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The House Judiciary Committee just voted to hold Karl Rove in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify about his role in the railroading of Alabama Governor Don Siegelman.

Here is part of the story from TPM Muckraker:

The final vote was 20 ayes and 14 nays. With Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) voting "absolutely, 100% aye."

In a memo on the Full Committee meeting, Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) summarized the facts surrounding Rove's refusal to even appear before the committee and assert executive privilege:

Mr. Rove has refused even to appear before the Committee and assert whatever privileges that he believes may apply to his testimony, relying on excessively broad and legally insufficient claims of "absolute immunity" - never recognized by any court - in declining to appear.

I can't tell whether it was inherent contempt.  I assume it wasn't.

Update [2008-7-30 11:19:38 by taylormattd]:

via meowmissy in the comments:

The AP is reporting that the next step is for the full House to vote, and it is unclear whether Pelosi will schedule the vote:

The committee decision is only a recommendation, and it was unclear whether Speaker Nancy Pelosi would allow a final vote.

Update [2008-7-30 12:39:29 by taylormattd]:

Another update from the comments, this time Patriot Daily:

This could be first step for inherent contempt.

Conyers and Sanchez made it clear that if Rove refused to appear in violation of the subpoena, then Rove could face "contempt proceedings, including statutory contempt under federal law and proceedings under the inherent contempt authority of the House of Representatives."

After Rove was a no show, Rep. Sanchez stated that "Sanchez said she expects the issue will now go to the full committee and then the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote to hold Rove in either statutory contempt or inherent contempt.

Apparently, the dems took inherent contempt off the table in a deal with DOJ, but legal scholar Turley believes that deal may now be off the table:

Turley believes that the White House is simply "trying to run the clock out." When asked if Congress would go as far as trying to jail Rove, he answered, "I don't think we're going to get to that," but he felt there is a real possibility of a vote for inherent contempt.

"Congress gave up the authority of inherent contempt under an agreement with the Justice Department that it would be an honest broker, that it would take these cases to the grand jury," Turley explained. "What Attorney Mukasey is doing right now I think is far beyond bounds. He is refusing to let a grand jury see these cases. ... So I think at this point that Congress has a right to say, 'Deal's off.'"

So, it sounds like the full vote will decide whether the contempt is inherent and/or statutory.

Originally posted to taylormattd on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 08:11 AM PDT.

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