House Judiciary Committee Subpoenas Karl Rove in Critical Constitutional Showdown

170px-karl_roveJohn Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has subpoenaed Karl Rove to testify about the Bush administration’s firing of United States attorneys. The subpoena could force an interesting constitutional fight since President Obama would now be in a position to waive executive privilege and Attorney General nominee Eric Holder could allow the matter to go to a grand jury. I discussed this issue last night on Countdown in this segment.

It is conceivable that former President Bush could ask a court to uphold his prior claim of privilege. However, courts generally defer to the sitting president on question of privilege. The biggest change would be the lifting of Mukasey’s order blocking the submission of the case to a grand jury. The Congress had a strong case of criminal contempt against Bush officials. It could now conceivably go to a jury. I would be surprised if Rove would risk such a trial in Washington.

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72 thoughts on “House Judiciary Committee Subpoenas Karl Rove in Critical Constitutional Showdown”

  1. Gyges:

    I just dont think waterboarding is torture it may be uncomfortable but it is not torture. Sadam tortured, the Vietcong tortured the Japanese tortured.

    Sodomy is also illegal you going to try those people too? Gay love is not legal in some states you going to throw them in the slamer for a little bone smuggling?

    this is all about politics and nothing else. liberals for the most part care about the constitution when it suits their agenda. We are less free now than we were 80 years ago. it should be the other way around.

  2. Bron,

    Actually we (at least most of us on this site) think that it’s important for criminals to face the consequences of breaking the law. I’ll be first in line demanding Obama go to trial if he has anything to do with the continued torture of any prisoner anywhere. Despite all your denials, Water-boarding is torture under U.S. law. Politics has nothing to do with this, it’s justice and the rule of law.

  3. The strategy of birds.
    Mockingbirds mimic. Crows form murders.
    Patterns repeat.

  4. Carlito:

    they think that this can only happen to republs because dems are squeaky clean. I dont think one of them has thought about that. What if Obama causes the economy to tank badly and a republican takes office and the country is in the mood for blood after a hard 4 years this will set a precident to try Rom and Geithner and Obama for mediocrity in economic matters.

    They will be screaming bloody murder. If they do this there will be that silver lining.

  5. Obama isn’t going to do anything that would mean in 4 years a new administration would chase him around the block the same way for no reason.

    wake up.

    It is a big boy’s world. Either like it or go back to 2nd grade.

  6. tsk tsk tsk

    I see my prediction is coming to fruition. And you were doing so well.

  7. Mike:

    personally I thouhgt the Vietnam war was a waste of blood and treasure and should have never been fought. It asked young men to sacrifice their lives for nothing.

    I think the war in Afghanistan had to be fought, you cannot let someone attack you in that manor and not fight back. I also am not out for glory with someone elses blood. Personally I have a beef with Bush because I do think he wasted young lives but not for the reasons you have.

    I dont believe that any Japanese were put to death for waterboarding alone they did enough other real torture to be hanged. Their behaviour in China alone probably warrented the droping of the Atomic bomb.

    I leave the glory from others peoples blood to people like JFK and Bill Clinton and the geopolitiks to Carter and Madeline Albright.
    And finally I dont believe America is like Rome we have no ambitions for world domination we are traders and businessmen and we want to be left alone to persue this.

    You sir do not like America you think she is immoral, has no right to exist and you are no patriot. Your philosophical homeland is North Korea or Soviet Russia. This country has its problems but at least you can blog bullshit and not be arrested or have a bullet in the back of your skull for crimes against the state.

  8. Ahhh, our very own Reichscousel rears it’s ugly head in PNAC. You want to know America’s true enemy? Every signatory to their charter needs to be swinging in the breeze. Especially Unca Dick.

  9. Bron,

    To augment the Geneva Convention argument, this is from Article VI of the US constitution (emphasis mine):

    This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; AND ALL TREATIES MADE, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land.

  10. “As far as war crimes are concerned I still think the Bush admuddledstration (I love that! thank you) was within its rights to waterboard and go into Iraq based on the information provided.”

    Here is where we differ. Waterboarding is torture per se as shown by our prosecutions after WWII and the Geneva Convention, to which we are a signatory. Torture is not permitted and waterboarding is torture. If we can hang Japanese for it, then it’s more than a tad hypocritical to then say we have a right to do it and it really is settled law that the US doesn’t do torture.

    As far as going into Iraq, that war was fomented on lies, that the Bushies knew were lies. The rationale goes back to 1998 and something called PNAC, google it and see what you find. To me it was a blueprint for American Empire and you see I’ve always hated the Romans and I’ve got no desire to see the US following in its’ murderous footsteps.

    As far as taking out the winner of a fomented Iran/Iraq war you sure like to talk tough. Are you going to go in there, or send a child there? Or is it the tough talking of a guy like Bush or Cheney, who supported 50,000 unnecessary American deaths in Viet Nam, but were too gutless to go themselves.

    While its’ true that we could probably “take out” the whole ME, at what cost and for what? You talk of war and killing so blithely and underneath is a sense of American entitlement that equals the hubris of the past criminal administration. I love this country but I don’t think that the US taking over the world is feasible, or desirable. Your conception of geo-politics is that of a willful child, that is I admit name calling. Anyone who thinks war is anything but unmitigated hell and is to be waged at a point far from last resort, is childish in thought.

    You are the type of person who watches 24 and thinks its at all representational of the real world. I happen to like the show, but I’m well aware of the fantasy it is. Also if you had really been watching you might have noticed its’ real subtext, which is people like Bauer who slavishly follow their duty live tragic lives and are always considered expendable by the powers that be.
    24 is a tragedy and Bauer its’ tragic hero, because it deals with the evils that men and governments do when convinced of their own superiority.

    Your writing shows you as the type who would be perfectly willing to send others to die in the service of your own glory. I find that tendency hard to respect or condone.

  11. The topic of torture and why it’s unconstitutional has been covered many times here, Bron. Read past threads for details. In summary, at the most basic level, it’s against the 8th Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments. Water boarding IS torture as defined not only by U.S. case law but international treaty as well. It is a prosecutable war crime and has been prosecuted in the past (specifically against the Japanese, big fans of water boarding in WWII). What Rove did was engineer stacking the deck at DOJ to help cover up these crimes by preventing investigation and prosecution of criminals in the White House. Torture is just the edge. The crimes the Bush Administration committed that are not just war crimes, but by protecting those who DID attack us (and this we agree on) in Saudi Arabia, his action in invading Iraq under fraudulent evidence is tantamount to treason. Treason being defined as providing aid or material comfort to an enemy of the United States during wartime. Which is exactly what Bush did in addition to violating the 8th Amendment. And at the same time violating the 4th, 5th and 6th amendments with Gitmo and warrantless wiretapping – crimes also made possible by stacking DOJ with Regents puppets. Karl Rove appears to be a conspirator to commit treason at minimum and a war criminal at worst. That’s the short answer.

  12. I am still waiting for a reply to my question. its against the constitution is a bit broad, I would like to know how. As far as war crimes are concerned I still think the Bush admuddledstration (I love that! thank you) was within its rights to waterboard and go into Iraq based on the information provided. The actual target should have been Iran and Saudi Arabia but I think Bush wanted a 2 front war against the Iranians and so Iraq was part of larger strategy. He really did have a case against Iran and he blew it.

    I would have fomented war between Iran and Iraq and then taken out whoever was standing at the end and then turned on Saudi Arabia for the coupe de grace. Islam would now be at peace with the west and Buddha would be safe and warm.

    Well, children are waiting and my bridge is frozen.

  13. He seems to be coming around, I’ll give you that. Besides, women dig scars. 😉 I promise I won’t cripple him. I have the technology. We can make him stronger, better, faster to continue the Shows of the 70’s theme. Oh, and to help him land on the side of the “ethical wall” if you will. As you can see, I wield a mean stick but do carry carrots as well.

  14. Buddha:

    I think Bron98 makes quite a bit of sense lately and is a welcome addition to our little salon. Don’t make him lift the burning cauldron and then collapse into the snow to cool his branded forearms like I had to do. A pebble snatch should do the trick.

  15. I don’t care how long it takes, the Bush Admuddlestration should be held accountable. Stop the hand-wringing, let the investigations begin.

    I wholeheartedly agree with Professor Turley – should President Obama choose to ignore the Bush crimes, he is just a complicit. He will be breaking his solemn oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. And, I, for one, will be sorely disappointed in President Obama.

    I really wish President Obama had chosen Professor Turley as AG. Sigh.

  16. See, Bron? No summary thumping. Why? Because now you are starting to get it. One does not get smacked with a troll stick for questioning. I think everyone here would agree the only stupid question is the unasked one. Your problem to date is largely presentation. Right now I’d just wanted to tell you good job and keep it up. You are doing much better than I expected. However, you are likely to lose a defense of Karl this way. I say this not because of you or anything you’ve said or how you’ve said it but because I’ve seen this line of reasoning played out before. I’m so proud I’ll even give you hint as to why you’ll eventually not be able to defend Karl. Not all crimes are equivalent in scale or in damage. And although the President’s power to pardon is absolute, a pardon is a moot point since he didn’t get one. So focus. Is your issue pardon power and it’s use/abuse or is the issue prosecution of crimes against the Constitution and possibly treason that aided in war crimes against a man who has no pardon? Arguing is easier when you know which target you’re shooting at. Carry on. Keep this up and you might get your name changed to Grasshopper.

  17. I merely thought this was a good quote (yes Gyges you are correct), I believe there are absolutes in this world and one should have reasons as to why they hold a certain belief. You all think that Karl should go to jail, why? What is the rule in law? What did he do to break the law?

    If I remember correctly Bill Clinton let them all go. Bush only let a half dozen or so go. And those if memory serves me correctly were let go because of voter fraud issues. From my viewpoint I think the democrats are making this an issue because they want to intimidate anyone that tries to expose voter fraud.

    you all will call me a nut job and a troll for asking these questions and you will think my analysis is about as deep as a mud puddle but I really would like to know why its ok for BC to let them all go and GB and KR to be indicted?

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