House committee documents show Rove involved in US attorney firings

[JURIST] The US House Judiciary Committee [official website] on Tuesday released testimony and e-mails [materials] purporting to show that Bush administration political advisor Karl Rove [personal website; JURIST news archive] was involved in the firing of nine US Attorneys [JURIST news archive] in 2006. Among the 5,400 pages of documents released by the committee are e-mail communications between Rove, former White House counsel Harriet Miers [BBC profile], and other top administration officials regarding the removal of David Iglesias, the former US Attorney for New Mexico. The Department of Justice had given Iglesias a top ranking [press release] prior to his removal, seen as suggesting an underlying political motivation. Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) called the release "a powerful victory for the rule of law," and said that he had provided the documents to Acting US Attorney Nora Dannehy [official profile] "to assist in her effort to determine whether federal criminal charges are appropriate and to pursue any such charges." Rove welcomed [press release] the release, called the charges "groundless" and said that the documents "show politics played no role in the Bush Administration's removal of U.S. Attorneys, that I never sought to influence the conduct of any prosecution, and that I played no role in deciding which US attorneys were retained and which replaced."

The Committee had long sought to obtain information about Rove's involvement in the firings, which Rove and other officials claimed were protected by executive privilege. After agreeing [JURIST report] to participate in a closed-door hearing in March, Rove testified before the committee twice in July. Citing executive privilege, Rove refused to testify in July 2007 and July 2008 [JURIST reports]. In March 2008, the Judiciary Committee filed suit to enforce subpoenas [JURIST report] for Miers and former Bush chief of staff Joshua Bolton. In February, the House voted [JURIST report] to hold the former officials in contempt of Congress for their refusal to testify. In January, a federal court ordered [JURIST report] that copies of the documents related to the investigation be provided by the Bush administration to the in-coming Obama administration.



 

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