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. NormK

    " The White House would have to decide whether Rove will be able to testify." You got to be joking! Rove made half the decisions anyway so how is this any different? Rove simply goes to Bush and says Rove shouldn't be required to testify. Bush nods his head three times and it's done.

    April 17, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  2. Josef

    ALL of the people here who have this hatred for Rove got it NOT from knowing who Rove is but from drinking the Kool-Aid from the left. Rove Beat their butts twice and they will never forgive him for it. That's all there is to it. They're living on rumors and lefty wacko innuendo.

    The real idiot in this is the Alzheimer's victim Conyers. There is an illiterate old fool who is WASTING Your money and mine with this endless posturing and pure political grandstanding. This guy is the fool.

    Mr Rove. You ought to tell Conyers to stuff it. Don't waste your time with that FOOL.

    April 17, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  3. Take Our Country Back

    I voted for Bush, because of ethics, but this man is a complete loser!!!!!!

    So how is that working out for you? This administraton represents the most egregious abuse of power in the history of this nation. They should all be behind bars

    April 17, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  4. kobold

    I guess hes practising, " i do not recall' 'i don't remember" i search my mind and i cant find it' Ala Alberto Gonzales

    April 17, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  5. Neil K, Lake Forest CA

    Voluntary testimony... as if this guy would volunteer anything but more bilge. It would be nice if I believed that anything will come of this, but I'm not holding my breath that Tubby McTreason will even be subpoenaed, let alone testify.

    Stunning to think a guy like this was born on Christmas Day.

    April 17, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  6. Adele

    BUSH, Cheney, Rumsfield should all be impeached. They destroy the American economy by going into Iraq.

    April 17, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  7. IMG

    The Darth Vader of American Politics. Boss Tweed reincarnated? Who knows? But he is so evil, I hope they stick it to him instead some poor schmuck like Scooter Libby.

    April 17, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  8. Grady

    Love the part about "executive privilege" and "the White House would have to decide whether Rove will be able to testify".

    Is this really the system we have?!

    Why would the Bush Administration allow one of their insiders tell of the crimes they have committed?

    Since it's unlikely they will talk, it just simply needs to be illegal for them to refuse. Lock them up for not talking.

    And I think Rove looks like the little weasel in the Princess Bride...."that's inconceivable!"

    April 17, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  9. Citizen-Denver

    Mr. Rove is hidding behind Fox news desks, but we will get him. He must come out and explain to the American people why dividing our country? I wish I could be at the hearing. Mr. Rove is imoral period. He wants us to fight and fight and tear ourselves down. This guy must see the darkness of hell and prison. I will not wish you good luck Monkey. He is the uglyest politicain, I ever seen in my life.

    April 17, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  10. john

    See what happens when you get picked on in school?
    You turn into an evil Bush supporter!!

    Karl Rove should only burn in hell!
    along with Bush,
    along with Rumsfeld,
    along with Rice,
    along with Cheney!

    Death to them all!!

    April 17, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  11. Sharon, Seattle

    Oh that's rich. His "voluntary" appearance. Even if this turd showed up, he'd lie under oath.

    April 17, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  12. jack debrot, new york, new york

    here we go again! the despicable democrat congress will again try to "get" a prominent republican! then you hear the phonies accuse republicans of gutter politics when it is they (the democrats) who practice it .

    April 17, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  13. Brian

    The White House WILL claim executive privilege and Rove wont testify. If you work for the White House you can murder rape and pillage anything you want and the USA will do NOTHING!

    April 17, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  14. Halo Karl?

    Just remember Karl....don't bend over to pick up the soap. Have fun in prison!

    April 17, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  15. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Time to get rid of the Anti-Christ Karl Rove!

    April 17, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  16. deroy

    karl rove was never very smart.

    why would the republicans carry this goofball?

    April 17, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  17. Venus

    This might be a good time to put Porky-Pig on the grill!

    April 17, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  18. ShirleyY - Seattle

    Rove you can go on Sean Hannity and tell the whole world how corrupt you and Sean you can stop bashing Obama and bash Rove, your partner in crime.

    Rove and Sean love getting on air bashing Obama and both of them are corrupt.

    Hillary whole campaign is corrupt, even chelsea.

    April 17, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  19. GP

    The White House will have to decide if Rove will testify?

    Is this America or some banana republic?

    That the White House gets to decide who congress can query is absurd. I can't wait to see how Bush will control congress after he leaves the executive branch. I'm sure he has a trick or two up his sleeve. The man will not answer to anyone.

    April 17, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  20. Fitzpatrick

    At least he will never show up at my school again. What a stupid figure. He should be procecuted as well for his involvement in this government.

    April 17, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  21. Charlotte

    It doesn't matter, Bush will pardon them all in his last few days in office. Ford pardoned Nixon before he even went on trial, much less convicted. I guess it was a just in case, deal.

    April 17, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  22. bill in Oklahoma

    Rove testifying will happen when pigs fly. Bush will not let him.

    April 17, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  23. Lauren

    If this guy weren't so competent at manipulating the truth to justify a whole lot of screwy tactics, it might be funny. Unfortunately he's good at being a weasel. Face it – he got W elected, TWICE! That's just downright scary.

    April 17, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  24. Frank Lee

    Watching him get frog-marched would be a dream come true.

    Of course Bush could use a farmhand down at the Praire Chapel Ranch after he retires, but be sure to wear a hat so the pigs don't think you're one of them, Karl,.

    April 17, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  25. Bayou Joe

    Karl Rove is not on trial, he is a witness. Wtinesses don't go on trial.
    Neither do ex-presidents that get paid millions for making speeches in return for what they did when they were in office. Or for that matter
    Senators that put money in their spouses law firm so that they can buy a house on sale.

    I am sure that Rove will still be able to help the Republicans defeat
    Obama in November. However, the Reps don't need him because
    the ammo is already there to take him down. Thank you Hillary for exposing this fraud. Our nation will hold you in high regard for doing your civic duty.

    Hillary Democrats now is the time to support John McCain and help us defeat the enemies of our country, both at home and abroad.

    April 17, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
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