Sunday, March 18, 2007

Subpoena Power

This was why it was so important for Democrats to win back BOTH the House and the Senate last November.

UPDATE: Speaking of subpoenas, The Politico reports that Karl Rove and others involved in the prosecutor purge may be be getting a few this week:

The House Judiciary Committee could vote as early as Tuesday to subpoena Karl Rove, White House deputy chief of staff, and Harriet Miers, former White House counsel, as part of the panel's probe into their role in the recent firing of eight U.S. Attorneys. E-mails released this week show that Rove was aware of Jan. 2005 discussions within the White House to fire all 93 U.S. Attorneys, contradicting earlier White House statements about when and how much Rove was involved in the issue.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) was told by White House Counsel Fred Fielding on Friday that the White House would not turn over documents relating to the prosecutor purge, although Fielding declined to say definitely whether the White House would agree to let Rove, Miers and other officials provide testimony to the committee.

In response, Conyers now says that he will prepare to subpoena Rove, Miers, Scott Jennings, Deputy Political Director Scott Jennings, and William Kelly, the deputy counsel.

Conyers panel could vote on the matter as early as Tuesday, according to Democratic insiders, although it's unclear whether Conyers will seek approval for actual subpoenas or just the authority to subpoena Rove, Miers and the other White House officials.

"The White House Counsel's office advised us this afternoon that the White House would not be providing documents to the Committee, or providing the White House's position with respect to the Committee securing the testimony of White House officials today," Conyers said in a statement released by his office late Friday afternoon. "This is contrary to earlier expectations that the Committee would receive these answers and documents today and is, therefore, very disappointing. The Counsel's office has assured me that they will continue to work in good faith to get answers to those questions by early next week."

Conyers added: "Despite those assurances and my continued hope that the White House will resolve these questions in a cooperative fashion, the Committee must take steps to ensure that we are not being stonewalled or slow walked on this matter. I will schedule a vote to issue subpoenas next week for the documents and officials we need to talk to. Allegations that our criminal justice system has been undermined by partisan politics and that the Congress was deceived about these activities are among the most serious this Congress will consider and we expect immediate answers."

I think the past actions of the administration make one thing clear - the Bush administration will have to be compelled to come clean on this scandal.

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