Bush Aide Karl Rove Claiming Retroactive Executive Privilege?
It is being reported that Karl Rove, former White House aide during the Bush administration, was instructed to ignore a subpeona to appear before Congress and refuse to cooperate in the House Judiciary Committee's investigation, seeking to have Mr. Rove " .... deposed under oath next Monday to answer questions about his alleged role in the firing of U.S. attorneys and the prosecution of the former Democratic governor of Alabama, Don Siegelman."
Mr. Rove was instructed to ignore the subpeona on January 16, 2009 by former White House Counsel Fred Fielding in a letter, four days before the inauguration of President Obama.
A similar letter was sent to an attorney for former White House counsel Harriet Miers, advising her to ignore her subpeona to appear before the House Judiciary Committee.
The letters set the stage for what is likely to be a highly contentious legal and political battle over an unresolved issue: whether a former president can assert "executive privilege"—and therefore prevent his aides from testifying before Congress—even after his term has expired.
"To my knowledge, these [letters] are unprecedented," said Peter Shane, an Ohio State University law professor who specializes in executive-privilege issues. "I'm aware of no sitting president that has tried to give an insurance policy to a former employee in regard to post-administration testimony." Shane likened the letter to Rove as an attempt to give his former aide a 'get-out-of-contempt-free card'."
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