Standing up to the NRA after Roanoke, horrifying U.S. gun death toll; PLUS: Denying global warming on Katrina's 10th anniversary; Trump's ugly nativism; Good news for Dems; Marriage dead-enders in KY...
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...
An official state investigation is now underway into multiple voter fraud charges against Rightwing author and one-time attorney Ann Coulter in Connecticut. The investigation began after a complaint was filed with the state's Elections Enforcement Commission on January 29, 2009.
The BRAD BLOG has exclusively obtained a copy of that one-page complaint which is posted in full, as filed with Joan M. Andrews, Director of Legal Affairs and Enforcement for the commission, at the end of this article.
The complaint was filed by Daniel Borchers, a conservative Christian critic of Coulter's following allegations in the New York Daily News in January that she had illegally voted by absentee ballot in CT, using her parents address there, in 2002 and 2004, despite being a resident of New York City at the time.
Though the allegations of Coulter having committed voter fraud in CT in 2002 and 2004 would be her first known instances of casting ballots illegally, they are not the first allegations of such crimes against Coulter. In 2005, after she moved from NY to Palm Beach, FL, she knowingly falsified her Voter Registration Form (a 3rd degree felony), knowingly voted at the wrong precinct (a 1st degree misdemeanor), as well as gave a false address for her drivers license (another 3rd degree felony).
Despite an inaccurate report from AP in May of 2007, subsequently picked up by other media, Coulter was never "cleared" of the voter fraud charges in FL.
A senior Democratic Congressman on the U.S. House Judiciary has said that either Karl Rove will testify before the committee, or he will go to jail. In the meantime, it has also now been learned, legal counsel for George W. Bush issued a letter just days before leaving the White House, claiming Rove, Bush, and other senior staffers have "absolute immunity" from testifying to Congress in the future.
Speaking on MSNBC, Judiciary member Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said last night that if Rove fails to show, in answer to a subpoena issued earlier this week, he'll be cited for Contempt of Congress. Then, he said, "the grand jury indicts him, you arrest him for contempt, and you put him in jail until he is prepared to testify to obey the subpoena." (More details, as well as video of the Nadler interview, follow below.)
Well, now, this could get interesting. Just in from Conyers' office...
Monday, January 26, 2009
Conyers Subpoenas Karl Rove: "It's Time to Talk"
(Washington, D.C.) --- Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. issued a subpoena to Karl Rove requiring him to testify regarding his role in the Bush Administration's politicization of the Department of Justice, including the US Attorney firings and the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. The subpoena was issued pursuant to authority granted in H.R. 5 (111th Congress), and calls for Mr. Rove to appear at deposition on Monday, February 2, 2009. Mr. Rove has previously refused to appear in response to a Judiciary Committee subpoena, claiming that even former presidential advisers cannot be compelled to testify before Congress. That "absolute immunity" position was supported by then-President Bush, but it has been rejected by U.S. District Judge John Bates and President Obama has previously dismissed the claim as "completely misguided."
"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," said Mr. Conyers. Noting that the change in administration may impact the legal arguments available to Mr. Rove in this long-running dispute, Mr. Conyers added "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."
President Obama announced the nomination on Thursday of a former government lawyer, who had been critical of the legal rationale for the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, to lead the Justice Department’s national security division.
The lawyer, David Kris, served as a senior Justice Department official in both the Clinton and Bush administrations from 2000 to 2003, and is widely respected in Washington for his knowledge of intelligence law.
In late 2005, following the public disclosure of the N.S.A. wiretapping program approved by President Bush, Mr. Kris wrote a 23-page legal analysis that described as “weak’’ and likely unsupportable some of the Bush administration’s key legal arguments in justifying the program.
And when he was still at the Justice Department, he advised his boss, who was at the time Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson, not to sign a mysterious batch of wiretapping warrants — which grew out of the program — because intelligence officials would not reveal how the information in the wiretaps was obtained.
Eric Holder just told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the behavior of president Bush has been illegal, and that he, Eric Holder, will uphold the rule of law. It will be very hard to maintain those positions and not prosecute or appoint a Special Counsel to prosecute Bush's crimes.
Here's roughly what was said:
10:29 a.m. Leahy: is "waterboarding" torture and illegal?
Holder: yes, it is torture.
Leahy: Can other nations legally torture Americans?
Leahy: Can President of the United States immunize acts of torture?
Holder: Nobody is above the law. President has Constitutional obligation to enforce the laws. We have laws and treaties. The president acts most forcefully and has the greatest power when consistent with Congressional intent and directives. The president does NOT have the power that you have indicated.
Leahy: Washington Post yesterday reported that the top Bush Admin. official on military commissions says we tortured a detainee.
If he's confirmed, Attorney General nominee Eric Holder told the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee during confirmation hearings today, he'll review the Bush U.S. Attorney's decision to not prosecute former DoJ Civil Rights attorney Bradley Schlozman for his grotesque bastardization and politicization of the department as we detailed earlier this week. Schlozman, the DoJ's Inspector General found, broke federal law and custom vis a vis his hiring practices of only fellow whack-a-doodle wingnuts, and further went on to lie to Congress about during hearings (which is also a federal crime).
Said Holder during questioning by Sen. Dianne Feinstein...
I've had this picture in my mind lately, an editorial cartoon-like drawing, of a dam about to break and someone (Obama?) leaning hard up against it in futile hopes of keeping it from bursting forth. The dam and its contents, in my mind's eye, are labeled "Bush Administration Crimes and Failures." I've been pondering, over the last several days, how we're soon likely to learn that everything we think we already know about the historically-unparalleled failures, crimes and cover-ups of the Bush administration, will likely prove to be barely the tip of the iceberg as the Bushies lose their power, and "the files" are finally opened for all to see.
It's likely to take years, after President Obama is sworn in next week, to unearth the entire breadth of the degradation, filth, corruption and dismantling of federal law and U.S. Constitution under the current administration, and to piece together all of the unshredded and likely-shredded evidence both, and to take in the information likely to pour forth from officials and former officials who finally find the courage to tell the world just how bad it all really was and is (even if many of them would now be doing so only to salvage their own hide.)
One hint of what will be found beyond the tip of that iceberg, or inside that near-to-bursting dam (take your metaphorical pick) comes in today's remarkable report [PDF] from the DoJ Inspector General on the illegal politicization of the hiring practices at the DoJ's Civil Rights Division and "other improper personnel actions" in the division.
It's remarkable on several fronts. Not only because it describes the politicization of the department under the Bushies, their strictly illegal hiring practices; their determined dismantling of a core of career attorneys devoted to years of legal-processes in the fight for civil rights; as well as perjury and out-and-out lying to Congress, but also because the report itself --- in one last classic stroke of corrupt Bush Administration gaming of the system --- was completed last July, prior to the election, but held for release until today, just 7 days before the criminals (or at least those who won't be still-embedded like cancer cells within the federal buearocracy for years to come) take their leave.
And, as if all of that isn't bad enough, with the out-and-out finding of criminal wrongdoing in the report (such as illegal hiring practices and lying about them to Congress), the Bush Administration's own DoJ has decided that no prosecutions should be brought against the Bush Administration's own DoJ for the Bush Administration's own DoJ's now-well-documented actions in breaking federal law.
The bastardization of the DoJ Civil Rights division is a topic which we've covered closely over the years here at The BRAD BLOG, and even played a part in helping to expose, for example, when the head of the Voting Section in that division, John Tanner, was forced to resign from his post, not long after we'd video-taped and published controversial (and inaccurate) comments he made at a 2007 conference in Los Angeles declaring that disenfranchising Photo ID restrictions at the polling place were more of a concern for the elderly than for African-Americans because "minorities don't become elderly the way white people do. They die first."
(See our now-infamous video, shot by our own Alan Breslauer, at right.)
As today's (actually July's) report reveals, that wouldn't be the only unfortunate --- and one might say, "ironic", given his position --- derogatory remark made about African-Americans by Tanner. But the bulk of the report, it seems, is devoted to one Bradley Schlozman, who insidiously twisted the mission of the Civil Rights division, brought political prosecutions in order to try and affect the outcome of elections, in violation of written DoJ policy, and attempted (and arguably succeeded) in helping to engineer an outright illegal, and ideological purge --- an ethical cleansing, if you will --- at the department, in an attempt to stack it with far rightwing brethren from the Federalist Society, or "right thinking Americans" (RTAs), as he referred to them among friends...
The Republican IT guru, recently described as a "high tech Forrest Gump" for his proclivity to be "at the scene" of so many troubling elections since 2000, and even at the heart of the "lost" White House email scandal, has been ordered by a federal judge to appear for an under-oath deposition next Monday in Ohio.
The BRAD BLOG has learned that Mike Connell, the Republican IT guru whose company, GovTech Solutions, created Ohio's 2004 election results computer network, appeared in federal court today, as compelled, and has been ordered to appear for his deposition on Monday, November 3, just 24 hours before Election Day 2008.
Though Connell's attorneys have fought to quash the subpoena, recently issued after the judge lifted a stay on the case several weeks ago, it looks like his options to avoid testimony, or at least jail for avoiding it, may have come to an end. The attorneys in the case have said that Connell's testimony may well lead to the subpoenaing and under-oath questioning of Karl Rove, who, they say, would be unable to use Executive Privilege as an excuse to avoid such a subpoena in a civil RICO case...
The film above quickly notes the GOP's nearly identical efforts to swiftboat ACORN in 2000 and 2004, we should point out that today, those same folks are not only doing it again in 2008, they are now sending out private investigators to intimidate voters in NM. And more incredibly, taking the White House politicization of the U.S. DoJ to an unprecedented new level, George W. Bush himself has now asked the DoJ to "investigate" the OH GOP's allegations of some 200,000 voters after the case was recently rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Further, while the piece above is not bad, it looks like they forgot to include John McCain's own statement to ACORN, when he was their keynote speaker at a 2006 rally, and told the assembled volunteers they were "what makes America special." That short video follows below as a reminder...
This week, Broward County, Florida, Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes said, with a straight face, "No one could have anticipated that this election would be so historic and draw as much attention as it has," and defended her choice to oppose expanding early voting hours next week due to "logistical problems."
In addition to the problems in Florida, there are now reports that longtime GOP "voter fraud" hoaxster Pat Rogers (also known for his involvement in the U.S., Attorney Purge Scandal for the bogus "voter fraud" allegations he filed in 2004, and as a board member of the now-defunct and fully-debunked GOP astro-turf group, "American Center for Voting Rights," or ACVR), is apparently using private investigators to intimidate voters in New Mexico.
Details on those stories and many more --- pre-election litigation over polling place photo I.D. restrictions in Georgia and Ohio, absentee military ballots in Virginia, GOP efforts to close early voting polling places in Indiana, GOP calls for the Dept. of Justice to investigate ACORN just days before a federal election --- from across the country, all follow in the detailed round-up below...
I've written both here and at the UK's Guardian to point out that not a single case of ACORN "voter fraud" has been shown anywhere despite the Republican's phony outrageous and MSM's knee-jerk reporting of it.
That changed on Friday (for about a minute) when the GOP and their always-reliable and incurious media echo chamber began trumpeting "undeniable proof that a significant number of fraudulent votes were cast in Democrat primary races for the New Mexico legislature as a result of ACORN’s voter registration fraud."
Knock us over with a feather, but those charges have now fallen apart as well...
The Hill reports today that defense attorneys for Congressman Rick Renzi (R-AZ) have filed a motion to dismiss 35 charges of corruption stemming from a sweetheart real estate deal, claiming the federal government secretly and illegally wiretapped Renzi's cell phone.
Ironically, Renzi appears to have been caught up in the very same warrantless wiretapping that he supported as a Congressman...
Late last week I had the "pleasure" of appearing on Tavis Smiley's public radio show, along with GOP "voter fraud" zealot and propagandist Hans von Spakovsky, about whom we've written quite a bit here over the years. The show was pre-taped last Thursday, ran over the weekend, and will continue to be available at Smiley's website throughout the week.
The audio discussion, which became rather heated at times, is posted at the end of this article.
In his introduction, Smiley credits von Spakovsky as being "from the Heritage Foundation." But in addition to being funded by those unapologetic Republicanists, it goes unnoted that vS, a former chair of the FEC, recess-appointed by Bush, then blocked by the Democrats in the Senate when his appointment came up again, was formerly embedded in the Bush DoJ's wholly-politicized Civil Rights Division voting section.
At the DoJ, he helped to deconstruct the beloved Voting Rights Act of 1965 by, among other things, pushing through polling place Photo ID restrictions in places such as Georgia, against the advice of just about every career employee in the division. (The law was later found to be an "unconstitutional day poll tax" by the courts, but ultimately allowed by a higher court, and still under challenge by Democrats in the state.) He was also instrumental in bringing phony "voter fraud" charges, such as those against ACORN workers in Missouri, filed just days before the razor-thin 2006 Senate election, in violation of the DoJ's own written rules against bringing such indictments just prior to elections where they are likely to affect the race.
Perhaps even more noteworthy, but unmentioned by Smiley, is that even with all of that, the disgraced von Spakovsky has been secretly hired, at tax-payer expense, as a consultant for Bush's similarly compromised, and now ironically-named, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, to help monitor the job that the DoJ will (or won't) be doing to monitor the 2008 general election.
In any case, vS remains an unapologetic democracy hater, hell-bent on keeping Democratic-leaning voters away from the polls and, as you'll note during the interview, a liar.
Normally, however, he's not faced with anybody who can actually call him on his bullshit. That wasn't the case this time, as I was there, and was able to do exactly that...