Will the House Hold Rove in Contempt before March 4?

Just before I disappeared for a week, John Conyers sent Karl Rove a sternly-worded letter insisting Rove show up for his deposition today.

I also cannot agree to your request for a delay to accommodate Mr. Rove’s schedule. As you know, the deposition was originally scheduled for February 2. On January 29 I in good faith acceded to your request for a delay since you were scheduled to be out of town at the time and requested more time to prepare. I also notified your office of the new February 23 date at that time. Thus, absent an actual commitment by Mr. Rove to comply with the subpoena, I am not in a position to agree to yet a further delay. In essence, given Mr. Rove’s public statements that he does not intend to comply with the subpoena, I am puzzled as to why Mr. Rove needs a mutually convenient date to appear.

Well, the blogger formerly known as Kagro X reports that Rove indeed blew off the House Judiciary Committee (for what must be the third or fourth time) today (h/t Petrocelli).

I find that interesting for several reasons. First, remember that Conyers sent that sternly-worded letter at a point when HJC was already negotiating with the Obama White House about what to do with the Miers/Bolten suit.  

Next, consider some of the other language Conyers used in his sternly-worded letter.

Finally, conducting a voluntary deposition under these circumstances [limiting testimony to the Siegelman witch hunt and excluding the US Attorney firings and other politicization issues] could simply serve to further delay matters beyond the nearly two years I have been waiting, since the Committee could not then be in a position to utilize contempt or other enforcement mechanisms in response to any improper refusal to answer questions. [my emphasis]

Conyers was clearly thinking about contempt when he wrote that letter–at a time when he was in negotiations on the Miers/Bolten suit.

Finally, as I reported earlier, Obama got the second week of his requested two week delay for his brief on the Miers/Bolten suit. HJC agreed to go along with that delay.

Now, I have no reason (besides noting the coincident dates) to believe that there’s a connection between the additional week extension on the Appeals Court brief and any response to Rove’s latest contempt for an HJC subpoena.

But I do note that if Rove were immediately held in contempt by HJC and if the House were to act with any dispatch to vote on contempt, Rove might well be in contempt by the time Obama briefs the Appeals Court a week from Wednesday. Mind you, things like that don’t usually happen so quickly in the House. But it would make the discussion about the Appeal more interesting. 

50 replies
    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Yup. Millions are watching.
      Watching Rove get his sleazy, lying ass off the hook is just not going to sit well with people bailing out the reckless Wall Streeters, to say nothing of our own neighbors. I really abhor that Santelli rant at CNBC, and I think the guy’s an ass. But the fact that he hit such a chord — spewing more disinformation — is pretty interesting.

      Santelli is a rightwing McCain supporter, but I think there’s a bit of a blur these days:
      Wall Street is illegal, and they get away with it and we’re all supposed to bail their sleazy asses; Rove’s conduct is now flagrantly illegal — and we’re all just supposed to sit by and watch?

      All that ‘illegalness’ starts to blur at this point.
      Even if hauling Rove’s sorry ass isn’t going to address the problems on Wall Street, nor with a feckless SEC and financial system, it would be one small, concrete action that would signal that there is a cavalry, there is a cop in town who’s not crooked and doesn’t sell out.

      And until we see something like that, the Santelli’s are liable to add fuel to a huge, sort of amorphous, seething resentment. And IMHO that resentment only grows when very public people flip off the law, lie to the FBI, laugh at Congress and get away with it. FWIW, that’s very socially destablizing.

      Conyers and the House have to find some cajones.
      If they don’t the Santelli’s, Limbaughs, Hannity’s and other toxic spewers just get more wind in their sails.

      • Leen says:

        Remember when Rep Cannon (R/Utah) danced around for Rove and told us all that Karl had vacation plans. That’s why he did not show up.

        Imagine any of us using such an excuse. Obama/Holder “no one is above the law” horse shit. Americans are watching the whole world is watching we all know this statement is complete and utter horse shit.

        Cannon dancing for Rove and the Bush administration

  1. MsAnnaNOLA says:

    Here is hoping he sees the inside of a jail cell for contempt. It is a bad precedent when high government officials ignore a congressional subpeona.

    We cannot stand by while we have one set of rules for regular Americans and another set of rules for high government officials.

    He needs to testify or go to jail. My Dad spent time in jail for not revealing his sources for newspaper articles. If he can do time, Turdblossom can certainly do his.

    • Leen says:

      Hell I have friends who did six years for cultivation of marijuana.

      You would think Rove, Libby, etc could do some time for outing a CIA undercover agent whose job was following the path and sales of WMD’s. You would think the folks who created and disseminated false WMD intelligence and the result has been the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives, thousands of injuries and millions of refugees would do some time in prison.

      No No our so called justice system throws people in prison for cultivation of marijuana and lets the big time thugs who undermine national security walk.

      Justice under the law….what a complete sham

  2. Rayne says:

    So fed up with this sternly worded letter crap, having such dark thoughts.

    It’s so tempting to suggest the feds pick up the SOB and take him to Gitmo and use the “wet towel technique” on him. Doesn’t matter any longer if we get the truth out of the fat slug, just make him suffer until somebody gets enough spine to investigate torture and make the torture really stop.

    It could be a two-fer — the wingers get pissed off enough to want to stop torture, and Karl gets the closest thing to justice that he’ll ever see.

    But we’ll just whip off another sternly worded letter instead, and that’ll be the end of it all.

    • bobschacht says:

      I think you’re wandering off the Lake with these thoughts. I don’t want to see Rove waterboarded. I think it would be sufficiently therapeutic for him to sit on a bucket set upside down, staring at mops and economy-sized containers of Pine-Sol. Without his blackberry to comfort him. Such an environment might help him to clarify his mind.

      Bob in HI

    • Synoia says:

      We’re outraged at your imputation that we endorse violence. We do not. We do however support enhanced interrogation thechniques, and we have various opinions from the US DOJ, that the actions we endorse are neither violent not extreme.

      • dakine01 says:

        So you want to use the Bush DoJ as the example of what should be allowed?

        Shame. On. You.

        Please do not include me in your we.

          • dakine01 says:

            Sorry but I don’t want to be associated even jokingly with the actions of the Bush DoJ and torture.

            I have to be associated as a citizen of the US who had those actions done in my name. Jokingly using their actions as an excuse to continue it in any way shape or form towards anyone is not something that I countenance.

            There are ways to snark about BushCo and such without touching on violent acts.

            • chetnolian says:

              Aw c’mon. Cheer up! No one thinks the Lake ever had any responsibility for anything Bushco did. Synoia’s was avery good snark indeed.

              • dakine01 says:

                I was speaking only for myself. I would never be so presumptuous as to think I could speak for “The Lake.”

            • macaquerman says:

              I certainly don’t wish to even appear to argue with your revulsion from violence, but, unless I’m reading incorrectly, Synoia was doing no more than mocking the DOJ and former administration’s denial that torture was practiced.

            • Loo Hoo. says:

              Okay, but can we put him on a platform above a tiny toy pool and throw tennis balls at a target? Can we dress him funny for it? Just imagine the revenue…and we need it.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      But Congress has to act.
      Like you, I take that rant by Santelli to suggest that people are closer to the edge than is good for any of us.

    • Rayne says:

      Oh egregious — you know I don’t wish that, it’s just a temptation.

      I actually rather like bobschacht’s buckets-and-pinesol vision.

      The smell would be a vast improvement.

  3. Leen says:

    Congress to the Bush administration…here is where we draw the line, no here is where we draw the line, now wait a minute ….here is where we draw the line.

    Who was it in the Bush administration who said something about pushing and pushing until a larger force said “stop” Oh yeah that would be David Addington. The whole administration rode this wave. Finally the voters said “stop” We are still waiting for congress to do the same.

    Addington once expressed his general attitude toward accommodation when he said, “We’re going to push and push and push until some larger force makes us stop.” He and, I presumed, his boss viewed power as the absence of constraint.

  4. PJEvans says:

    You missed the snark in the last line again (TPM had the PDF of this).
    Conyers used the phrase ‘a mutually convenient date to fail to appear‘.

    He knew this was going to happen again. I hope this time the sergeant-at-arms gets sent out to bring in Rove’s pasty white rear.

    • emptywheel says:

      Uh you mean the PDF that I linked above (and in my first post on this)?

      I think you’re actually missing my point.

      Yes, Conyers knew this was going to happen. That is the point. And yet he sent the letter at a time when he was in cooperative negotiations with the Obama team, when teh Obama team was asking for an extension.

      In other words, Conyers made sure to set up another ROve blow-off in time to occur before Obama’s next move.

  5. Stephen says:

    At the least these individuals, especially Rove, Cheney and Addington should be put under very heavy surveillance with extreme prejudice. They are enemies of the American People.

  6. maryo2 says:

    Could you explain what Conyers meant by “since the Committee could not then be in a position to utilize contempt or other enforcement mechanisms”?

    Two years ago, Conyer’s Committee not only could not utilize, but could not be in a position to even try to utilize the Sergeant at Arms. What does he mean?

  7. spoonful says:

    Maybe Conyers is trying to address what could be argued by Rove as a Statute of Limitations (6 years I believe) defense if his testimony reveals culpability, yet is pushed far enough into the future so that he escapes jeopardy. I personally disagree that such a defense would hold, but it all depends on who the judges are who would ultimately decide such issue.

  8. Palli says:

    OK…so tell me why didn’t the citizen arrest work against Rove a few months ago….Could it now?…10-30 citizens surround him in a public space when he returns from vacation.

  9. PJEvans says:

    I want Rove in jail, actually. Preferably in a cell with a chamberpot and a public viewing area.
    I hope this isn’t another occasion for one of those ’sternly worded letters’. It’s way past time that they actually enforce their subpoenas. Or they’ll get blown off by every two-bit job they summon to testify.

    Cranky today. Jury summons. If I don’t show up for it, and can’t provide a legally-acceptable excuse, I can expect legal action to compel me to appear. Rove ought to get exactly the same consideration. (I was released after three hours in a very crowded waiting room – they had too many people called for today.)

    • Leen says:


      Wonder if the public will ever have access to the report having to do with National Security cost as a consequence of Plames outing by Rove/Bush/Cheney thugs

  10. Leen says:

    Siegelman believes Rove will never testify truthfully
    Larisa Alexandrovna
    Published: Monday February 23, 2009

    Former Alabama Democratic Governor Don Siegelman is trying to get answers as to why he was targeted for prosecution by the Department of Justice.

    • Leen says:

      “Larisa Alexandrovna: Governor Siegelman, we have seen the back and forth between Congress and Karl Rove for quite some time now. Adding to that, the White House has now gotten involved in asking for Rove and Congress to reach an agreement on Rove testifying in front of the House Judiciary Committee. What do you make of the recent developments and do you see hope in your case?

      Don Siegelman: I don’t think [Attorney General] Eric Holder has control over DOJ yet. Don’t forget Rove had eight long years to get his people in place. The DOJ has been part of the problem and has been responsible for much of the cover up and delays in the Judiciary’s attempt to get to the truth.

      LA: What do you mean by his people?

      DS: Rove has followers, just like Rove was a follower of Don Segretti in the Nixon White House. Rove has his admirers, young Federalist Society want-to-bes, people who have done and who will do his bidding in his absence.

      LA: What compromise do you think Rove is seeking? I have heard rumors of immunity in exchange for his testimony or he won’t show up at all.

      DS: Rove will never show up under oath and answer truthfully. He can’t because his is guilty as sin. He should ultimately go to jail for contempt, for perjury or for his abuse of power. He must not be granted immunity. Giving him immunity will just ensure that he will not tell the whole truth.

      LA: Wait, are you saying that you know he is seeking immunity from prosecution in exchange for testimony?

      DS: Of course Rove is seeking immunity! That’s why he has a good criminal lawyer negotiating for him.”

  11. oldtree says:

    alas, to understand our enemy, it will be necessary for all of us to realize what force the people of this land might have and have to use to protect ourselves from such as the dog. These are mass murderers, war criminals. They wasted the economy to put money in their pockets in time of pretend war, just to make it all seem palatable. Many people believe that a few decimations of the population of the planet are in order so they can keep more resources for themselves.
    No, these are not people as we know it. Have any of you known a sociopath? If you have not, find out what it is like. These people present daily with the symptoms, actions, reactions, etc.. of a serious desire to kill. It may be based on many things, but once someone like this crosses the path, they are not easily turned back. One form of punishment is PTSD. This is for the conscience of someone not a sociopath. The ones that do not suffer PTSD are the ones you may be more concerned with. They are allowing them to train in city combat to learn law enforcement on a grand scale.

    Add this up, and as Jane said in a different story today, denial just doesn’t cut it any more. I won’t pretend those words have anything to do with mine, but the term covers both situations.

  12. LabDancer says:

    Maybe I’m thick about the point ms e wheel seeks to us to consider here, but I assume it’s what goal[s] Rep Conyers envisioned being served by his letter, given the context of [what I’ve imagined as 4 way] ongoing negotiations.

    IMO it was & remains goals in the plural.

    The most obvious one comes right from the letter’s content: to pursue establishing the ability of Congress to enforce attendance in response to subpoenas.

    The rebel response would be that this is simply a matter of form: that non-attendance just costs Congress the benefit of a sound-bite & such only serves partisan purposes. The rebels assume that impression is relatively manageable in terms of p.r. That’s a safe assumption, partly because it’s so easy for rebel committee members to spin it so live, & partly because Joe Public is unlikely either to know or to maintain in mind that it’s anything more than that.

    But it is–much more.

    First: Whether compared to an off-the-record non-public meeting, or to an exchange of letters [or some contraption of both], live attendance at a public forum is by far the most effective forum to bring about an efficient & effective narrowing of the nature of the witness’ claim or objection.

    Second: Taking this notion to this particular case, I’m supposing Rep Conyers was acting prudently in accounting for the possibility that all 3 of the other parties in these negotiations are bound value avoidance or delay, so much so that Congress risks being completely squeezed, both as efficiency [a pretty obvious conclusion given the amount of delay so far, to the point where Congress was motivated to change its rules simply to obtain a chance to hold to its position] & effectiveness.

    Third: Further complicating & rendering more unlikely the possibility of a settlement is that, despite that the process is further along & narrower & more manageable with witnesses Bolten & Miers, Rove is [for very good reasons having nothing to do with p.r.] Moby Dick in this exercise.

    Fourth: Rove is the one witness in the world whose mere attendance would most likely hurt the rebel cause. Some might wish to respond that he speaks with so many marbles in his maw, nothing useful is likely to emerge from it. Maybe so, but as calculating, canny & ruthless as he’s proven to be in forums unbounded by rules, he’s also reckless & sloppy.

    Finally: It makes sense that Conyer’s letter was written to take the issue of attendance off the table.

    • emptywheel says:

      We often forget in these discussions that there are two players aside from Obama: the courts, and HJC.

      At a minimum, HJC just increased its own leverage position by putting ROve’s fat ass solidly on the table–and putting Obama’s DOJ in a position where they may have to enforce contempt sooner rather than later. Mind you, it’s completely possible that Obama knew HJC would do that, acquire that leverage, and put Holder’s DOJ in a position where it could change the status of the litigation before the Appeals Court.

      Also, HJC ALWAYS has the option to appeal any deal. Miers/Bolten have that–sort of (but they’d have to take a completely different suit challenging Obama’s order saying he–and not Bush–gets to decide EP issues, and I don’t think they want to do taht for a number of reasons). And Obama has the ability to appeal, but it’s not entirely clear they’re going to want to, since their goal is probably to preserve EP in principle, but not necessarily EP in this case and probably not AI.

      In other words, there are things HJC can do to “tie” Obama’s hands in just the way they want their hands to be tied, all the while putting HJC in a stronger position in case GregCraig’s deal stinks to them.

      But we do know that AI is–at least according to their claims–non-negotiable for HJC.

      • LabDancer says:

        “in case GregCraig’s deal stinks to them”

        IMO that “in case” is a virtual lock. I look at Gregcraig’s practice: his typical pre-Obama client was that antediluvian Shelby. Choosing him, & Rahm AOT means IMO that Obama’s governance strategy consists largely of keeping as many as possible of the traditional Beltway plates up there spinning as usual while he focuses his office’s bully pulpit [not meant prejoratively] on his priorities. The practical extension of that strategy is among the fuel that feeding the talking points coming from both sides that his administration is assuming shape as something of Waterboy Lite.

        But doesn’t his very determination to decline to put the bully pulpit [much] in play on issues such as this provide that much more room for Congress Dems to fill the power vacuum? And doesn’t that also suit the style of Rep Conyers in particular, & more broadly all Congress Dem leaders dedicated to a principled agenda?

        In that vein, I note that a good part of Obama’s second book is taken up with relating his take on importance of Congress’ role as an instrument in furthering the nation’s progress – – Congress being generally unappreciated among Cheney’s victims.

        • bobschacht says:

          In that vein, I note that a good part of Obama’s second book is taken up with relating his take on importance of Congress’ role as an instrument in furthering the nation’s progress – – Congress being generally unappreciated among Cheney’s victims.

          I like this point, and I think it deserves our support. I know its closing the barn door after most of the horses have escaped, but of the Three Branches, Congress is the one most in need of rehabilitation. I think our job is to hold their feet to the fire.

          Bob in HI

  13. Leen says:

    EW “Mind you, things like that don’t usually happen so quickly in the House.”

    Except when they are impeaching a President for lying under oath about a blowjob, trying to start an illegal and immoral war, or handing over taxpayers money to Wall Street

  14. bobschacht says:

    Well, is the Magna Carta more English than American? *g*

    I would like to blame the stocks on the Brits, but we gotta take some responsibility.

    Bob in HI

  15. Dismayed says:

    I really can’t fathom Obama’s actions in this situation, unless the whole show is being orchestrated to keep the administration above the fray, so he can keep his “trying to be bipartisan” pinata free from the rethugs having a new stick to swing.

    Conyers is now in serious risk of being shown to be Rove’s butt-monkey, if he takes no assertive and concrete action here it will be plain to all that he’s taking it up the and either likes it or is just putting on theatre.

    Sometimes I need a tinfoil hat, if nothing happens here I’m calling on Plunger to ’splain it, because bilderburg chip implatted illuminati bigfoot people will be the only entities that make sense to me as the ringmasters of this donkey show.

    And I STILL SAY the Republicans damn well wanted the economy wrecked when they left office, It allowed one last mother-of-all-larcenies before they slipped out of town, and with the size of it, it was worth being out of power for a while.

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