The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday served a subpoena on former top Bush aide Karl Rove in another showdown with the White House. He is being called to answer questions about the firing U.S. Attorneys and the politicization of the Justice Department. His lawyer had earlier indicated he would testify. The real question is the stomach of the House for taking real action in wake of the likely failure to appear.
Rove was ordered to appear July 10th, but his lawyer wrote a letter telling the Committee that he would not appear voluntarily: “”While the committee has the authority to issue a subpoena, it is hard to see what this will accomplish, apart from a ‘Groundhog Day’ replay of the same issues that are already the subject of litigation.”
Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, D-Michigan, said in a written statement:
“It is unfortunate that Mr. Rove has failed to cooperate with our requests,” Conyers said. “Although he does not seem the least bit hesitant to discuss these very issues weekly on cable television and in the print news media, Mr. Rove and his attorney have apparently concluded that a public hearing room would not be appropriate. Unfortunately, I have no choice today but to compel his testimony on these very important matters.”
Now the question is what will Congress do in face of an every lengthening list of acts of open contempt. Congress clearly has authority to demand his appearance and the White House has wildly over-extended executive privilege. The White House, however, is hoping that the calendar rather than the constitution will end the matter.