Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy (D-VT) announced today he is issuing subpoenas compelling White House officials Karl Rove and J. Scott Jennings to provide testimony and information into the firings of U.S. attorneys.
“What the White House stonewalling is preventing is conclusive evidence of who made the decisions to fire these federal prosecutors,” Leahy wrote. “Indeed, the evidence we have been able to collect points to Karl Rove and the political operatives at the White House.”
The White House’s refusal to allow a transcript of Rove’s testimony forced the Committee to issue the subpoenas. Leahy argued that the White House’s “blanket assertions of executive privilege” are fomenting a “constitutional crisis”:
With our service of these subpoenas, I hope that the White House takes this opportunity to reconsider its blanket claim of executive privilege, especially in light of the testimony that President was not involved in the dismissals of these U.S. Attorneys. I hope that the White House steps back from this constitutional crisis of its own making so that we can begin to repair the damage done by its untoward interference with federal law enforcement. … Mr. Rove and the White House must not be allowed to continue manipulating our justice system to pursue a partisan political agenda.
Documents revealed that “the idea of firing all 93 U.S. attorneys” was raised by Rove in early January 2005, and discussed with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. The evidence indicated “Rove was more involved in the plan than previously acknowledged by the White House.” Furthermore, U.S. attorney Bud Cummins was allegedly fired to make way for Rove-protege Tim Griffin.
Jennings set up a meeting between Moonica Goodling and New Mexico Republican officials in June 2006 to discuss U.S. Attorney David Iglesias’s “situation” in New Mexico. Documents show that Jennings also had knowledge of the plan for firing the U.S. attorneys.
The deadline for submitting documents and testimony is August 2 at 10:00 a.m.
Read Leahy’s letter to Rove here.