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Rove refuses call to testify under oath
Associated Press
Published: Tuesday May 13, 2008

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A House Judiciary Committee deadline passed Monday with former White House adviser Karl Rove standing by his refusal to testify about allegations that he pushed the Justice Department to prosecute former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.

In his latest offer to settle the matter, Rove sent the panel a letter offering to respond to questions in writing, according to his attorney. But he reiterated that he would not testify publicly and under oath.

Committee leaders did not immediately answer questions about how they will respond. Earlier this month, they threatened to subpoena Rove if he did not agree to appear voluntarily by Monday.

The dispute is the latest in a standoff between President Bush and Congress over testimony from current and former White House staffers on a variety of issues.

The White House has balked at requests for staff testimony, arguing that the administration has no obligation to respond to congressional demands for the details of internal deliberations.

Democrats say Bush is taking the most expansive view of executive privilege since Watergate and that the executive branch cannot ignore Congress' demands for information. The panel is suing to get documents and testimony from former White House counsel Harriet Miers and Bush's chief of staff, Josh Bolten.

Rove had previously offered to discuss the Siegelman matter with committee members privately, without a transcript and not under oath.

Judiciary Democrats balked, saying it would not create a clear record and would not be sworn.

Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, said Monday the latest offer for written responses was intended to address concerns about establishing a clear record.

The committee is investigating whether Rove and Republican appointees at the Justice Department influenced Siegelman's prosecution to kill his chances for re-election. It is part of a broader inquiry into whether U.S. attorneys were fired for not aggressively pursuing cases against Democrats.

Siegelman, a Democrat who served one term as governor after being elected in 1998, was convicted in 2006 on bribery and other charges and sentenced to more than seven years in prison. He was recently released on bond pending appeal.

Monday was the last day for former Bush advisor Karl Rove to agree to voluntarily testify about the prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman. MSNBC's Dan Abrams talked with Don Siegelman to talk about a case that some say is politically motivated.

This video is from MSNBC's Verdict, broadcast May 12, 2008.


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