Lawyer says Rove will cooperate with US Attorney firings probe
Stephen C. Webster
Published: Monday February 2, 2009

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Rove's lawyer says he's speaking to investigators about Siegelman; Doesn't indicate stance on executive privilege

Karl Rove, former President Bush's Deputy Chief of Staff and longtime political adviser, will cooperate with the Department of Justice in its investigation of the firing of nine US attorneys, according to an interview with Rove's lawyer by Washington, D.C. investigative reporter Murray Waas.

Waas, who spoke with Robert Luskin, Rove's attorney, was also told that Rove has already spoken with the Justice Department regarding an internal probe of prosecutor misconduct in the jailing of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. Luskin asserted that Rove would not assert "personal privilege" regarding Siegelman's case, saying, "At no time has he or will he assert personal privilege in that matter."

The article, however, did not indicate the level of Rove's potential cooperation. Though Luskin said Rove wouldn't assert personal privlege, he did not indicate whether Rove will continue to seek protection under executive privilege. Several days before President Bush left office, the White House instructed Rove not to cooperate with subpoenas or produce documents to Congress relating to the US Attorney firings.

Luskin says Rove has deferred to the White House on such arguments. House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) subpoenaed Rove last week to testify to Congress regarding the firings and the Siegelman case.

Luskin did not answer specific questions about what Rove told investigators about Siegelman. But he maintained that Rove had no involvement in his prosecution.

"What Karl has said [to investigators] is entirely consistent with what he has said publicly--that he absolutely nothing to do with this," Luskin said.

Siegelman, who was convicted of corruption charges in 2006, was released on bail last April pending appeal after media reports -- including those of Raw Story and CBS' 60 Minutes -- revealed myriad irregularities surrounding his prosecution. The husband of the US Attorney who prosecuted Siegelman was a close associate of Rove's and worked as campaign manager for one of Siegelman's gubernatorial opponents. An Alabama Republican whistleblower also said that Siegelman was deliberately targeted and asserted that Rove had said he'd push the Justice Department to end Siegelman's political career.

In the issue of the firing of nine US Attorneys, who critics say were dismissed by the Bush Justice Department for political reasons, Rove's lawyer told Waas he'd cooperate with a federal criminal probe being led by Nora Dannehy, the Acting U.S. Attorney for Connecticut.

"Luskin told me that Rove had earlier not cooperated with the Inspector General and OPR probe into the firings because 'it was not his [Karl's] call... it was not up to us decide,'" Waas reported. "Luskin said that Rove was directed by the Bush White House counsel's office not to cooperate with the Inspector General and OPR."

Regarding the probe into the firing of the attorneys, Luskin said: "I can say that he would cooperate," and added that Rove "has not and will not assert any personal privileges."

John Byrne contributed to this report.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled Murray Waas' last name.