The Whale Speaks: Rove Says That He Will Defy Congress and That Bush Lawyers Told Him Not to Cooperate in the Final Days of the Administration

178174170px-karl_roveKarl Rove is promising to defy the subpoena issued by John Conyers — citing instructions from Bush lawyers shortly before the end of the Administration. The statement may indicate that President Bush is preparing for a novel fight: asserting executive privilege against the position of the sitting president (who would presumably support Congress in this matter). In the interview, Rove compares himself to the Great White Whale in Moby Dick.

Appearing on O’Reilly this week, Rove had the following exchange:

Rove: I have been directed, again on January 16, by the outgoing president’s legal counsel, not to respond to a subpoena, exerting privilege on behalf of the former president and his close aides.

O’Reilly: So you’re not even going to show?

Rove: No, and —

O’Reilly: What if they hold you in contempt of Congress?

Rove: Look, this issue is — let’s step back for a minute. This issue of whether or not I should show up — I’ve never exerted any personal privilege, I’ve never said I have a personal right not to show up.

O’Reilly: No, but you’re a counselor to the president, it’s executive — I got all that. But let’s go beyond the argument. I know your argument. Say Conyers says Mr. Rove is in contempt of Congress. What happens then?

Rove: Well, look, this issue is before the United States Circuit Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia. Rep. Conyers could have waited until they resolved the issue one way or the other, gave guidance to him and gave guidance to the former president and to the current president. But instead, he decided to go forward with this — I don’t know if I want to call it a witch hunt, I don’t think of myself as a witch, but I’m certain — this is a guy who went to the cloak room and said, ‘Somebody has to get his –‘ and then filled in a crude way to describe my posterior. He’s sort of like Captain Ahab and I’m the whale.

This could be extremely interesting. While Obama appears (again) eager to avoid a fight over such issues, Conyers to pushing ahead. It will force Obama to take a side. If he supports Conyers, he would waive any executive privilege claims. This would leave Bush as asserting the privilege while the current president sees no need to protect the information. This is precisely the plan that Bush lawyers have clearly discussed with Rove, who noted ” “It’s generally agreed that former presidents retain executive privilege as to matters occurring during their term. We’ll solicit the views of the new White House counsel and, if there is a disagreement, assume that the matter will be resolved among the courts, the president and the former president.”

It would also put pressure on Eric Holder to lift the bar on the submission of the criminal contempt charge to a grand jury.

For John Conyers, I suggest that he explain the reason why he has chosen to go forward to force this testimony. Here is the relevant quote:

Captain Ahab: Speak not to me of blasphemy, man; I’d strike the sun if it insulted me. Look ye, Starbuck, all visible objects are but as pasteboard masks. Some inscrutable yet reasoning thing puts forth the molding of their features. The white whale tasks me; he heaps me. Yet he is but a mask. ‘Tis the thing behind the mask I chiefly hate; the malignant thing that has plagued mankind since time began; the thing that maws and mutilates our race, not killing us outright but letting us live on, with half a heart and half a lung.

The “malignant thing that has plagued mankind” is scheduled to appear in the House Judiciary next week or facing a new harpooning by a criminal contempt sanction.

For the story, click here.

119 thoughts on “The Whale Speaks: Rove Says That He Will Defy Congress and That Bush Lawyers Told Him Not to Cooperate in the Final Days of the Administration”

  1. hey all you Turley Trolls:

    their is growing evidence that Bush and Cheney have/are conspiring with certain factions within the military that dont support Obama to usurp his power and set up a Chilean style government in the model of Agusto Pinochet.

    I have this on good authority from highly placed sources at Disney Land.

    Goofy was also quoted as saying that he believes in the rule of law.

  2. MikeS:

    then you would have been one of the guys that helped the Nazis in the camps.

  3. Patty,

    Thanks for that. I’ll try that next time I do Italian in a couple of weeks. I’m finished off the leftovers from the Alfredo Tortellini Salad tonight. It was quite a hit.

  4. Mike S.,

    You are not only one of the nicest men on the internet your are a class act. It takes a decent, strong person to write what you did. I hope you won’t mind, when I next write something I regret, if I borrow from what you said!

  5. Patty,
    I am getting hungry just reading your recipe. I also agree that the troll issue should have been nipped early on. I also agree that our restraint was remarkable under difficult circumstances.

  6. Buddha Is Laughing 1, January 30, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Hey Patty!

    How about helping a brother out with a lasagna recipe? I have sausage and beef, but I do like a good spinach lasagna too. Just never made one.

    This is an easy delcioso deep dish lasagna recipe from
    ‘The Figs’ Table by Todd English-makes two 8″ or one very large 9×12″

    You can make it ‘spinach’, by adding lightly cooked spinach that you have squeezed all of the water from and chop up and drain and layer in, lightly, along with the fresh basil leaves. I like fresh spinach, in a salad with fruit – on the side.

    I make pasta prima vera but not veggie lasagna, per se, with the bechamel, but if I were to make it, this Recipe Czar recipe sounds pretty good…

    If you are looking for a vegetarian lasagna recipe, or simply want to update the Italian classic, try this easy pepper and spinach version. I can’t tell you just how terrific this veggie lasagna is – tender pepper and fresh spinach smothered in oozing cheese.

    SERVES 4 (change servings and units)


    * 5 red peppers, thickly sliced
    * 2 tablespoons olive oil
    * 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    * 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    * 8 ounces fresh baby spinach
    * 5 ounces fresh lasagna noodles, prepared according to packet instructions
    * 10 ounces mozzarella cheese, thickly sliced

    For the bechamel sauce

    * 2 1/2 cups milk
    * 1 bay leaf
    * 2 ounces butter
    * 1 1/2 ounces flour
    * 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    * 5 ounces parmesan cheese, grated


    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F Place the peppers in a roasting tin and drizzle with the oil and balsamic vinegar. Roast for 20 minutes, add the garlic and roast for a further 10 minutes until the peppers are softened and charred.

    2. Meanwhile, wilt the spinach in a large pan with a splash of water for 2 minutes only. Season well and set aside.

    3.To make the sauce, heat the milk with the bay leaf to just below boiling point and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Melt the butter in a non-stick pan, add the flour and cook, stirring allthe time, for 2 minutes. Gradually add the milk, whisking well, and bring to the boil until thickened. Stir in the mustard and half of the Parmesan.

    4.To layer up the lasagna, spoon a third of the sauce into the base of an ovenproof dish. Scatter over half of the peppers, half of the spinach and half of the mozzarella. Top with a layer of lasagna. Repeat this process, finishing with the final third of the sauce. Scatter over the remaining Parmesan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.


    The troll nonsense could have been nipped in the bud a long long
    long-long time ago – as I stated yesterday…

    I’d say we’ve all shown remarkable ‘restraint’.

  7. I’ve never been called an iconoclast. Thanks, Mike.

    You know, people wouldn’t say you’re the nicest guy on the internet if you didn’t act like him.

  8. You know I’ve reconsidered my last post in light of things both Rafflaw and Jill have said. I apologize for my contribution to the continuance of off-thread banter and berating the troll. I’m more than old enough that I should know better, but occasionally, set off today by the Giuliani piece I let annoyance overcome reason and wind up wasting people’s time. I’m not saying this by the way because some have deemed me “one of the nicest guys on the Internet,” but because I think it’s important to recognize when I’m behaving badly. That last post was an example and it embarrasses me.

  9. **you and Buddha would have been brown shirts a lot quicker than I would have been. You worked for the government, I never have, as far as I am concerned your a blood sucking whore who I have carried on my back while you and your kind strangle the life out of common decent folks who work for a living**

    Actually Bronny I would have been sent to the camps because I’m Jewish and Buddha because he’s too much of an iconoclast. As far as my work goes what kind do you do. I’ve supported myself totally since I was seventeen, a problem orphans have. I’m not sitting at home, like you, supported by my parents. You don’t pay taxes. Finally, what a bald-faced liar you are. Of course in the context of what you were saying you were making a threat and that wasn’t the first time you resorted to threats in your writing. What I do find amazing about you is that you lack the self awareness to even realize what a sad figure you cut when it comes to political debate. It is the illness of those who grew up listening to Limbaugh and thinking he is cool.

  10. I think by now, and by a long time ago, anyone with common sense can
    see that the ‘War on Terror’ and 9/11 with some Anthrax attacks thrown in was and still is a Nazi ideology synthetic lie perpetrated by the Bush/Cheney Cabal and the psychopathic Neocons in cahoots with the CIA, ISI and the Mossad.To me it is a no brainer,the facts are to strong.

    Hundreds and hundreds of former Pentagon officials, ex CIA and FBI and former White House officials have all agreed on it in various documentations.

    That’s not a conspiracy theory but rather conspiracy factuality.

    No, I’m not a so called wacked out liberal but rather a concerned citizen who has researched thousands of pieces of facts in a two year period and the coincidences and facts point toward a conspiracy so big that it’s difficult for the average American to get it’s head around it. Most of them don’t do the research such as yourself Bron98.

  11. rafflaw –

    Wow is right!

    Patty C –

    Nice recipes. I have a Super Bowl recipe for Chili Con Queso but it would not win any awards from the cardiologists. I won’t post it because I want everyone to survive until the next Super Bowl …

    But it does involve the classic American Velveeta cheese, some milk and/or cream, onions, lots of sliced jalepeno peppers, various dried red pepper flakes and other spicy spices, chili powder, and of course the chips and beer.

    Good old, unhealthy football cuisine.

  12. BIL, here’s two tortellini salads from SP~

    I apologize. I cannot locate my copy. Someone may have borrowed it and I don’t see the complete recipe online. Maybe mespo can help with the sauce – which you could probably improvise, I bet.
    Tortellini Salad Alfredo

    # 1 pound meat-, mushroom- and/or cheese-filled tortellini
    # 2/3 cup Silver Palate Tomato Alfredo Pasta Sauce
    # 1/3 cup sodium-reduced chicken or vegetable stock
    # 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    # 1 red bell pepper, seeds and membranes removed, chopped
    # 1 medium red onion, chopped
    # 1 clove garlic, minced
    # 1 cup imported black olives
    # 3/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
    # 2 tablespoons small capers
    # 1-1/2 tablespoons Silver Palate Vinegar Balsamico of Modena
    # Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    # Grated Parmesan cheese, optional

    Cook tortellini according to package directions and drain well. Meanwhile, combine Tomato Alfredo Pasta Sauce, stock and olive oil in a bowl. Toss tortellini with sauce. Add bell pepper, onion, garlic, olives, parsley, capers and Vinegar Balsamico of Modena. Season with salt and pepper. Taste to adjust seasonings. Serve at room temperature or chilled. If served chilled, add more oil and vinegar, if needed. Pass Parmesan cheese.
    Serves 6.


    Garden Fresh Tortellini Salad – The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook, Rosso and Lukins

    1 pound good quality fresh or frozen spinach tortellini
    1 pound good quality fresh or frozen egg tortellini
    1head broccoli (1 pound) broken into florets and tender stems sliced
    1 pound carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into ¼ inch slices
    3 leeks (white part and two inches of green well rinsed, dried and cut into thin julienne
    1 large sweet red pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into julienne
    1 large sweet yellow pepper, cored, seeded and cut into julienne
    ½ cup chopped fresh basil
    1 egg yoke
    2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    1 tablespoon Dijon style mustard
    1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    1 cup vegetable oil
    ½ cup olive oil
    1 teaspoon dried thyme
    finally grated zest of one orange
    Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

    Cook the tortellini in boiling salted water according to package instructions. Drain thoroughly and place in a large bowl.
    Cook the broccoli florets, stems, and carrots separately in boiling salted water just until tender. Drain and combine with tortellini.
    Blanch the julienne leeks 1 minute in boiling waster; drain. Add leeks, red and yellow peppers, and fresh basil to the salad and toss to combine.
    Process the yoke, lemon juice, mustard, and vinegar in the food processor fitted with a steel blade for 30 seconds. With the machine running, pour the oils in a thin steady stream through the feed tube to make a light mayonnaise. Add the thyme, orange zest, and salt and pepper to taste. Process to combine.
    Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat thoroughly, Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.
    8 to 10 portions – Enjoy!

  13. mespo,

    I had to substitute the alfredo for homemade and the balsamic with what I had, but good lord! I feel like I ate the state of Rhode Island. I think I may try that with ravioli some time too.

  14. I have seen you on MSNBC many a night. Why does Obamah not seem to get the gravity of what has been done in our name. We are now to investigate war crimes of other when we will not look in the mirror.

    I expected to see jets leave from Texas with the whole Bush loyalist team, headed for Saudi Arabis and the family members of the royal family and friends did after 911.

    Bush, Condi, Rove, Scooter, Cheney,…..all should be on trial.

    Keep the comments coming. There are plenty of outraged Americans who want to see them prosecuted.

  15. JT did this article last Valentine’s Day. Feel the love.
    Talk about a stimulus package – PPV, indeed!
    Individuals were once arrested by the Sergeant-at-Arms for the House or Senate. They were dragged to one of the house floors (it is purely a matter for each individual house) and made to answer for the charges. This became too time-consuming so Congress created that statutory process of referral in 1857. Congress last used inherent contempt in a 1934…

    p.s. I noticed the date has been bumped up from Monday to 2/23.

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