April 17th, 2008
07:15 PM ET
14 years ago

Rove asked to testify over ex-Alabama governor's prosecution


[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/17/art.rove1.gi.jpg caption="Rove left the White House in 2007."] WASHINGTON (CNN) - A House committee Thursday asked former White House political adviser Karl Rove to testify about allegations that Bush administration officials pushed for federal prosecutions of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and other Democrats.

House Judiciary Committee leaders said it is "imperative" that Rove answer allegations that he pressed the Justice Department to investigate Siegelman, a Democrat who when indicted was preparing a rematch against Alabama's Republican governor in 2006.

"We look forward to scheduling an early date for your voluntary appearance," the committee's Democratic leaders wrote in a letter released Thursday.

Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, said Thursday that President Bush's onetime political mastermind "absolutely denies he was in any way involved in the decision to prosecute Don Siegelman." Luskin said he has had no direct communication the the Judiciary Committee's staff or its chairman, Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan, and said the White House would have to decide whether Rove will be able to testify.

The probe grew out of the administration's controversial firings of eight U.S. attorneys in 2006. The White House has invoked executive privilege to keep Rove from testifying to Congress in that case.

Siegelman was sentenced to more than seven years in prison in 2007 after his conviction on bribery, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and mail fraud charges. Prosecutors accused him of running a "pay-for-play" scheme in which he exchanged official acts and influence for cash, property and services while serving as Alabama's governor from 1999 to 2003.

A federal appeals court ordered Siegelman released on bond in March, and he is scheduled to appear before the Judiciary Committee in May as part of an investigation into allegations that the Bush administration tried to influence the prosecutions of political opponents.

A Thursday report by the committee's Democratic staff recounted what it said is "extensive evidence" that Siegelman's prosecution "was directed or promoted by Washington officials."

And it cited three other cases - including that of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, coroner Cyril Wecht, a prominent forensic pathologist and an outspoken Democrat. Wecht was charged with 84 counts of wire fraud, mail fraud and theft in 2006, but the case was declared a mistrial earlier this month.

Rep. Lamar Smith, the committee's ranking Republican, called the staff report a rehash of "sensational allegations from unreliable witnesses and so-called academic studies." He said the Republican minority is still reviewing the document.

"Unfortunately, House Democrats are so intent on slandering the Bush administration that they willingly accept outlandish claims while questioning the honest work of career federal prosecutors," Smith, R-Texas, said in a written statement. "It may come as a surprise to some Democrats, but even Democratic office holders who have committed crimes must be held accountable.

Filed under: Karl Rove
soundoff (204 Responses)
  1. dar

    Reinstate stoning for the bush cronies......the American people should be disgusted with all the lies and corruption. Watch the Frontline videos about the Iraq war/occupation – Donny Rumsfeld made the worst decisions in history!

    April 17, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  2. HillaryisMcCain

    Hmm, I'm sure the Hillary campaign is very upset today since Rove is one of their chief strategists

    April 17, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  3. Praetorian, Fort Myers


    My God when will this congress turn it's attention on something important to the citizens of this country!!

    The Sentate and House of Representatives–needs an enema. We need to move in Independants and Libertarians--the Dems and GOP are really letting us down.

    April 17, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  4. Aaron, Sterling VA

    maybe you all didn't read the article... it says it's a "voluntary" appearance and that the white house will decide if he'll testify. do you REALLY think the white house will say O.K.? C'mon, open your eyes, people.

    April 17, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  5. MD

    Bush had no ethics. We all saw how he got into the White House. It is no surprise that Rove turned out to be the sleezeball that he is.

    Whatever comes out of his dirty mouth is a self-serving lie.

    April 17, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  6. linda

    You can tell Obama's suporters are Republicans because, they are allways "Spell Checking" other people's post, and i might add the Republicans are damm good "Spell Checkers".

    April 17, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  7. dar

    I hate that guy!

    April 17, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  8. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    He'll never testify. Bush will claim Executive Privilege or some such nonsense to cover his and Rove's respective behinds. There will be no justice for any of the criminals in the Bush Administration while GWB occupies the White House and if, God forbid, John McCain becomes President.

    April 17, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  9. rezagui1@hotmail.com

    Interesting how FOX claims to be such a patriotic station, and they have this bum on as a paid regular on their show. They have the eye of newt too. They must really hate our country. I think they are informational terrorists in disguise as a real news station. I have to go. I feel the need to vomit coming on strong.

    April 17, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  10. JA Cook

    Don't forget that Presidents leaving office dole out pardons like Halloween candy. The timing is perfect for Rove to be at Bush's front door with his hands out.

    Bill Clinton proved to be pretty generous at the end of his Presidency. Bush has many more potentially in need of his Get Out of Jail Free cards.

    April 17, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  11. Rose

    I am sure Rove has no humanity and grace to begin with....so honesty, dignity, faith and justice and integrity are not in his dictionary...what a lame life to live with...

    April 17, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  12. Emmanuel

    Hello karl, I am an OBAMA supporter and I wanted you to know that Justice may be delayed but never denied. It's your turn Karl take it like a man.

    April 17, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  13. Chris from San Antonio

    Rove denies it? I'm sold. No need for further questioning.

    April 17, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  14. Tim from Eugene OR.

    This man is probably the most responsible person in this country for dividing this country. Bush had a 90 plus approval ratting after we were attacked and instead of using it to get the American people behind him to accomplish great things for this country he divided us all into hate camps. I would like to see him at least spend the same amount of time behind bars as the gov. did. He is evil and a shameful excuse of an American. Doubt they will get him though.

    April 17, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  15. Ryan from New Mexico

    This man is Brilliant

    I love the fact that he's smart and able to counter every single Liberal point again and agin

    Im a Democrat and If he ever teaches anywhere...i wanna know what he knows

    April 17, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  16. King of NJ

    KARMA at its Finest !!! ROVE WILL GET HIS

    April 17, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  17. Angela

    No question that he was involved – but can anyone prove it? He is smart enough to cover his tracks – as he did with the outing of Valerie Plame.

    April 17, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  18. nader

    He should be investigated and prosecuted if he did anything wrong. You can trust his words. He is a big monster.

    April 17, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  19. Enough said

    Man... the Repubs. are in a bad way. Every time I see or hear McCain I wonder .... "is this the best the Repubs. can do?" Believe me, I'm no pollster, but I personally do not know anyone who supports McCain. The only supporters I see or hear about are on T.V. or in a poll.

    April 17, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  20. nader

    I mean, he can't be trusted.

    April 17, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  21. DLB, Atlanta, GA

    It seems that the president may or may not allow him to testify. If he does that's good. If not that's fine as well. After the election is over and Bush is out of office and a new administration is in office, who will cover Row and Bush’s backside. Not the new administration and I don’t think that any one of the Republicans that will be in any office when this is over will want there name on anything trying to protect the truth from coming out because it would be their end in office. This administration will get everything they have coming to them and the voters will see to that. Society will always remember you for what you did, both good and bad. In this case history will forever remember this administration and what they have done to this great country. America Lives On! Thank God for that!!!

    April 17, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  22. Carl

    Anyone else love the fact you can say these things and not be punished? But, of course, when you throw out your "Obama '08" garbage, you're voting for a socialist and someone who would end up restricting your rights on these forums...

    I find it hilarious. I'm not saying anything positive on Bush, but he's SO BAD as our leader, we are looking to elect something totally different...

    April 17, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  23. Gary Mitchell

    Somebody please get this guy. If Carl Rove escapes this administration unscathed, we owe G. Gordon Libby et al an apology (and we don't). He has been the author of every dirty trick and (border line) illegal act of this administration.

    April 17, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  24. Darth Vadik, CA

    Love Huckabee,

    Why do religious people think they have better morals, seriously asking, because all these ultra religious people seem to be the freakiest of all?

    Usually the ones who scream the loudest against sinning are the ones who are the worst sinners, just my observation.

    April 17, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  25. Gary Mitchell

    My God I'm starting to sound like Jack! Gonna swear of blogging for awhile.

    April 17, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
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