Sunday, June 8, 2008

Karl Rove, Don Siegelman, and the Political Science of the Big Lie

Who's the master propagandist of our time? Karl Rove, I'm lookin' at you, baby!

From Scott Horton's blog No Comment in Harper's
[R]ecently, in an appearance on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Rove was asked whether he had contacted the Justice Department about the Siegelman case. He responded, “I found out about Don Siegelman’s investigation and indictment by reading about it in the newspaper.” It was a typically Rovian contrived non-response, designed to convey the impression that he was answering in the negative without actually doing so. But this time, Stephanopoulos called him on it, challenging him to answer the question directly. Revealingly, Rove bumbled for several minutes, but steadfastly refused to give a straight answer. Watch the clip here [more of the article here].

What of Rove's offer to Congress? Democracy Now! June 4, 2008

AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to a scandal that’s rocked the Bush administration. Former White House deputy, Karl Rove, is vowing to fight a congressional subpoena to testify on the politicization of the Justice Department. Last month, the House Judiciary Committee gave Rove a July 10th deadline to answer questions on the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman and the firing of nine US attorneys. House Judiciary Chair John Conyers has rejected an offer from Rove’s attorneys that would have had Rove appear on condition his testimony not be under oath and not be transcribed. Rove now says he’ll let the courts decide.

Later in the same broadcast, former US Attorney David Iglesias discusses Rove's offer.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think the prosecution, the jailing of Alabama Governor Don Siegelman is related to what happened to you, David Iglesias?

DAVID IGLESIAS: I think there is a very strong circumstantial case there. I’ve not followed that issue as carefully as our own firings. But based on what I’ve read—and also, it’s really important to point out, federal courts of appeal almost never release somebody who has already been convicted and is serving time. I called my office after the Siegelman story broke. I asked one of my lawyers that does nothing but appeals. I said, “Has this happened in this district, that the circuit has released somebody we’ve convicted?” He goes, “It’s never happened.” So the listener really needs to understand how rare it was for the Fifth Circuit there to release Governor Siegelman. I think it has lots of indicia of political interference, which would explain why Rove doesn’t want to talk about it, because he has criminal liability, and he knows that.

AMY GOODMAN: And Karl Rove vowing to fight a congressional subpoena to testify on the politicization of the Justice Department, now demanding that he not have to testify under oath or that there be any transcript of his testimony?

DAVID IGLESIAS: Which is a completely unacceptable offer. I mean, any prosecutor worth his or her salt is going to say that that testimony is worthless. If it’s not under oath, not subject to the penalties of perjury, if it’s not transcribed and if it’s not public, it’s a worthless statement. I mean, I know Congress will never accept that. I believe Rove will not show up. This will—he’ll be added to the current litigation between the House of Representatives and Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten, who similarly thumb their nose at the rule of law, didn’t even show up to claim privilege.

I mean, anybody out there who’s been in the courts realizes when you get a subpoena, you can’t just ignore it. You have to show up. You have to state why you’re privileged, what information you can’t talk about for whatever reason, documents—you have to create a privilege log and specify what they are and what privilege you’re claiming. One thing you can’t do is ignore a subpoena, which is exactly what they’re doing.

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