What follows below is a letter I sent to AG Eric Holder last week, on behalf of VelvetRevolution.us (of which The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder), calling for his immediate investigation of all political prosecutions at the DoJ during the Bush era, including those of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and Mississippi attorney/Democratic fundraiser Paul Minor. On the heels of the DoJ's dismissal of charges against Republican Sen. Ted Stevens, the DoJ needs to similarly vacate charges against anyone who was specifically targeted, for political reasons, by the Bush Admin's perversion of justice at the DoJ.
There are now well over 700 organizations and individuals, such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Ray McGovern and Scott Horton currently signed on to the letter, and you are invited to do so yourself via the campaign's main page at RestoreJusticeAtJustice.com. More details are over there. We hope you'll both sign on, and help spread the word.
Here is the letter to Holder, sent last week just before Minor's wife passed away, and prior to the release of the Bush regime's appalling torture memos which we will, no doubt, be dealing with in a future campaign...
Just in from Conyers' office. Rove and Miers will testify, under oath [see explanation in update below], in "transcribed depositions under penalty of perjury"...
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
House Judiciary Committee Secures Rove and Miers Testimony in U.S. Attorney Firings
In an agreement reached today between the former Bush Administration and Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Karl Rove and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers will testify before the House Judiciary Committee in transcribed depositions under penalty of perjury. The Committee has also reserved the right to have public testimony from Rove and Miers. It was agreed that invocations of official privileges would be significantly limited.
In addition, if the Committee uncovers information necessitating his testimony, the Committee will also have the right to depose William Kelley, a former White House lawyer who played a role in the U.S. Attorney firings.
The Committee will also receive Bush White House documents relevant to this inquiry. Under the agreement, the landmark ruling by Judge John Bates rejecting key Bush White House claims of executive immunity and privilege will be preserved. If the agreement is breached, the Committee can resume the litigation.
Chairman Conyers issued the following statement:
"I have long said that I would see this matter through to the end and am encouraged that we have finally broken through the Bush Administration's claims of absolute immunity. This is a victory for the separation of powers and congressional oversight. It is also a vindication of the search for truth. I am determined to have it known whether U.S. Attorneys in the Department of Justice were fired for political reasons, and if so, by whom."
U.S. House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) has subpoenaed Karl Rove today, yet again (the third time, for those keeping score at home), to give sworn, public testimony before the committee on February 23rd concerning the politicization of the U.S. Dept. of Justice during the Bush Administration.
Today's subpoena was sent to Rove's attorney Robert D. Luskin. It's accompanied by a brief, two-page letter [PDF] in which the Congressman politely refuses a request by the attorney to delay Rove's appearance, yet again. The previous subpoena required Rove's appearance on Feb. 2nd, but was delayed at his request and rescheduled for the 23rd at that time.
Following the previous subpoena, Rove told Fox "News" that he would refuse to testify, and committee member Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) responded on MSNBC by saying that he would either testify, or go to jail.
At the end of today's letter, refusing Luskin's request for further delay, Conyers, rather amusingly, notes:
[G]iven Mr. Rove's public statements that he does not intend to comply with the subpoena, I am puzzled as to why Mr. Rove needs a mutually convenient date to fail to appear.
RAW STORY's John Byrne reports that request for comment from Luskin was responded to with an auto-reply email stating that Luskin would "be out of the office and unable to check emails or voicemails until February 23, 2009."
UPDATE 2/14/09: "White House counsel Gregory Craig issued a statement late Friday encouraging former Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove to cut a deal with Congress, an indication the new administration has begun to put pressure on President George W. Bush's former chief adviser." More details...
UPDATE 2/16/09: "Representatives of the Bush White House are no longer advising former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove that he is protected by executive privilege as regards testimony about the alleged political prosecution of an Alabama governor.
"In an exchange with Raw Story, Rove’s Washington, D.C. attorney, Robert Luskin, also said Rove won’t invoke his Fifth Amendment right to protect himself from self-incrimination, if and when he testifies about the firing of nine US Attorneys and the prosecution of the former governor." More details...
The lede: "Thousands of voters across the country must reestablish their eligibility in the next three weeks in order for their votes to count on Nov. 4, a result of new state registration systems that are incorrectly rejecting them."...
See below for a rather breathtaking "Round-up of Problems Facing Voters Nationwide", such as registration backlogs, illegal voting roll purges, deceptive practices and dirty tricks, etc., now plaguing American voters across the country with just 17 days left before our country's biggest election ever.
All of that, while Fox "News" (whose asked me to come on live tomorrow, Sunday, at 2:40pm PT, btw, along with my old friend John Fund "for balance") continues to misreport, alarm and deceive their viewers in regard to the GOP's phony ACORN "voter fraud" fraud. Unfortunately, it's not just Fox who is irresponsibly and dangerously misreporting that scam --- though they seem to have made a small cottage industry out of it of late --- CNN and MSNBC have been filed loads of equally inaccurate and misleading reports on it as well.
We've been reporting on the GOP's October "Surprise" over the last few days (challenges to Democratic voter registrations in a number of states, and, perhaps more notably, their bogus PR campaign to charge that ACORN, a community organization that heroically registers millions of low-income voters who nobody else bothers to, is committing "voter fraud." See here, here and here, for example.)
But the November Surprise, as we've been trying to warn for many months (if not years), will undoubtedly be the thousands who show up to the polls to vote on November 4th, only to find out that they have somehow "fallen off" the voter rolls.
We've urged folks to check their registrations, even if they recently voted in a primary election, to make sure they haven't been purged (info on how to do that quickly in all 50 states, right here).
Today, the New York Times has published a scathing report, based on a detailed investigation revealing that "Tens of thousands of eligible voters in at least six swing states have been removed from the rolls or have been blocked from registering in ways that appear to violate federal law."
We had the chance to interview former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman inside the Pepsi Center on Wednesday, during the Democratic National Convention.
Our concise conversation ranges from the Congressional Democrats' failure to call for a full House vote on Contempt of Congress by Karl Rove, Siegelman's 2002 election which he believes was "stolen electronically," the corporate media's inability to investigate or report on it, and the concern about whether or not Democrats will be in a forgive and forget mode after this session of Congress if Obama is successful in his quest for the White House.
Here's our complete interview (appx. 6 mins)...
Some pull-quotes from the interview...
On Rove: "If we do not vote the contempt citation, Karl Rove is simply going to get in his getaway car and thumb his nose at the Constitution, Congress, and the American people. It creates almost two systems of justice: one for the powerful, those connected to the White House, and then another system for you and me and the rest of the people."
On Democrats: "Democrats are so magnanimous in victory, as they were after Watergate, they did nothing. After the Iran-Contra scandal, they did nothing. But what Democrats are going to want to do is get on with positive programs, to fix the damage that has been done by the Bush administration...But I view this as part of that positive change. Finding out who hijacked the Department of Justice and who used it as a political weapon."
On his 'stolen' 2002 election: "I went to bed the winner. The media had been sent home. The pollworkers had been sent home. The party chairmen had been given their copies of the election results. And then after midnight a light went on in the basement of the capitol, the basement of the courthouse, in the sheriff's office, and 5,200 votes that were mine were shifted to my opponent."
The complete text transcript of the interview follows in full below (thanks to Emily Levy of VelvetRevolution.us)...
The McCain campaign's Alabama chairman, Attorney General Troy King, the virulent homophobe who is the subject of rumors that his wife discovered him having sex with another man, was a client of Strategum USA, the consulting firm of Ralph Gonzalez, a closeted gay GOP political operative who was killed last summer in a double murder-suicide in his home in Orlando.
Gonzalez was also the one-time campaign manager/consultant for Florida's hard-right, scandal-plagued 24th Congressional District U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney whose close ties to disgraced GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff and involvement in an alleged electronic vote-rigging conspiracy have been reported extensively for years by The BRAD BLOG.
Last Friday, the McCain campaign quickly scrubbed all references to King from its website without offering a public reason.
The August 27, 2007 Birmingham News report of the murder-suicide which took Gonzalez' life, discussed the consultant's work for King in Alabama...
The John McCain campaign scrubbed its website today to remove all references to its Alabama campaign chairman, Attorney General Troy King.
King, who is known for extremist views on religion and who has frequently made homophobic statements, including calling gays the "downfall of society," is the subject of rumors that his wife recently discovered him having sex with another man.
We happened upon the scrubbing of the campaign website as we did fact-checking for the article. At about 2:30 p.m PDT, when we checked the McCain campaign website, we found a news release from January on this now-blank page announcing the Alabama politicians who had joined McCain's "leadership team." The list included King, who was indeed named state campaign chairman.
A few minutes after we published the article, a reader left a comment alerting us that the link to the McCain website led to the blank page that is there now.
A search on the campaign site for "Troy King" returned no results, however a Google search for "Troy King" and "John McCain" still produced a link to the now-blank McCain campaign webpage near the top of the results as of 4 p.m. Friday.
Video: Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) gets nowhere as he attempts to grill Attorney General Michael Mukasey on the investigation into Karl Rove's influence in the federal prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.
Update (from Brad): Wow. Remarkable exchange. Made either more or less astounding by the reminder that it was Schumer himself who, with Diane Feinstein, sealed the confirmation of Mukasey. Regretting that one yet, Senator?
(P.S. Good catch, Jon! Don't let me stop you from posting an update that includes the answer to Sheldon Whitehouse's question at the end there! )
The torment and imprisonment of former Alabama governor Don Siegelman, allegedly via the hands of Karl Rove and his political hitmen operatives, has been extensively covered by The BRAD BLOG.
Over the weekend, Velvet Revolution.us (co-founded by The BRAD BLOG) sat down with him for an exclusive video-taped interview in Alabama. The entire interview will be posted soon, but we have posted two excerpts on YouTube. Both are embedded below.
Siegelman wants you to let Congress know that Rove must face the consequences of his actions. So do we.
Rove has been subpoenaed to testify before Congress tomorrow, July 10th, regarding the politicization of the Justice Department. The House Judiciary Committee wants to question Rove about his knowledge of the persecutionprosecution of former Alabama Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman and the U.S. Attorney firing scandal.
But Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, has informed the Judiciary Committee that Rove will not attend the hearing.
Luskin has offered to make Rove available to the committee behind closed doors and not under oath. Luskin also insists that there be no transcript of the questioning and that Rove would not respond to written questions from the panel.
The Judiciary Committee has rejected that so-called "compromise."
We join Siegelman's request, as stated in his interview, in asking you to please contact the House Judiciary Committee and your House Representative to politely but firmly insist that they hold Karl Rove in contempt of Congress.
You can call the House Judiciary Committee at 202-225-3951 and you can email them via this page.
You can call your House Rep. at 202-224-3121. More contact info for your specific Representative can be found here.
As Siegelman notes about Rove during the VR interview, in the first posted excerpt (seen at right)...
This is a guy who has told Congress that he will not show up under subpoena unless he is not sworn to tell the truth, unless he has the questions in advance, and unless he is assured that nobody is writing down his answers. Now does that sound like somebody who's prepared to tell the truth?
We won't know the truth until Congress digs it out, and that's why it is so incredibly important that anybody that reads your blog or listens to it or watches it gets on the phone, gets on their computer, or writes Congress and tells them to hold Karl Rove in contempt if he does not show up to testify on July 10th.
[H]e needs to be held in contempt, needs to be arrested, needs to be brought in and made to sit before Congress and answer questions.
In the second excerpt (video at right, below), Siegelman goes on to point out that only Congress currently holds the power to reveal the truth about what went on in this sordid affair...
Is the photo at left beginning to seem less and less absurd?
Looks like we're headed for an interesting game of chicken next month in the House Judiciary Committee surrounding Rove's subpoena to appear before it to answer questions in the Don Siegelman affair (and perhaps others) on July 10. RAW has the story worth putting on your radar, with no less than two House Judiciary members hinting that they may be willing to take extra steps (e.g., use of "inherent contempt" to have Rove arrested by the House Sergeant at Arms if need be) should he refuse to testify.
If Rove refuses to appear, says Rep. Wasserman-Schultz, "then we have to take the next step." And Rep. Sanchez notes, "We really need to set our foot down and show there are consequences to people who laugh in the face of Congressional subpoenas."
Tea leaves sure, but interesting ones, worth watching. The point is also made that the Committee may continue with this particular investigation, even as a new President takes office. Would be a whole different ballgame under those conditions. Presuming that new President isn't McCain, in any case. Hmmm...
Last Thursday Keith Olbermann began an excellent conversation with George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley on the Karl Rove subpoena matter by stating, "Joe Wilson's dream of watching Karl Rove frog marched out of the White House in handcuffs is long since gone. But a new dream has been born tonight. What about a Turdblossom perp walk out of the front door of Fix News."
As seen in the video at right, the freshly shorn former Ambassador responds to the news and our question at a small gathering where he was speaking in Los Angeles. He said he was unsure whether or not Congress will be able to "get to" Rove, though he was certainly behind the effort.
"Whether they will actually be able to get to Karl I don't know," Wilson told us. "But it's great to keep the pressure on him. It forces him back on defense." He then added: "It's amazing to me the extent to which these guys have operated with absolute impunity, absolute disregard for American law and American jurisprudence."
Following below is the entire 40 minutes or so of Wilson's talk to the small gathering last week in Los Angeles, covering all aspects of his ordeal with the Bush administration...
(Washington, DC)-Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), issued a subpoena to former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove for testimony about the politicization of the Department of Justice (DOJ), including former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman's case. Yesterday, Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, sent a letter to the Committee expressing that Rove would not agree to testify voluntarily, per the Committee's previous requests.
"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."
Separately, Chairman Conyers recently received a letter from DOJ's Office of Professional Responibility (OPR) indicating that the office has opened an investigation into allegations of selective prosecution of Siegelman and others.
Included below and attached are the relevant documents:
Full text of the cover letter sent to Robert Luskin, Karl Rove's attorney (attached and below); [Download here]
The following email comes from Mark Crispin Miller, NYU media professor, and author of the landmark election integrity book, FOOLED AGAIN.
It includes an email exchange from yesterday with the finally-free-on-bond former Democratic Governor of Alabama Don Siegelman, concerning his allegations that his 2002 election was electronically flipped. (A rarely seen video interview, featuring Siegelman in 2004 discussing details of what he believes happened, is at posted at end of this article.)
Yesterday I emailed Don Siegelman, as I had a few matters to discuss with him.
Here's the crucial part:
At 12:12 AM -0400 4/9/08, Mark Crispin Miller wrote:
The other, more important thing is this: As you may or may not know, the one aspect of your long ordeal that the press has stubbornly refused to mention--or, I think, even to perceive--is the theft of that election in 2002. Like you, I believe that that was crucial; but the press, quite typically, won't mention it. Frankly, I believe that they, and most leading Democrats, are in denial about it, as its implications are too frightening. Just as they've looked away from all the evidence of vast election fraud throughout Bush/Cheney's reign, therefore, they've also looked away from the subversion of that gubernatorial race in Alabama. And so that chapter of your story is unknown to most Americans, even those who've lately heard the rest of it.