Senate Judiciary Vote on Criminal Contempt for Rove and Others Set for This Week

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has put a criminal contempt vote on the schedule for Thursday in a move that could ultimately call for the prosecution of  White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, former White House political director Sara M. Taylor, former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove and White House Deputy Political Director J. Scott Jennings in their failure to appear or turn over material on the U.S. attorney firings.

The Administration has again assumed the most extreme interpretation of executive privilege in refusing these appearances and documents. The Committee clearly has oversight responsibilities in this area and thus a right to much of the information. 

It could put the new Attorney General to the test.  The Justice Department and specifically the D.C. U.S. Attorney, serves as the lawyer for Congress in such matters. However, an obvious conflict exists with an Administration both prosecuting and protecting itself.  The matter would still have to go to the full Senate, however, and still a way off from a formal referral for prosecution. More importantly, any prosecution would out last this Administration, which is likely to play out the clock. Thus, it is the calendar not the Constitution that is likely to be their greatest ally.

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4 thoughts on “Senate Judiciary Vote on Criminal Contempt for Rove and Others Set for This Week”

  1. I would like to ask everyone’s indulgence and speculate from a totally outsider perspective on what may be the current dynamic in the Senate vis a vis contempt citations, subpoenas, hearings and so forth.

    The Democrats have come under tremendous attack from many quarters for not upholding the dignity and autonomy of Congress and pursuing Executive lawlessness and insolence.

    They won’t satisfy their critics I speculate, because they can’t.

    They have been effectively put in a perpetual check by the minority, and I am not referring to the “it takes 60 votes to get anything done” rationale.

    The nature of the bind is this: The Republicans by using parliamentary methods available in the Senate (but not in the House) are able to keep the Democrats from passing ANY legislation.

    Why do so? Really its all about checking the oversight function.

    If the Democrats really pursue oversight, then the Republicans can plausibly claim to the national audience: “They didn’t have time to do the Nation’s business, but they did have time to do all these witchhunts and harass our President’s administration.”

    By implication, if the people want some legislation enacted, best would be to vote out the witchhunters and return a Republican majority.

    So long as the President’s men in the Senate continue to shut down that chamber, the Democrats are in check so far as pursuing oversight activities which become at this point a mere bargaining chip. The Democrats know that they have to “purchase” oversight with some substantial legislative accomplishments to offer the American people. If the Republicans can block this purchase…

    Of course, the Republicans are playing a dangerous game and they know it. This can backfire as it did to the Gingrich people in days gone by.

    But the stakes are high and saddled with an incredibly unpopular President, the Senatorial Republicans don’t have much choice. Popularity equates to political power, and the minority is betting that the blockade will erode the majority’s popularity more than their own.

    At this point, neither party is pursuing their first choice in action. But they are bound to continue in this fashion for a while.

    SO there you have it and yes, I DID just fall off an apple-truck!

  2. “The general population” sounds like a term-of-art used in the admin of justice/corrections industry.

    The thought of Rove in some Yard isn’t displeasing I must admit.

    But back to the topic. It is unlikely contempt citations will pass the senate en banc. The mood over seems very pacific currently although doubtless there’s a lot of inner seething going on.

    But I could be wrong and hope I am.

  3. This is taking far too long to get these treasonous lyres prosecuted. They need to expedite this and put those criminals behind bars now and hold them while collecting evidence like they are doing to others. Let rove go to jail and put him in the general population..They are most certainly guilty and should also be fined heavily.

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