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May 14, 2007

Washington Post Tightens Noose Arounds Rove's Neck on Prosecutor Firings

Last year at this time, whoever would have imagined that Kriminal Karl Rove stood a better chance of losing his seat of power because of a few fired U.S. attorneys, and not because he outed Valerie Plame?

The Washington Post has an in-depth article on Rove's machinations over phony voter fraud charges and those fired prosecutors:

Nearly half the U.S. attorneys slated for removal by the administration last year were targets of Republican complaints that they were lax on voter fraud, including efforts by presidential adviser Karl Rove to encourage more prosecutions of election- law violations, according to new documents and interviews.

Of the 12 U.S. attorneys known to have been dismissed or considered for removal last year, five were identified by Rove or other administration officials as working in districts that were trouble spots for voter fraud -- Kansas City, Mo.; Milwaukee; New Mexico; Nevada; and Washington state. Four of the five prosecutors in those districts were dismissed.

It has been clear for months that the administration's eagerness to launch voter-fraud prosecutions played a role in some of the firings, but recent testimony, documents and interviews show the issue was more central than previously known. The new details include the names of additional prosecutors who were targeted and other districts that were of concern, as well as previously unknown information about the White House's role.

Justice Department aide Matthew Friedrich recounts how just weeks before last year's midterm elections he received a 26-page packet from Rove with data on MIlwaukee's precinct voting, information that he felt compelled to set aside because of strict rules over starting investigations so close to an election. But he was also concerned because he knew that Milwaukee was but one of the cities where Rove had complained of election fraud and Rove targeted its U.S. attorney, Todd Graves, for dismissal. Las Vegas was another one, and Daniel Bogden, that city's U.S. attorney, was fired last year as well. Freidrich handed over information about this to the congressional investigators.

It's just a bummer for Rove that people in the Justice Department are talking to the judiciary committees, which have turned their laser-beam focus on Rove because he's an old hand at this kind of political skulduggery. Also just before the election, Rove was interviewed by NPR's Robert Seigel at a silly event on the White House lawn, where administration officials roamed around the grounds offering up well-rehearsed talking points to willing reporters. The Seigel-Rove interview got heated when Rove yelled at Seigel, accusing him of bias against Republicans. Rove claimed he had access to more polls and better polls, which in his words "add up to a Republican Senate and a Republican House. You may end up with a different math, but your entitled to your math", Rove said. "I'm entitled to 'the' math."

Rove's math didn't work out too well for him. Now that Dems control the subpoena power, it's just a matter of time before the real constitutional crisis over executive privilege erupts, because it's not very likely the committees are going to backslide on getting Rove's emails. And they still want him to testify under oath and on the record.

Posted by shoephone on May 14, 2007 at 01:42 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink


As long as Rover avoids committing perjury (in which Fitzgerald bent over backwards to accomodate him in the Plame outing case), I don't see that he has any legal exposure. Rove provides a firewall for Bush by shielding The Decider from damning details. Firewall Rove is not on the hook for his advice, because he's not The Decider. Ultimately, this is going nowhere at the White House level, although I think there is plenty of grist at the DoJ level, and also people like Domenichi and Wilson who broke some laws.

Posted by: op99 | May 14, 2007 7:17:30 PM

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