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House panel subpoenas Rove

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« on: May 22, 2008, 04:38:53 pm »

House panel subpoenas Rove

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Karl Rove asked to testify in case of ex-Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman

House Judiciary Committee subpoenas President Bush's former top aide

Committee threatened the subpoena if Rove didn't agree to testify by May 12

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday served a subpoena on former top Bush aide Karl Rove to compel his testimony concerning allegations that the Department of Justice had dismissed U.S. attorneys based on party affiliation.

Former top White House adviser Karl Rove was subpoenaed Thursday by the House Judiciary Committee.

 The committee ordered Rove to appear July 10 to testify on allegations he was a key player in pressing the Justice Department to dismiss some U.S. attorneys and to prosecute Democrats

It had authorized the subpoena earlier, but only delivered it Thursday after Rove's attorney said he would not appear voluntarily, 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."

In a letter dated Thursday and addressed to Conyers, Rove's attorney, Robert D. Luskin, noted that his client has already received a subpoena on the same issue from the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"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," the lawyer wrote, referring to a movie in which a person lives the same day over and over again.

Luskin added that "issues of executive privilege and separation of powers" could limit Rove's testimony.

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In a letter of response written Thursday, Conyers said the two committees are focusing on different matters, with the House committee delving into the prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, a Democrat.

Conyers also noted that other former White House officials have testified under subpoena in the past and have dealt with issues of executive privilege on a case-by-case basis.

"Mr. Rove should follow the same course," he said.

The Democratic-controlled Congress has been engaged in battle for months with the White House over information about the dismissal of the attorneys and the prosecution of Siegelman.

Current and former White House aides have refused to testify, citing executive privilege.
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