On Rove and Myers Testifying Not Under Oath

March 20, 2007 at 4:44 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Congress | 5 Comments

The White House, continually acting stupidly, won’t agree to Rove and Myers testifying under oath and in public. They offer the following conditions for Rove and Myers testifying:

Questioning of White House officials would be conducted by a Member or limited number of Members, who would be accompanied by committee staff. Such interviews would be private and conducted without the need for an oath, transcript, subsequent testimony, or the subsequent issuance of subpoenas. A representative of the Office of the Counsel to the President would attend these interviews and personal counsel to the invited officials may be present at their election.

Now, if the White House has nothing to hide, if it did nothing wrong, just why would they need to keep Rove’s and Myers’ testimonies private and not under oath? If you have the truth behind you, what do you fear?

Joshua Marshall states the obvious:

Let’s be honest. Presidential advisors testify all the time. They don’t have the same responsibilities vis a vis Congress as members of the executive departments. But they can and do testify. There’s only one reason why you agree to ‘talk’ to Congress unsworn, in private and without a transcript: because you want to be able to lie or dodge questions in a way that’s too embarrassing to do in public.

Kos adds to the obvious:

What the White House is really saying is, “We reserve the right to lie.” Otherwise, if they intend to tell the truth, why would it matter whether they’re under oath or not?

That’s a weird message to be sending out…

The signs are pointing to Democrats not backing down. Rove’s and Myers’ testimonies WILL be under oath, as they should be. Com’on Mr. Rove, what have you got to hide? Ms. Myers? What are you afraid of?

Glenn Greenwald has a great post about the huffing and puffing of those on the right when Clinton evoked executive privilege, which most assuredly Bush will try to do (and lose). Here is Tony Snow, Bush’s Press Secretary in 1998 on executive privilege:

Evidently, Mr. Clinton wants to shield virtually any communications that take place within the White House compound on the theory that all such talk contributes in some way, shape or form to the continuing success and harmony of an administration. Taken to its logical extreme, that position would make it impossible for citizens to hold a chief executive accountable for anything. He would have a constitutional right to cover up.

Chances are that the courts will hurl such a claim out, but it will take time.

One gets the impression that Team Clinton values its survival more than most people want justice and thus will delay without qualm. But as the clock ticks, the public’s faith in Mr. Clinton will ebb away for a simple reason: Most of us want no part of a president who is cynical enough to use the majesty of his office to evade the one thing he is sworn to uphold the rule of law.

Well said, Mr. Snow.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has the following to say:

“After telling a bunch of different stories about why they fired the U.S. Attorneys, the Bush Administration is not entitled to the benefit of the doubt. Congress and the American people deserve a straight answer. If Karl Rove plans to tell the truth, he has nothing to fear from being under oath like any other witness.”

Finally, Obsidian Wings has this extra on Kyle Sampson, who may find life tough in the near future:

Also: you can see Kyle Sampson not just lying, but drafting dishonest letters for his superiors to send to Harry Reid under their own name, in part 3.7 of the documents, pp. 48-9 and 53-5 (pdf). He tells Gonzales that “I am not aware of Karl Rove playing any role in the Attorney General’s decision to appoint Griffin”, and puts almost the same statement in his draft of a letter sent to Harry Reid under the signature of Richard Hertling, the Assistant Acting Attorney General. I honestly can’t imagine why anyone would hire him after this, except for political reasons. And if someone does hire him to curry political favor, I can’t imagine they’ll trust him much.

More good analysis:

What’s Bush’s Game

What Happens Now

5 Comments »

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  1. Dan,

    Great post on this. I’m pleased to see the democratic congressional leadership standing up to the Bush administration. They have been unaccountable now for over 6 years. The time has come that a do nothing, say nothing, and see nothing Congress is history. I say hold his feet to the fire. Do not accept any deals.

    I’m a professional litigator. There is NO WAY in preparing for a trial that I would ever agree to let someone from whom I was trying to obtain factual information get by with an informal interview, not under oath, and without any transcript.

    Even if they lose, which I’m not certain that they would, I urge Congress to push this all the way to the wall. Give no inch, no quarter, nothing. The Bush administration needs this reality check, and heaven knows the American people deserve to see some of the cleansing light of day into the Bush government.

    Hold one . . . this could be an interesting ride.

  2. hey Guy,

    Here is an article that shows exactly why it is so important that Rove and Miers testify under oath to Congress and the public. It appears that politics had a play in eroding the Justice Department’s case against tobacco companies!

    The leader of the Justice Department team that prosecuted a landmark lawsuit against tobacco companies said yesterday that Bush administration political appointees repeatedly ordered her to take steps that weakened the government’s racketeering case.

    Sharon Y. Eubanks said Bush loyalists in Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales’s office began micromanaging the team’s strategy in the final weeks of the 2005 trial, to the detriment of the government’s claim that the industry had conspired to lie to U.S. smokers.

    She said a supervisor demanded that she and her trial team drop recommendations that tobacco executives be removed from their corporate positions as a possible penalty. He and two others instructed her to tell key witnesses to change their testimony. And they ordered Eubanks to read verbatim a closing argument they had rewritten for her, she said.

    “The political people were pushing the buttons and ordering us to say what we said,” Eubanks said. “And because of that, we failed to zealously represent the interests of the American public.”

  3. The leader of the Justice Department team that prosecuted a landmark lawsuit against tobacco companies said yesterday that Bush administration political appointees repeatedly ordered her to take steps that weakened the government’s racketeering case.

    The government hates it when you do stuff that threatens the tax revenue.

    Hates it, hates it, hates it.

    Real bad.

    My favorite thing about seeing other people arguing about taxes with the US Government is how the government likes to declare certain arguments “frivolous”.

    “Your argument, sir, is not even worth discussing. It’s stupid, and it’s stupid because we say it’s stupid.”

    There’s nothing left to discuss once the tax court judge goes down that road. They’re taken every possible weapon of self-defense out of your hands when they do that, and they know it.

    Anyway, the loss of tax revenue due to the possibility of the tobacco companies losing was just not a good thing from the government’s point of view.

    Follow the money.

  4. Looks like they’ve decided that if they have to testify under oath, they’ll just invoke the Fifth Amendment and won’t have to testify at all.

    Gosh: makes you wonder if they’ve got something to hide.

  5. you bet they have Mark. I just wrote this morning about it.


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