A Timeline of Lamar Smith’s Pathetic Attempt to Save Karl Rove

I noticed something rather curious about the timeline of Lamar Smith’s panicked attempt to save Karl Rove’s ass.

July 1: Luskin writes Conyers claiming "Mr. Rove will respectfully decline before the Subcommittee on July 10 on the grounds that Executive Privilege confers upon him immunity from process in response to a subpoena directed to this subject."

July 9: Michael Mukasey says that, "there are various avenues open for exploring those allegations [that Rove was involved in the Siegelman proscution], including exploring their source and having testimony on the subject."

July 9: Fred Fielding writes to Luskin who writes to Congress invoking absolute immunity–but not once mentioning Executive Privilege.

July 15: Lamar Smith submits questions to Karl, giving a July 16 deadline.

July 15: Luskin confirms receipt of the questions for Karl, stating they will respond by July 22.

July 22: Luskin submits Karl’s responses.

July 23: Mukasey testifies and is asked–predictably–about why Rove can’t show up if Mukasey himself has said they can have a hearing. As a follow-up to that question, Darrell Issa introduces Rove’s responses into the record, claiming Rove has therefore dispensed with any questions that might be asked of him that don’t relate to Executive Privilege (and he uses that term).

You see, Lamar Smith’s attempt to save Karl Rove’s ass didn’t even start until after Rove had blown off Congress! It was not, then, an attempt to proactively get testimony from Rove. It was an attempt (however pathetic transparent) to be able to claim that Rove had provided information to Congress before Attorney General Mukasey came to testify. (In fact, I’d wager that the colloquy someone tried to invite Conyers into at the beginning of the hearing was an attempt to enter these questions into the record before Mukasey first got asked about Rove’s non-appearance.)

I suspect the Republicans all know that Rove’s no-show was completely illegal, based not least on his claim that these were his "official duties." I suspect they see some risk that Mukasey will balk at this one (I’ll do another post on this, but Mukasey seemed to claim that Rove had properly invoked Executive Privilege, even while DOJ hadn’t done any analysis of the instant request). And given the risk that Rove’s entire basis for blowing off the Subcommittee is so obviously unfounded, they got these questions to try to tamp down the calls for Rove to testify.

  1. AZ Matt says:

    Frankly, Rove is the genuis who got the Repubs in the fix they are in. When you find yourself in a hole stop digging is usually the rule. These Repubs are stupid.

    • scribe says:

      These Repubs are stupid

      Good thing, that stupidity. If they were half as smart as they think themselves, we’d be in even deeper trouble.

  2. looseheadprop says:

    (In fact, I’d wager that the colloquy someone tried to invite Conyers into at the beginning of the hearing was an attempt to enter these questions into the record before Mukasey first got asked about Rove’s non-appearance.)

    I suspect you are right.

  3. JTMinIA says:

    I don’t agree that “Mukasey seemed to claim that Rove had properly invoked EP” (unless you read a lot onto Mukasey actually said). Mukasey flat-out refused to address this question when asked, saying only that there are “differing opinions” on the matter and that whether one has to appear to claim EP (or some other magical excuse) is being litigated.

    With that said, pointing out that Lamar Smith didn’t submit his Qs to Rove until after Rove’s lawyer said he wasn’t coming is very useful.

    • emptywheel says:

      I’ll have a YouTube and discussion of this up once I go to the store and write up a post.

      But here’s what I wrote in the liveblog:

      Sanchez: In response to questioning before SJC about Siegelman, you stated there are: Various avenues open for exploring those allegations, including having testimony on the subject. Given that, do you support Karl Rove’s decision to ignore a Congressional subpoena?

      MM: As I understand it, Rove acted at request of President subsequent to EP. Offered to meet, and

      Sanchez: My understanding is that if the WH wants to invoke EP, witness has to show up.

      MM: That’s a matter that’s being litigated.

      Sanchez: You agree that Karl Rove can ignore a congressional subpoena.

      MM: Question is whether someone has to appear, when proper EP has been made.

      Mukasey first of all said that Bush invoked EP, which he didn’t (though I know it is a privilege tied to the executive). But when he says it’s a qusetion of whether someone has to show up “when proper EP has been made.”

      Now, if Sanchez could think on her feet she 1) wouldn’t have accepted Mukasey’s claim that Bush DID invoke EP. More importantly, then, she wouldhave said, “are you claiming that EP was properly invoked here.” He didn’t say that, but that’s what he implied.

  4. LS says:

    So is Lamar Smith obstructing justice? What is really in it for him personally to “involve” himself in this??? Maybe he was in on it (the Siegelman stuff) somehow. Just sayin’.

    Maybe Lamar called Marge…I mean Dana, saying he was Karl…./s

  5. SparklestheIguana says:

    The Anita Hill-ing of Dana Jill Simpson has begun….Rove’s statement quotes a Weekly Standard article which quotes “fellow DeKalb County lawyers” who think Simpson is “a very strange person” who “lives in her own world.” Damning, very damning. And she is not a “Republican operative” as she claims, but the daughter of “rabid Democrats”!

    What’s next – she’s slutty, has cats? Wears shawls?

  6. skdadl says:

    In fact, I’d wager that the colloquy someone tried to invite Conyers into at the beginning of the hearing was an attempt to enter these questions into the record before Mukasey first got asked about Rove’s non-appearance.

    Gosh, but I’m glad you’re on our side (whichever side that is). I’ve just been walking about wondering wtheck that could have been about.

    I don’t know whether she scares the enemy, but she sure scares me.

    (That’s me paraphrasing some general — and I just know someone here will pop up right away with the reference. I just got back from hunting for supper for teh kittehs, and I am too tired to google.)

  7. WilliamOckham says:

    I would like to point out one thing about Rove’s answers to Smith’s questions. Simpson alleged that Bill Canary claimed that Rove told him that Rove had spoken to the Justice Department. Bill Canary holds no official position in Alabama. So, Rove hasn’t denied talking to Canary about Siegelman’s case:

    I have never communicated, either directly or indirectly, with Justice Department or Alabama officials about the investigation, indictment, potential prosecution, prosecution, conviction, or sentencing of Governor Siegelman …

    • emptywheel says:

      Right–made that point in my previous post. Rove’s answers also don’t rule out his having talked to Rob (son of Governor Bob, but not in govt) Riley.

      • WilliamOckham says:

        Sorry, I missed that earlier. The only factual point of Simpson’s that Rove has actually denied is whether or not the two have ever communicated. I wonder why he thinks he can sustain that?

  8. scribe says:

    An open question to the lawyers in the audience:

    As interrogatories and answers to interrogatories go, don’t you all think these were an answer of some of the crappier-quality drafting? To me, the questions all gave the impression of having been copy, paste, change a word and repeat, and the answers (when they weren’t citing the Weekly Standard as an authoritative source of anything) had the same mechanical repetition.

    And, there are logical holes in these – both questions and answers – big enough to drive the proverbial truck through.

    • looseheadprop says:

      I don’t see the utility of doing these answers, as a matter of law. you expose yourself to possible onstruction charges, may have given a waiver of EP as BMAZ has pinted out and have not prurged yourself of your contempt of Congress.

      However, I think this was done so Karl and the rest of his flying monekys can try to spin a “karl has answered/withchunt by Dems” meme.

      • JimWhite says:

        However, I think this was done so Karl and the rest of his flying monekys can try to spin a “karl has answered/withchunt by Dems” meme.

        I’ll withhold my judgment on that until Cass Sunstein pronounces that Karl has answered the questions.

        • looseheadprop says:

          I’ll withhold my judgment on that until Cass Sunstein pronounces that Karl has answered the questions.

          I think that IS part of Karl’s intended audience. The flying monkey have to turn it into COnventional Wisdom, so Obama can consign it into the “witch hunt” catagory

    • techmom says:

      I’m not a lawyer but I thought the cut/paste repetitiveness of the answers were in order to make ones eyes glaze over in boredom and not catch all the stuff in between the lines that this and the last post and comments are catching. Major weeds for major weedeaters.

    • bmaz says:

      Heh heh, you are probably right; but I’ll be honest, that I so hated responding to stinking interrogatories that I would have not even bothered cutting and pasting. In the subsequent ones I would simply say “See answer to Question 1 above”. I am not the right guy to ask; other than sending out the standard local pattern interrogs, I just noticed up people for depos.

  9. racymind says:

    I have to wonder if we are being laughed at by the opposition. We are this far into the game, and we are stamping our feet over a Republican submitting oversight questions for another Republican to answer – by mail.

    Makes me want to throw furniture…

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The issue was not to put information into the public record. It was to give the appearance of putting information into the public record. Standard operating procedure for an administration built on lies and appearances and making friends rich on the taxpayer’s dime. That’s why wars have been fought over establishing governments of law, not of men.

    • Citizen92 says:

      Hear hear!

      The Congressional Record is an official publication, but doesn’t necessarily tabulate things that really happened. Rove’s contrived Q&A’s appearing in that publication carry the same weight then if they were written on the bathroom wall.

      Remember back in 2006 when Rep. Sens. Linsday Graham and John Kyl were caught “having a debate” on Gitmo appear in the Congressional Record — a debate that never actually happened because it was a “colloguy?” It never happened because someone wrote it up, pauses and all, to make it seem a debate had occured when it hadnt…?

      to the official Congressional Record of Dec. 21, 2005, Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) held a long conversation on the Senate floor about an amendment bearing Graham’s name that restricts the legal rights of detainees in the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

      “I agree entirely,” Graham responds to Kyl at one point. “I have just been handed a memorandum on this subject,” Kyl says later. Another Republican senator, Sam Brownback of Kansas, interrupts the two with his own commentary.

      But those exchanges never occurred. Instead, the debate — which runs 15 pages and brims with conversational flourishes — was inserted into the Congressional Record minutes before the Senate gave final approval to the legislation.


      Same deal here. Just because the questions/answers appear in a government record doesn’t mean they’re real, or true, or more legitimate than heresay. Just Rove’s usual MO at work here to make something seem real. When it ain’t.

  11. lizard says:

    At one point in Mukasey’s testimony (looking like a pissed-off garden gnome) he answered “in the abstract, no” when asked if something qualified for executive privilege. CSPAN doesn’t have the hearing up yet. Anybody remember the question?

    • Citizen92 says:

      It was a question from Wexler about whether Rove needed to appear for the subpoena or not.

  12. wwiii says:

    I am so tired of listening to these people and their equivocations. Will testify but not under oath. Will testify but not with a transcript. Will testify but not publicly. Will testify but only to my friends.

    All these big, tough corporate types.

    Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove, Bolton, Addington–they are all really good at making their own reality and f***ing those who cross them and taking risks with other people’s lives and money and future. But, boy, when their own pasty, wrinkled backsides are on the line, they make jellyfish look like vertebrates.

    Which of course leaves me wondering how much further down the invertebrate scale one needs to go to locate Congressional Democrats.

  13. MarkH says:

    I thought Rove was on his way to Yalta. Didn’t he go? Is he back already? Has he answered questions from afar? Did his lawyer answer for him?

    What gives?

    • emptywheel says:

      He was in Sweden and Yalta the week of the subpoena but was back the following week appearing on Fox, talking to the Television Critics Association and having lunch with Bush.