The House Judiciary Committee voted 20-14 along party lines this morning to hold former White House adviser Karl Rove in contempt for refusing to submit to a subpoena to testify at a congressional hearing related to the prosecution of the former governor of Alabama.
The House Judiciary Committee’s 20-14 vote along party lines escalated the dispute between the Bush administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress over lawmakers’ demand for testimony by presidential aides.
President George W. Bush has invoked executive privilege to bar his aides from testifying under oath in Congress about the firing of nine U.S. attorneys. The president also barred Rove’s testimony on the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman.
The panel has asked a federal judge to order Bush’s chief of staff, Joshua Bolten to turn over documents about the firings and to direct former White House counsel Harriet Miers to testify about the dismissals.
A contempt citation against Rove would require approval by the full House. Rove failed to appear at a July 10 hearing.
Rove has denied influencing the decision to prosecute Siegelman. He offered to answer the committee’s questions in writing or to testify in private without a transcript. Rove’s lawyer, Robert Luskin, told the committee in a July 9 letter that Bush had directed his client not to testify.
The Hill looks ahead:
Ranking member Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said the vote “disregarded” the facts of Rove’s involvement with the Department of Justice.
“There is no credible evidence to support a contempt resolution against Karl Rove. Every individual involved in the claimed incident — including Don Siegelman himself — has denied allegations by Jill Simpson,” Smith said.
It is not clear whether the contempt charge will be brought to the full House, which is scheduled to adjourn for its August recess this week.
Will Nancy Pelosi feed the nutroots and allow a full vote–or is she too busy saving the planet and hawking books to mollify her far Left, Rove-obsessed flank?
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