December 13th, 2007
02:00 PM ET
12 years ago

Contempt citations recommended for Rove, Bolten

Former White House aide Karl Rove.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday in favor of handing out contempt citations to a former and current White House official for failing to comply with subpoenas issued in the investigation into the firings of eight U.S. attorneys last year.

The committee voted 11-7 to cite White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten for refusing to hand over documents related to the firings and to cite former White House adviser Karl Rove for refusing to testify and hand over internal documents.

The recommendation will move to the Senate floor for a vote.

A White House spokesman dismissed the initiative as "politics."

The move marks the first time the Senate committee has voted for a contempt of Congress citation against anyone in the investigation into the firings. The House Judiciary Committee voted in July to recommend that Congress issue contempt citations to Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Myers.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, ruled last month that Bolten and Rove must testify before the panel and produce documents related to the firings.

In his blistering ruling, Leahy said that because the committee's investigation had found "significant and uncontroverted evidence that the president had no involvement in these firings," the White House can't claim executive privilege or immunity, which are meant to protect private communications between a president and White House aides.

The Bush administration has insisted that the firing of the attorneys was handled properly, but critics have charged that they were forced out because of political reactions to their decisions about what cases to pursue and, in one case, to allow a protege of White House political guru Rove to take one of the posts.

Though U.S. attorneys are political appointees who serve at the pleasure of the president, the Justice Department's initial characterization of the dismissals as "performance-related" triggered angry protests from the ex-prosecutors.

- CNN Producer Terry Frieden

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. Sophie, Battle Creek, MI

    Forget a contempt charge. Just impeach them all.

    December 13, 2007 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  2. Deb Northglenn, CO

    Anonymous – It is customary for an incoming presidient to replace the US Attorneys at the beginning of his term. The issue here is firing competent attorneys because you don't like who they are or are not prosecuting and then saying it is because of "perfomance issues". The adminsitration should have fired them without trying to damage the reputations of the attorneys involved. The problem with the Bushies is that can't even be competent when they are trying to be crooks.

    December 13, 2007 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  3. Shawn Smith, Kansas City, MO

    Congress has every right to investigate this narrow minded administration. And enough talk about how this Democratic Congress can't get anything done, it's because every time they accomplish something, this idiot from Texas heeds the warning of a veto, EVERY time. Bush would rather see 10 Million childern without health care, such a wonderful father.

    December 13, 2007 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  4. Al ,Broome Co. NY

    Obama used drugs, George Bush used drugs,Bill Clinton used drugs, but didn't enjoy it, why is this an issue now?

    December 13, 2007 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  5. Michelle D. - Atlanta, GA

    He should be taken out back and caned.

    All we're asking for is the TRUTH. Is that so hard for this administration to understand???

    Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.

    And what ever happened when Bush threatened to hold accountable anyone who had anything to do with OUTING CIA-Operative Valerie Plame? NOTHING!!!

    December 13, 2007 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  6. Dave, NY, NY

    Contempt citation? Obviously the Dems think they have some kind of judicary or police powers..... Gotta love when the government oversteps their constitutional powers in order to grandstand and make it look like they are actually doing something.

    December 13, 2007 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  7. Walt, Belton, TX

    Somebody give Leahy a citation for being stupid!

    December 13, 2007 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  8. Kelly P., Evanston, IL

    Regarding the replacing of U.S. attorneys by incoming presidents–it is normal operating procedure for a new administration. The question regarding the Bush administration's firing of certain U.S. attorneys is that they fired their own people and were doing so because these attorneys were not pursuing political prosecutions against Democrats, as the administration wanted them to do at the time of the 2006 elections. That is where the illegality arises, political interference in the legal process. If a Democrat is elected in 2008, that new president, according to tradition, would replace all of the Republican-appointed U.S. attorneys. However, should that Democrat's administration later do the same thing Bush's did–use these attorneys for political purposes–that would also be illegal. Former Nixon adviser, John Dean, has said that even in Nixon's wildest dreams, he would never have thought of all the illegalities that President Bush and his operatives have committed.

    December 13, 2007 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  9. John from America

    Observing these past 6 years prior to the Democrats taking a slim control of congress, I have never in all my 63 years seen so much corruption as the Bush administration and the total GOP.

    I would only hope that sooner than later the Democrats use the "Nuclear Option" in the senate to control the GOP filibuster machine! The GOP used this tactic to force the Democrats to end the filibuster against their Supreme court packing with GOP lackeys.

    December 13, 2007 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  10. JN

    Bye Bye Karl.

    Next stop: Impeachment

    December 13, 2007 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  11. liberal democrat, minneapolis

    Begin impeachment hearings for bush and cheney. Begin war crimes hearings for rove and rumsfeld. Don't dick around. Pull all funding for the Iraq war now. Show those republicans whining about a "do-nothing congress" what it means when you actually do what you were elected for.

    December 13, 2007 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  12. Jenny, paxton MA

    why is this process of getting to the bottom of things taking so LOOOOOOOOONG? CAN'T WAIT ANY MORE!!!!

    December 14, 2007 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  13. K, Florida

    To Mark in Shreveport LA;

    The Dems don't have to make Bush look bad . . . he doe's that on his lonesome!!!! Being from LA, you should have First hand knowledge of that!!!

    December 14, 2007 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  14. Trollmaster, CA

    For the Bush followers saying they can fire any judges they want to. They're right. However they lied and claimed the justices were fired for performance reasons.

    If they admitted they were fired for political reasons from the start, then there would have been no problem.

    Funny how the Bush admin acts like they had something to hide when there really wasn't. That's the true nature of a criminal. Those are the people you support you Bush boot lickers.

    December 14, 2007 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  15. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    Previous Post:

    Where was CNN's biased outrage when Billary fired ALL the US attorney's and replaced them with their own dominions??
    Posted By Anonymous : December 13, 2007 1:07 pm


    Love it when people who don't even have the backbone to post under their name are ignorant as well.

    Presidents traditionally replace attorneys at the beginning of the new administration. St. Ronald did the same.

    What Rove did was to replace only certain GOP attorneys who actually believed in the rule of law instead being of drooling lapdogs for the political agenda of the Bushies... this is unheard of in the middle of their appointments. He got caught. Those
    who were fired declined to go quietly.

    Ignorance can be cured but stupidity goes on forever.

    December 14, 2007 05:12 am at 5:12 am |
  16. bprossersme

    My God! You people are so stupid you cannot even see or understand your own stupidity. Bush can fire any freaking AG he wants to fire. No investigation needed morans.

    December 14, 2007 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  17. truebob, hollywood FL

    Jonah, Boston, MA:

    Thank you for reminding me I am not alone.

    December 14, 2007 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  18. Eric, from THE Republic of Texas

    Pres and White Officials under fire for firing attorneys.

    Up next, citations for Congress members who filibuster. After that, citations for justices who decide cases unfavorably.

    Like it or not, hiring/firing attorneys (for ANY reason, politics, the color of your shoes, or an attorney's lack of Binaca spray) is among the rights granted to the executive branch, just as filibusters are for the legislative branch. If Congress doesn't like it, they need to learn to lump it.

    December 14, 2007 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  19. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    To those who don't care about the firing of U.S. Attorneys, you should care. Yes, they serve at the pleasure of the president and typically a new president fires all the old ones.

    Here are some points to consider:
    U.S. Attorneys are to be independant of any and all political influence. That means they need to be impartial and prosecute everybody that they have a case for.

    The problem is that many of these firing have the appearance of being fired for political reasons. Without independant prosecutors, we risk that those that are in power could get away with far too many things; more than they do now.

    December 14, 2007 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  20. Angel, Los Angeles of Anaheim

    My God! You people are so stupid you cannot even see or understand your own stupidity. Bush can fire any freaking AG he wants to fire. No investigation needed morans.

    Posted By bprossersme : December 14, 2007 7:52 am

    Hey MORON,
    What's a moran???

    December 14, 2007 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  21. RIghtyTighty

    I wonder how much Rove and Bolten are going to get for selling those phony contempt citations on E-Bay. Sure wish they'd send me one..

    Ha Ha!!

    December 14, 2007 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  22. Joe, Boston

    Jonah of Boston. Well Done! I would also add:

    – Election results in Florida should have gone to Gore in 2000.

    – Election results in Ohio should have gone to Kerry in 2004 but the minority areas closed early and minorities were told to go to other precincts where they were not able to vote. This is all thanks to Carl Rove who flew in the day of the election to Ohio to ensure the Secretary of State (a REpublican)enforced those republican ways.

    What a sad country we're living in right now.

    December 14, 2007 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  23. Kristy Sanborn, Buckhorn, Mo.

    Leahy said himself that the lady who testified before Ms. Myers was to testify, and she tesified that the President had nothing to do with those firings, Leahy said himself that she would have been better off to not have testified at all. And that was reported and quoted of Leahy by cnn, just before Myers was to testify, not to mention, that at the time she didn't testify, that she was protected under executive priviledges.
    Leahy, in my opinion, is one hell of a trouble maker.

    December 16, 2007 05:55 am at 5:55 am |
  24. Kristy Sanborn, Buckhorn, Mo.

    Sara Taylor, thats who it was, when she testified President Bush didn't have anything to do with the firings of those attorneys, thats when Leahy said that, on cnn.
    Leahy was mad then because Sara didn't implicate the President, thats when leahy said Sara would have been better off not to testify at all.
    That was just before Ms. Meyers was due to testify.
    I asked then, since that was a double edged sword, which way does Leahy want it? For them to testify and then say they would have been better off not to, or for them to testify?
    The only problem leahy had after Sara testified was that leahy couldn't get her to lie and say the President was behind the firings.
    I guess some attorneys would have a problem also with their dismissals because of "performance-related" issues.
    Maybe Leahy just stays awake at night thinking of ways he can make the media and try to distract the President and our Justice Dept. from doing their duties?

    December 16, 2007 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
1 2 3