Rove skips House testimony for third time
Jeremy Gantz
Published: Monday February 23, 2009

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Karl Rove did it again. Or rather, he didn't do it again.

For the third time, the former Bush official – and newly crowned king of D.C. Twitterers – failed to appear before the House Judiciary Committee to testify about his alleged involvement in the firing of U.S. Attorneys and the alleged political prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.

Rove's no-show Monday is not surprising – especially to Siegelman, who said Monday in an exclusive Raw Story interview that Rove will never testify under oath "because he is guilty as sin." Rove's attorney has vehemently denied that his client was involved in the prosecution of Siegelman.

But the non-event marks another milestone in the increasingly complex political and legal battle between Rove and House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI). Last week, Obama's acting assistant attorney general quietly filed a court brief saying it was necessary to delay the effort to force Rove's deposition in the congressional investigation.

"The president is very sympathetic to those who want to find out what happened," Obama White House Counsel Gregory Craig said February 14th. "But he is also mindful as president of the United States not to do anything that would undermine or weaken the institution of the presidency. So, for that reason, he is urging both sides of this to settle."

Conyers subpoenaed Rove in January; Rove did not appear. Rove has previously said he will not testify to Congress, citing Bush's claim of executive privilege. He's also refused subpoenas from the Senate Judiciary Committee, which called on him to testify in 2007.

On February 13th, Conyers subpoenaed Rove a third time, asking him to appear Monday for a deposition.

“I have said many times that I will carry this investigation forward to its conclusion, whether in Congress or in court, and today’s action is an important step along the way,” Conyers said last month. “Change has come to Washington, and I hope Karl Rove is ready for it. After two years of stonewalling, it’s time for him to talk.”

He still hasn't. Conyers' next move is unclear. Late Monday, both his own website and the Judiciary Committee's made no mention of the newly delayed deposition.

The next key date in the long-running sage appears to be March 4th, according to Talking Points Memo. That day is when the Obama administration is due to offer its opinion on the Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten case, in which former President Bush also asserted executive privilege.

"The new administration's stance on that case could well also determine how a judge would rule on the Rove case, should the issue go to court," TPM Muckraker's Zachary Roth reported.

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