Rove in Contempt of Congress, Again | Harper's Magazine

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Rove in Contempt of Congress, Again


Karl Rove insisted that he no longer had any problems talking to the House Judiciary Committee about his role in the Siegelman case. He’s insisted that no executive privilege is involved since he didn’t do anything. Strange thing is, Rove adamantly refuses to say that under oath, or subject to cross-examination.

Rove’s lawyer, Bob Luskin, assured the public that Rove would now comply with a Congressional subpoena and appear, as required, before the House Judiciary Committee this morning. It’s the second time that Luskin has issued a false assurance. When the hour rolled around Rove was a no-show, for the third time. He didn’t appear and assert privilege with respect to specific questions, as might be his right—he simply didn’t appear.

So now, again, we face the question of contempt. Will the Obama Administration follow the precedent of the Bush Administration by instructing the U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia not to enforce Congress’s contempt sanctions after they are voted? Enforcement is not discretionary. In the language of the statute it’s mandated. It is a straightforward test of the rule-of-law premises of our Constitution, and for the Obama team it presents a clear test: do they value the Constitution more highly than the imperial powers that the Bush team left them?

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