The Significance of the “Official Duties” Claim

Here’s how Dana Jill Simpson describes Karl Rove’s involvement in the Siegelman prosecution.

What I understood, or what I believed Mr. Canary to be saying, was that he had had this ongoing conversation with Karl Rove about Don Siegelman, and that Don Siegelman was a thorn to them and basically he was going to — he had been talking with Rove. Rove had been talking with the Justice Department, and they were pursuing Don Siegelman as a result of Rove talking to the Justice Department at the request of Bill Canary.


[After the prosecution launched by Alice Martin was dismissed in 2004] Bill Canary and Bob Riley had had a conversation with Karl Rove again and that they had this time gone over and seen whoever was the head of the department of — he called it PIS, which I don’t think that is the correct acronym, but that’s what he called it. And I had to say what is that and he said that is the Public Integrity Section.


Q About what?

A About Don Siegelman and the mess that Alice Martin had made and it was my understanding in that conversation after that conversation that there was a decision made that they would bring a new case against Don Siegelman and they would bring it in the Middle District,


Q Okay. And did Rob give you the name of the person at — I’m just going to call it Public Integrity — that he thought he understood Karl Rove had spoken to?

A No, he said it was the head guy there and he said that that guy had agreed to allocate whatever resources, so evidently the guy had the power to allocate resources, you know.

Q To the Siegelman prosecution?

A Yes. And that he’d allocate all resources necessary.

So, in sworn testimony, Simpson claims that, sometime before November 2002, Karl Rove had spoken to DOJ and–"as a result of Rove talking to" DOJ, they were pursuing an investigation of Don Siegelman. And then, after the first case against Siegelman had been dismissed in 2004, Rove again spoke with DOJ–with the Public Integrity Division specifically, probably Noel Hillman from the description–and got reassurances that PIN would "allocate all resources necessary" to a second Siegelman prosecution. Read more

Bush Did NOT Invoke Executive Privilege for Rove

So far today, the following smart lefty outlets have claimed that Rove blew of HJC today based on executive privilege.


Karl Rove stood by his claim last week that he wouldn’t be showing up to testify about anything to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, despite its subpoena, on the grounds of executive privilege.


Toady, Karl Rove was set to appear under subpoena before the House Judiciary Committee to discuss the politicization of the Justice Department. Yesterday, Rove’s lawyer wrote a letter declaring Rove would not testify, citing executive privilege:


House Committee to Karl Rove: You have no claim of executive privilege

And here are some less smart traditional media outlets:


The White House has cited executive privilege, arguing that internal administration communications are confidential and that Congress cannot compel officials to testify.


Rove’s lawyer asserted that Rove was "immune" from the subpoena the committee had issued, arguing that the committee could not compel him to testify due to "executive privilege."

Now, I know it’s kind of confusing. Robert Luskin, after all, did mention executive privilege in this letter.

Accordingly, Mr. Rove will respectfully decline to appear 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.

Note the date of the letter: July 1, a full week before Fred Fielding wrote his letter to Luskin telling him Rove didn’t have to show up. So Luskin used the phrase Executive Privilege, sure, but he used it well before the White House actually contacted him officially about Rove’s appearance. So how could Luskin’s reference to executive privilege have any validity, if he hadn’t even spoken with the White House before he used it?

Now look at the letter Fred wrote Luskin and the letter Luskin sent to HJC. Go ahead look closely. Do you see the words "executive privilege" anywhere in either of those two letters?

It’s not there.

For that matter, check out the memo Steven Bradbury wrote last year rationalizing why Harriet Miers didn’t have to show up–which is what Fielding cites to justify Rove’s absence today. Look closely. See any mention of executive privilege in that memo? Nuh uh. It’s not in there, either.

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Is Fred Fielding Reading emptywheel?

Because either he or David Addington sure seems to be seeing the same things I’m seeing. Via TP, Michael Duffy reports that "White House lawyers" are worried that the Plame Affair may be back.

Duffy: White House lawyers are concerned, very concerned, now that Scott McClellan’s book has led Henry Waxman and John Conyers to take another look at the Valerie Plame business. There may be hearings. Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald may be called. Just another way in which a Democratic Congress might make a difference during the fall.

Tweety: Can they impeach the Vice President over this?

Duffy: There’s no time to impeach…

Tweety: But that’s who they’re targeting isn’t it?

Duffy: Well they’re gonna just make things rough for everyone who was affiliated with the Plame Affair.

Tweety: Will this get big enough to help Obama?

Duffy: It will boil through the summer.

Hi Fred. Would you mind clicking through some of the ads over on the sidebar? And do me a favor and make sure you do that from your White House IP, would ya?


Tony Fratto Opens His Big Fat Mouth–and Waxman Responds

When I read Tony Fratto’s aggressive denials that the White House had lost millions of emails today …

Q Tony, on the subject, could you address the missing White House emails and the law suit? It is a subject of reports this morning. Are there in fact the emails missing? What’s the likelihood of their recovery versus the —

MR. FRATTO: I think our review of this, and you saw the court filing on this, and our declaration in response to the judge’s questions — I think to the best of what all the analysis we’ve been able to do, we have absolutely no reason to believe that any emails are missing; there’s no evidence of that. There’s no — we tried to reconstruct some of the work that went into a chart that was entered into court records and could not replicate that or could not authenticate the correctness of the data in that chart. And from everything that we can tell, our analysis of our backup systems, we have no reason to believe that any email at all are missing.

Q So where are they?

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