[Updated 8/3/09: Republican attorney and whistleblower Jill Simpson says Rove broke the law in given his interviews to to WaPo and NYTimes. See update at bottom of article for details.]
Well, this is interesting...Seems Rove has now met a second time behind closed doors with the U.S. House Judiciary Committee today, according to this breaking report from Washington Post which also includes a review of newly disclosed email showing he "and other high-ranking figures in the Bush White House played a greater role than previously understood" in the U.S. Attorney Purge.
WaPo reports "The e-mails emerged as Rove finished his second day of closed-door-testimony Thursday about the firings to the House Judiciary Committee." He had previously met with Judiciary Committee members in early July.
Keep in mind, as you read the article, that their piece feeds off of an "hour-long interview with The Post and the New York Times this month", so the piece is likely to offer a Rove-friendly framing to be taken with a grain of salt or three. Eg. "Rove described himself as merely passing along complaints by senators and state party officials to White House lawyers."
Marcy Wheeler at emptywheel concurs there is much "Rove spin" throughout the piece. She also asserts the newly revealed email may well have come from Rove and/or his attorney Robert Luskin who have a habit of leaking friendly documents to media whenever convenient, and in hopes of controlling the public reportage. Papers like WaPo and NYTimes have been historically all too happy to serve them to that end over the years.
The paper also reports the WaPo/NYTimes interview was "conducted on the condition that it not be released until Rove's House testimony concluded." So the release of the piece would seem to signal that the behind-closed-doors testimony --- about which our Judiciary sources have been incredibly tight-lipped --- has now ended. Rove, and Harriet Miers, however, could still be called for public testimony before the committee according to the agreement between Bush Administration attorneys and the Judiciary Committee, as (questionably) brokered by the Obama White House. It also means that Judiciary sources may well begin revealing details and/or transcripts of the interviews soon, now that they've concluded (as per the agreement). So, of course, Rove is trying to get out in front of that with his own spin.
Here's WaPo's lede...
The e-mails and new interviews with key participants reflect contacts among Rove, aides in the Bush political affairs office and White House lawyers about the dismissal of three of the nine U.S. attorneys fired in 2006: New Mexico's David C. Iglesias, the focus of ire from GOP lawmakers; Missouri's Todd Graves, who had clashed with one of Rove's former clients; and Arkansas's Bud Cummins, who was pushed out to make way for a Rove protege.
UPDATE: NYTimes' article confirms the emails came from Rove himself. Their lede is even more favorable to him, in his attempt to downplay his role in the firings of 9 Republican U.S. Attorneys who, among other things, were not pursuing phony "voter fraud" investigations enough for the GOP, or otherwise pursuing corruption charges against Republican officials.
As in WaPo's coverage, NYTimes offers Rove's spin that he "did not involve himself in the details of the dismissals" and merely "went along" with the firings (rather than helped orchestrate them).
Here's a particularly fresh spin on the entire affair from Rove, that I don't recall seeing before...