Despite his past denials, memos and transcripts released by Congress show that former White House political adviser (and current Fox analyst) Karl Rove was deeply involved in the firing of the U.S. attorney in New Mexico David Iglesias . The material also shows that the White House planned the firings of Iglesias and the other prosecutors for months.
The material on its face appears to contradict Rove’s public statements that he was not substantially involved and that politics played little role in the firings. That could raise serious legal questions if he made the same statements to congressional investigators. It is a crime to give misleading or false statements to investigators. Rove may argue that this is just opinion and that it is not a crime to characterize the evidence. He is certainly not subject to legal consequences for misleading or false statements to the press or public.
The more 5,400 pages of White House and Republican National Committee e-mails shows Rove as a critical player in pushing for the terminations. As the chief political adviser to Bush with no legal training, it is hard to disguise the emails as anything other than political manipulation of the Justice Department. Bush’s politicalization of the Justice Department has long been condemned by liberals and conservatives alike.
The evidence includes such e-mails as the one in 2005 where Rove aide Scott Jennings told another Rove aide, saying, “I would really like to move forward with getting rid of NM US ATTY.”
Chairman John Conyers was blunt: “After all the delay and despite all the obfuscation, lies, and spin, this basic truth can no longer be denied: Karl Rove and his cohorts at the Bush White House were the driving force behind several of these firings, which were done for improper reasons.” The question is whether Conyers now views this as a criminal matter or just another example of Rovian reconstruction of the truth. It seems like the Democrats are treating it as the latter and leaving it up to the public to judge his credibility and honesty. That is what Rove asked for when he called for citizens to review the documents and reach their own conclusions.
The document confirm what has long been argued: Rove and his minions pushed for the removal of these prosecutors to force the Justice Department to bend to political demands.
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