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Buried on p. A 16 of the Saturday Post is this article:

The House Judiciary Committee has rescheduled a deposition for ... Karl Rove, ordering him to appear on Feb. 23 instead of Monday.  It is unclear whether Rove will appear.  A federal appeals court is considering whehter former White House aides can be compelled to testify about matters on which they advised the president.

I realize some are spinning this as "buying Obama time" because the White House is scheduled to file a brief on Feb. 18 regarding the subpoena's for Meiers and Bolton.  That's nonsense.

As Jonathan Turley pointed out, the issue in front of Conyers' committee is the politically motivated firing of DoJ lawyers... something (else) Bush allegedly was not informed about.  

Last time I checked, Congress is (allegedly) an independent branch of government.   They were not afraid to make that known when it came to supporting Obama's policies.  As if they were afraid to admit they won, we had to listen to knuckleheads like Reid and Hoyer proclaim "I don't work for Obama."   So how is it that a fundamental constitutional power like the power to compel testimony or face a citation for contempt of congress is going to be put on the shelf because the executive MAY have a different idea about what information the public deserves to have?  

Something smells rotten here.

Rove's testimony on this matter has no bearing on what the Obama administration argues in its filing.  There is no claim of executive privilege here.  Bush didn't know about the political firings -- so they say.  Getting Rove to testify that he DID know about them would open up a whole can of worms (can you say perjury Alberto?  sure you can.)

Furthermore, you can be sure the Obama filing will lead to a new round of court battles -- unless the Obama administration argues in favor of accepting Cherry Picker George's Unitary Executive theory.  

God forbid that happens.  But if they do accept that, then Congress needs to force this in front of the Supreme Court by exercising their claim as a co-equal branch of government.   Otherwise we are looking at a newly minted legal right based on nothing.  We know where that leads.  Just look at what happened after Harry Truman created the claim of Executive Privilege from thin air.  Imperial Presidencies have wrought havoc ever since and brought this country closer to fascism than anything else.

Update: In response to some of the comments, it is important to note the precedent already set during the Clinton administration regarding claims of Executive Privilege by advisors.  Clinton advisors, Blumenthal and Lindsey, were forced to testify about the Lewinsky affair because

the importance of their evidence to the investigation meant they would have to do so.

By that argument, a whole bunch of former White House enablers and criminal conspirators should be getting frog-marched in front of cameras.

UPDATE II: As emptywheel notes in the comments, Rove's claim is even more audacious than some shadow of Executive Privilege.  He is claiming ABSOLUTE IMMUNITY.  Something even more outrageous.  All I can say to that is "Plus ca change, plus ce le meme chose."  The guys who made "the big lie" into an artform aren't about to give up on a proven winning formula... at least until they lose.

Originally posted to 8ackgr0und N015e on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 11:41 AM PST.

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