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House judiciary panel votes to subpoena Rove, Miers in US Attorney firing scandal

[JURIST] A House Judiciary Committee panel on Wednesday authorized the committee chairman to subpoena former White House Counsel Harriet Miers, Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove, former DOJ Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson [official profiles], who resigned two weeks ago [DOJ press release], and two DOJ aides to testify and provide documents to the committee regarding the recent US Attorney firing scandal [JURIST news archive]. In a concurrent investigation, the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday subpoenaed five DOJ aides [JURIST report], including Sampson, to testify. The House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law rejected President Bush's offer [PDF text; JURIST report] to allow the committees to question Miers, Rove, and Sampson during a private questioning session, not under oath. AP has more.

Both committees want Miers and Rove to testify on allegations that the firings of several US Attorneys by US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile] were politically motivated [JURIST report]. The accusations have led Congress to consider restricting the Attorney General's power [JURIST report] to appoint interim US Attorneys. Despite Bush's assertions that Gonzales has "got support with me," reports have surfaced that the White House is considering potential replacements for Gonzales [JURIST report].

Last week, reports emerged that Rove originally suggested firing all 93 US Attorneys in January 2005, according to an e-mail conversation [JURIST report; e-mail text] released by the DOJ. The e-mails appear to contradict the White House's prior assertion that the idea to comprehensively dismiss US Attorneys first came from Miers [JURIST report].

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