that he will keep all of that and all future ‘signing statements’  in the public eye. I also think the MCA should be the first of the outrageous laws/amendments that the new Congress should overturn. It is that legislation, (The Military Commissions Act) that has in fact already provided many of the ‘pardons’ for the most heinous of their crimes. At the same time, some SERIOUS and uncorrupted Commission or Tribunal needs to be established to get to the heart of what these people have done to us and our governmental structure, so that they can be tried here, and then turned over to the World Court to decide their fate on that level at The Hague. However, if we FAIL to do it, the World Court still can, and Obama knows that as well.

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By cann4ing, July 31, 2008 at 1:37 pm Link to this comment

Pelosi is a piece of work.  She won’t do anything to enforce the rule of law because she thinks it would somehow harm the chance of routing the Republicans in November—ignoring that is precisely this willingness to put political expedience above her solemn oath to support and defend the constitution of these United States which has led to a lower approval rating for Congress than for Bush himself.

Recently, she appeared on Oprah and said that the reason impeachment is off the table is because “she” has not seen any evidence that Bush committed any crimes—this despite the man’s openly admitted violations of FISA (a felony); admission to authorizing waterboarding (a recognized form of torture and a violation of the Federal War Crimes Act) and compelling evidence that he wilfully lied to Congress and the American people in order to initiate a war of aggression in Iraq.

Perhaps Nancy doesn’t see any of this because she spent so much of Bush’s SOTU staring at his behind.  She has her head so far up the president’s a$$ that it is difficult to tell where she ends and he begins.

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By webbedouin, July 31, 2008 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

Judge Rules Bush Aides Must Obey Congressional Subpoenas

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By Outraged, July 31, 2008 at 10:18 am Link to this comment

It appears the subpoenas issued to other Bush “aiders and abettors” are going to stand.  How’s your “brain” Rove, gotta headache do ya…?

“A federal judge ruled this morning that White House aides can be subpoenaed to testify before Congress.

U.S. District Judge John Bates ordered Harriet Miers, a former White House counsel, to testify about the removal of nine federal prosecutors, according to Bloomberg News.”

>A portion of the court’s opinion:

“Indeed, the aspect of this lawsuit that is unprecedented is the notion that Ms. Miers is absolutely immune from compelled congressional process. The Supreme Court has reserved absolute immunity for very narrow circumstances, involving the President’s personal exposure to suits for money damages based on his official conduct or concerning matters of national security or foreign affairs. The Executive’s current claim of absolute immunity from compelled congressional process for senior presidential aides is without any support in the case law.

... The Executive cannot identify a single judicial opinion that recognizes absolute immunity for senior presidential advisors in this or any other context. That simple yet critical fact bears repeating: the asserted absolute immunity claim here is entirely unsupported by existing case law. In fact, there is Supreme Court authority that is all but conclusive on this question and that powerfully suggests that such advisors do not enjoy absolute immunity. The Court therefore rejects the Executive’s claim of absolute immunity for senior presidential aides.”

>This same article also has a link to the court’s full opinion.

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By Purple Girl, July 31, 2008 at 9:30 am Link to this comment

In fact they can begin all the investigations and trials they want- but Do Not give Bush the opportunity to pardon any of these Traitors and Criminals.
If the Dems are not as stupidor complicit as they currently appear, their game plan should be just that- get all the ducks in a row and hold on to the verdicts until Sen Obama inaugerated. If by chance Cheneycorp is able to steal this election again (like Reagan, like H.W, Clinton?, and certainly W’s)and Mac is handed the WH- the Dems should be investigating Him, so he can be impeached immediately. Mac has a long history of putting Corps before Country- i’m sure we can indict him on one of his criminal activities.
If Dems want to not feel the wrath of theAmerican Citizens come Nov, and this is their ultimate plan, someone had better at least give a hint…otherwise I hope a number of Dems face obstruction of justice charges and complicity.
Antoher great reason to name Hagel as Obama’s VP- the cleaning out of our covert operattives can be done in a Bipartisan fashion!

Obama/Hagel ‘08

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By webbedouin, July 31, 2008 at 9:21 am Link to this comment

“But you have to admit…at this point, would YOU want to be known as “Bush’s brain”.  What synonym would we use for that…?  Be creative…..”

I hate to say it, but W named him well, “Turd Blossom”

It’s time Congress sent the Sargent of Arms after Rove and had him locked up in the basement of the House until he talks under oath.

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By southparker, July 31, 2008 at 7:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If any charges are brought while Bush is still in office, a pardon would be almost immediate.  Demo congress should be preparing cases against the whole administration to be brought out after Jan. when no pardoning could be done.  I hope they are just biding their time, but I won’t be surprised if this admin. gets away with the illegalities and atrocities they’ve commited scott free.

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By Louise, July 31, 2008 at 7:18 am Link to this comment

Punitive being damages awarded other than monetary. Gratuitous being uncalled for punishment.


So, does that mean Karl’s attorney concedes the guilt by labeling the charges tried and awarded already, but he finds the damage award called for to be uncalled for punishment?

Don’t you just love lawyer-speak?

Oh duh ... of course that’s what he means. Rove was subpoenaed by congress. He refused to honor that subpoena. Therefore he IS in contempt of that subpoena, and congress. No mystery here. Although I am sure it will fly over the heads of congress creatures everywhere.

So golly whiz ... you’re off the hook Nancy. Doesn’t matter what you do, or the nothing you will probably do. Even Karl’s lawyer concedes his guilt. wink

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By jleman, July 31, 2008 at 6:41 am Link to this comment

Are we not noticing what happened to one person already convicted and pardoned by Bush? Are we not noticing what Bush did to Daddy’s records as they were about to come to light?
If this all happens while Bush or one of the right’s minions is in power, all will come to naught.
My suggestion is to take to the streets if the right once again “wins” a presidential election. If need be, a few major media headquarters being sacked will be played out around the world. Let Murdock flee the country. This would be “good” news to many people. Make them spend their money on “their” security.
As many of us will be unemployed by then, there will be many volunteers I’m sure to “escort” the group of them before Congress as the Justice department has already been “politicized” and refuses to do their jobs.

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By Jim Yell, July 31, 2008 at 5:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Rove has refused a legal warrent and so the question should be “why isn’t he in jail?” Do you think any regular citizen(actually we are all supposed to be regular citizens)would still be sitting in their comfy chair days after refusing a legal warrent?

When in fact does the accused or even a witness have the right to define when and if he shows up in court aka Congress?

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By nrobi, July 31, 2008 at 3:35 am Link to this comment

One is a genius, the other insane.
I truly believe that this cartoon is indicative of the level of intelligence of the current president, and he is not the brain.
Karl Rove, to be called the president’s brain, has to be rankling at the thought that the shrub cannot think without him and makes all the wrong moves when it comes to waking up in the morning.
As the shrub has said in the past, he does not read the newspapers for the articles of importance, he expects his underlings to give him the highlights of those articles they deem important.
Surely, this presidency will go down in history as the most disastrous for foreign policy and domestic policy goofs and standoffs with Congress.
His Majesty, King George II, does not and cannot understand the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, because if he did, the things that have taken place would not have and he personally would have more respect for the separation of powers that is one of the foundation stones of the Constitution.
The Bill of Rights, the other foundation stone upon which this country is built has been shredded, much the same as the Constitution. No more are the rights of the citizens of the US guaranteed by the courts, as we, the people do not have the right of habeaus corpus, the right to face our accusers and the right to a speedy trial. The Constitution on the other hand, has been overtaken by an imperial presidency, that makes decisions based upon flimsy memos of understanding, that are not worth the powder to blow them up with. While the King, has the power to pardon those of his minions, who have broken every law of the land, including the laws against torture and mistreatment of prisoners.
The cartoon, more than explains the relationship that Karl Rove and the president have. He, Karl Rove, truly was the power behind the throne, and he made the most of it, showing his true feelings for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
His contempt for the separation of powers, inherent in the Constitution, shows how much of a patriot he truly is. He has shown contempt for Congress at such an alarming display, that it is not possible for the Congress not to hold him in contempt and refer this case to the Justice Department for prosecution.
Much the same as the cartoon, Pinky defers his own feelings and thoughts to those of the Brain. This about sums up the relationship that the president and Karl Rove have.
Should there be a trial one day, and I hope that everyone of the lying and despicable people of this administration, face a jury of their peers, in the International Court of the Hague, for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide, I hope with all my heart that these people have the rights that they have not given the citizens of America, and those captured on the field of battle. For these men and women, are among the most despicable and heinous that this country has ever produced.

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By Loose Fur, July 31, 2008 at 3:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Honestly, does anyone believe Gutless Old Pelosi is actually going do anything about Rove, Bush, Cheney, et. al.?

Sorry, but she is just totally useless as House Speaker, unless you like having her obstruct impeachment hearings and all meaningful investigation of this corrupt administration.

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By Outraged, July 31, 2008 at 1:57 am Link to this comment

Possibly Mr. Rove’s lawyer doesn’t understand how “gratuitous” America would like to be to his client.  We don’t want to appear “ungracious” for what Mr. Rove has done to our country.  We very conscientiously would like to respond “in kind” for Mr. Rove’s “service”.  For god’s sake, far be from us to not “notice” Mr. Rove’s “outstanding contributions”.

But you have to admit…at this point, would YOU want to be known as “Bush’s brain”.  What synonym would we use for that…?  Be creative…..

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