ARE ROVE AND MIERS FINALLY SET TO TESTIFY?…. After a series of delays and negotiating sessions, Karl Rove and Harriet Miers will testify as part of an investigation into the U.S. Attorney purge scandal. Rove and Miers were initially subpoenaed in mid-2007.
Everyone seems to be pleased with the deal. House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (R-Mich.) called the agreement “a vindication of the search for truth.” The Obama White House, which has been under pressure to weigh in, is “pleased that the parties have agreed to resolve this matter amicably.” Rove’s lawyer, Robert Luskin, said his client is satisfied with the deal. Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy issued statements applauding the announcement.
So, what kind of arrangement did they reach? Rove and Miers will be “interviewed.” They will not literally be under oath, but their responses will be made under penalty of perjury. As Zachary Roth noted, “[S]ince the criminal penalties for lying to Congressional investigators are the same whether or not the interview is conducted under oath, that’s not seen as a major hurdle in getting to the truth.”
There will be a transcription of the interview, which will be “created and promptly divided to all involved parties.”
The press release announcing the deal said “invocations of official privileges would be significantly limited.” How limited? Here’s the language from the agreement:
The scope of the interviews will be limited to: (1) facts relating to the evaluation of, decision to dismiss, or decision to replace the former U.S. Attorneys in question; the alleged decisions to retain certain U.S. Attorneys; and any allegations of selective prosecution related thereto; and (2) testimony or representations made by Department of Justice officials to Congress on the U.S. Attorneys matter. For the period beginning on March 9, 2007 (the date of the Committee’s first written demand for information from the White House), interviews will not include the content of conversations involving: (i) Mr. Rove and members of the White House Counsel’s office; or (ii) Ms. Miers and members of the White House Counsel’s office. In the case of Mr. Rove, the interview also will include facts relating to the prosecution of Alabama governor Don Siegelman. […]
As to official privileges, counsel will direct witnesses not to respond to questions only when questions relate to communications to or from the President or when questions are outside the scope of questioning set forth above.
Rove told Fox News that “some Democrats would love to have me barbecued.” That’s obviously a little overdramatic, but the “interview” should be interesting.