- The Washington Times - Friday, May 23, 2008

The House Judiciary Committee yesterday subpoenaed President Bush’s former chief political adviser, Karl Rove, to testify about whether the White House improperly meddled with the Justice Department.

Accusations of politics influencing decisions at the department led to the resignation last year of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales.

It’s not clear whether Mr. Rove will ever be forced to testify. The White House refuses to let him or other top aides testify about private conversations with Mr. Bush, citing executive privilege to block Congress’ demands.

The subpoena orders Mr. Rove to appear before the House panel on July 10. Lawmakers want to ask him about the White House’s role in firing nine U.S. attorneys in 2006 and the prosecution of former Gov. Don Siegelman of Alabama, a Democrat.

“It is unfortunate that Mr. Rove has failed to cooperate with our requests,” said Rep. John Conyers Jr., Michigan Democrat and the panel’s chairman. He also noted in his statement that Mr. Rove “does not seem the least bit hesitant to discuss these very issues weekly on cable television and in the print news media.”

Both Mr. Rove and his attorney, Robert Luskin, declined to comment.

The Senate Judiciary Committee also authorized a subpoena of Mr. Rove, who did not show up to testify. Senate Democratic leaders, not eager to pick a difficult political fight in an election year, didn’t plan to seek a vote on whether to hold Mr. Rove in contempt of Congress, which is a criminal offense.

In a May 21 letter to the House panel, Mr. Luskin called the then-threatened subpoena a “gratuitous confrontation.”

The White House all but jeered at the subpoena yesterday, calling it “political theater.”

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