Rove to Talk to Congress, But Not Testify Under Oath
The White House has offered a compromise in the ongoing U.S. Attorney firing brouhaha, agreeing to let Congress interview Karl Rove and Harriet Miers without any formal testimony.
The White House move was announced after the Senate voted overwhelmingly to end the Bush administration’s ability to unilaterally fill U.S. attorney vacancies. That had come as a backlash to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ firing of the prosecutors.
Gonzales got a morale boost with an early-morning call from President Bush, their first conversation since a week ago, when the president said he was unhappy with how the Justice Department handled the firings.
The White House offered to arrange interviews with Rove, Miers, deputy White House counsel William Kelley and J. Scott Jennings, a deputy to White House political director Sara Taylor, who works for Rove. “Such interviews would be private and conducted without the need for an oath, transcript, subsequent testimony, or the subsequent issuance of subpoenas,” [White House counsel Fred] Fielding said in a letter to the chairman of the House and Senate judiciary committees.
There is a long tradition, literally going back to George Washington’s time, that presidential advisers are not subject to the whims of Congress. That likely won’t help stem the firestorm over this controversy, however.