The White House refuses to allow Karl Rove and other top aides to testify about the administration’s prosecutor purge. Instead, it has offered closed door “interviews” with no oath and no transcript. The House and Senate Judiciary Committees have rejected that offer and authorized subpoenas of White House officials.
Borrowing the White House’s talking points, MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell pestered Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) about why he was insisting on “putting on a show trial.” She told him the White House offer was perfectly acceptable. “You’re going to get the truth from Karl Rove. What’s wrong with that?” Later, O’Donnell asserted, “You don’t trust the White House. The bottom line, you don’t trust the White House.” Watch it:
As Leahy told O’Donnell, this is about more than whether or not the Senate trusts the White House. “We want to have hearings the way this country has had hearing for over 200 years,” Leahy stated. “Do it open. Do it under oath. And then let the American people decide.”
(HT: Political Discontent)
O’DONNELL: Well Senator, Tony Snow said today that you guys want the truth. And in this interview, you’re going to get the truth from Karl Rove.
LEAHY: Oh, really?
O’DONNELL: What’s wrong with that?
LEAHY: Oh, really? Oh, really? I’ve not seen any indication that we do. We’re allowed to ask just a few specific questions in a closed session with no transcript? C’mon, I spent —
O’DONNELL: You don’t trust the White House. The bottom line, you don’t trust the White House.
LEAHY: No. I spent eight years as a prosecutor and I know that if you really want to get the truth, and you really want to have a record, you have a transcript, you have people under oath. Which is what we want to do. We’ve had a number of these private meetings where they’ve come up and they’ve met with a few members of the Senate and the House and said, here, we’ve given you the whole story. Two days later, we pick up the newspaper. Find they left out half of it. And then they call and say, oops, sorry. We had more we wanted to give you.
O’DONNELL: But Senator, he says —
LEAHY: After that last time that happened with the Attorney General, I told him, no more of these closed-door hearings. Let’s have it in the open. And when you do it this way, please understand what happens. It is not just Democrats asking the questions. It is Republicans asking the questions. And our commitee has both Republican and Democrats, and the American people learn what the truth is. That’s really the way we should do it.
O’DONNELL: Senator, you’ve heard the President say though, that you’re putting on a show trial. And that Tony Snow said today, I thought this was a fact-finding mission, not a ratings-findings missions, and that you’re trying to create a courtroom atmosphere.
LEAHY: No, one thing they’re trying to define the terms on this. They say how open they’ve been by saying they’ve opened up 3,000 pages of repetitious things. But yet, on the important pages, look at those. They’ve been erased. We don’t know what’s in there. And that’s what we want to do. We want to have hearings the way this country has had hearing for over 200 years. Do it open. Do it under oath. And then let the American people decide. They want to do it behind closed doors with a limited amount of information. And say there, we’ve told everybody everything. I don’t think that makes much sense.