Karl Rove resigns

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 Karl Rove is 2 4-letter words

Hat Tip :By John D. McKinnnon, Wall Street Journal

Karl Rove, President Bush’s longtime political adviser, is resigning as White House deputy chief of staff effective Aug. 31, and returning to Texas, marking a turning point for the Bush presidency.

Mr. Rove’s departure removes one of the White House’s most polarizing figures, and perhaps signals the effective end of the lame duck administration’s role in shaping major domestic policy decisions. Mr. Rove revealed his plans in an interview with Paul Gigot, editor of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page. (See related commentary.)

Mr. Rove also said he expects the president’s approval rating to rise again, and that conditions in Iraq will improve as the U.S. military surge continues. He said he expects Democrats to be divided this fall in the battle over warrantless wiretapping, while the budget battle — and a series of presidential vetoes — should help Republicans gain an edge on spending restraint and taxes.

Mr. Rove established himself as the political genius behind the rise of George W. Bush and the brief period of united Republican rule. But he did it largely through highly divisive policies and campaign tactics, such as the attacks on Democratic rival John Kerry the 2004 campaign. That strategy appears to have backfired, as seen in the Republican loss of Congress in 2006, and Mr. Bush’s low poll numbers.

Mr. Rove has advised Mr. Bush for more than a decade, working with him closely since Mr. Bush first announced he was running for governor of Texas in 1993 and serving as chief strategist in his presidential campaign in 2000. Before joining the White House, he was president of Karl Rove & Co., the Austin, Texas-based public affairs firm he founded. Mr. Rove first became involved in Republican politics in the 1970s.

Mr. Bush was expected to make a statement Monday with his aide at the White House, before they fly to Texas to Mr. Bush’s Crawford ranch retreat.

“Obviously it’s a big loss to us,” White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino said. “He’s a great colleague, a good friend, and a brilliant mind. He will be greatly missed, but we know he wouldn’t be going if he wasn’t sure this was the right time to be giving more to his family, his wife Darby and their son. He will continue to be one of the president’s greatest friends

Mr. Rove, who has held a senior post in the White House since President Bush took office in January 2001, told Mr. Gigot he first floated the idea of leaving a year ago. But he delayed his departure as, first, Democrats took Congress, and then as the White House tackled debates on immigration and Iraq, he said. He said he decided to leave after White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten told senior aides that if they stayed past Labor Day they would be obliged to remain through the end of the president’s term in January 2009.

“I just think it’s time,” Mr. Rove said in the interview. “There’s always something that can keep you here, and as much as I’d like to be here, I’ve got to do this for the sake of my family.” Mr. Rove and his wife have a home in Ingram, Texas, and a son who attends college in nearby San Antonio.

In the interview, Mr. Rove said he expects Democrats to give the 2008 presidential nomination to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, whom he described as “a tough, tenacious, fatally flawed candidate.” He also said Republicans have “a very good chance” to hold onto the White House in next year’s elections.

Senate subpeona’s Karl Rove

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Hat tip: by Klaus Marre, the Hill 

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday issued a subpoena for top White House adviser Karl Rove to compel him to testify about the firing of several U.S. attorneys.

“The evidence shows that senior White House political operatives were focused on the political impact of federal prosecutions and whether federal prosecutors were doing enough to bring partisan voter fraud and corruption cases,” Leahy said. “It is obvious that the reasons given for the firings of these prosecutors were contrived as part of a cover-up and that the stonewalling by the White House is part and parcel of that same effort.”

Leahy issued the subpoenas, one to Rove and one to White House aide Scott Jennings, after consulting with Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), the committee’s ranking member.

“The Bush-Cheney White House continues to place great strains on our constitutional system of checks and balances,” Leahy added. “Not since the darkest days of the Nixon administration have we seen efforts to corrupt federal law enforcement for partisan political gain and such efforts to avoid accountability.”

The move is a further escalation of the constitutional battle between Congress and the White House over whether Bush administration officials must provide testimony and documents to legislative branch investigators.

Leahy said he is not taking this step lightly and only decided to proceed after “[exhausting] every avenue seeking the voluntary cooperation of Karl Rove and J. Scott Jennings.”

The Judiciary Committee chairman concluded that the investigation has “reached a point where the accumulated evidence shows that political considerations factored into the unprecedented firing of at least nine United States attorneys last year.”

In a letter to Rove, Leahy gives the White House official a week to appear before the panel and testify under oath.

“I hope that the White House takes this opportunity to reconsider its blanket claim of executive privilege, especially in light of the testimony that the President was not involved in the dismissals of these U.S. Attorneys,” Leahy said in his letter. “I am left to ask what the White House is so intent on hiding that it cannot even identify the documents, the dates, the authors and recipients that they claim are privileged.”

SHAFT

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sung to the same tune as the Shaft Theme by Issac Hayes

Who’s the stupid dick that’s thinks he’s slick?
Al! yo’ ass is ‘bout to get the SHAFT! (Ya damn right!)

Who is the man that would risk his neck tellin’ falsehoods to shield the ignorant patrician in the White House? Al! yo’ ass is ‘bout to get the SHAFT! (Can you dig it?)

Who’s the cat that cops out in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee when there’s danger all about? Al! yo’ ass is ‘bout to get the SHAFT! (Right On!)

The Senators say this cat Al is a stupid mother . . .
“Shut your mouth!” Yo’ ass is ’bout to get the SHAFT! (Then we can dig it!)

He’s a complicated man, but no one understands him but his main man (Dubya)
Resign befo’ ya get the SHAFT!
Alberto Gonzales

And I am Telling You….

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Alberto Gonzales on the Hot Seat

 Sung to the tune of And I am Telling You (Dreamgirls)

And I am telling you
I’m not going. 
Dubya’s the best gringo I’ll ever know.
There’s no way I can ever go,
No, no, no, no way,
No, no, no, no way I’m livin’ without him.
I’m not leavin’ the Administration.
I don’t want to be free.
I’m stayin’,
I’m stayin’,
And he, and he, my President loves me.
Ooh, my President loves me.

And I am telling you
I’m not going,
Even though the rough times are showing.
There’s just no way,
There’s no way.
We’re part of the same place (Texas).
We’re part of the same time.
We both share the same blood (I know its a stretch, work with me).
We both have the same (mediocre) mind.
And time and time we have so much to share (hopefully not in somebody’s penitentiary),

No, no, no,
No, no, no,
I’m not wakin’ up tomorrow mornin’
And findin’ that my limo driver is not there.
Darling, there’s no way,
No, no, no, no way I’m livin’ without him.
I’m not leavin’ the Administration.
You see, there’s just no way,
There’s no way.

Throw down some damn subpeonas,
Yell, scream and shout.
You can say what you want,
Executive Privilege will bail my ass out.
Stop all legislation,
Push, strike, and kill.
I’m not tellin’ y’all nothin’ bout no U.S. Attorneys,
There’s no way I will.

And I am telling you
I’m not going. 
Dubya’s the best gringo I’ll ever know.
There’s no way I can ever, ever go,
No, no, no, no way,
No, no, no, no way I’m livin’ without him.
Oh, I’m not leavin’ the Administration,
I’m not livin’ without him.
I don’t wanna be free.
I’m stayin’,
I’m stayin’,
And he, and he, 
My President loves me.
Oh, my President loves me,
Yes, ah, ooh, ooh, love me,
Ooh, ooh, ooh, he loves me,
Loves me,
Loves me,
Loves me,
Loves me. 
My President loves me.

Al Gonzales faces the music

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 Att. Gen. Alberto Gonzales

HAT TIP: POLITICO.COM  By: John Bresnahan
April 19, 2007 02:49 PM EST

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales faced sharp questioning Thursday from Democrats and Republicans alike on the Senate Judiciary Committee as he tried to counter a tidal wave of criticism of him over the firing of eight U.S. attorneys.

“Today, the Department of Justice is experiencing a crisis of leadership, perhaps unrivaled during its 137-year history,” said the committee chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). “The truth is that these firings have yet to be explained, and there is mounting evidence of improper considerations and actions resulting in the dismissals.”

Also, Leahy made clear in his opening statement, “I cannot excuse the attorney general’s actions and his failures from the outset to be forthright with us, with these prosecutors and with American people.”

Some of the toughest questioning of Gonzales, though, came from Republican Sens. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Jeff Sessions of Alabama. And Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he believed that Gonzales and other senior Justice Department officials had decided to fire the prosecutors first, then made up justifications for the firings after a crisis engulfed the department.

“Some of them sound good, some don’t,” Graham said of the justifications.

Gonzales, who publicly apologized to the fired prosecutors, said repeatedly that he could not remember any details of a critical Nov. 27 meeting at the Justice Department, where the plan to oust several federal prosecutors was discussed, or an Oct. 11 meeting to discuss voter fraud allegations with President Bush and his top political adviser, Karl Rove.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has already called for Gonzales’ resignation, engaged in a testy exchange with him over whether he lied to Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) regarding the replacement of the U.S. attorney in Arkansas and whether the Bush administration would seek Senate confirmation of a new prosecutor there.

Gonzales admitted that he had heard complaints from both Rove and Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.) about David Iglesias, the former U.S. attorney for New Mexico. Domenici is the subject of a preliminary inquiry about his contacts with Iglesias and whether he pressured Iglesias to indict local Democrats prior to the midterm elections in November.

Though he admitted to mistakes in the Justice Department’s handling of the firings and his public response to questions about them, Gonzales stuck by the decision to sack the prosecutors.

“First, those eight attorneys deserved better – they deserved better from me and from the Department of Justice, which they served selflessly for many years,” Gonzales said. “I regret how they were treated, and I apologize to them and to their families for allowing this matter to become an unfortunate and undignified public spectacle. I accept full responsibility for this.”

Gonzales added that, after conducting his own review and speaking with Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty about whether he should “reconsider the firings,” he was not going to backtrack.

“What I have concluded is that, although the process was nowhere near as rigorous or structured as it should have been, and while reasonable people might decide things differently, my decision to ask for the resignations of these U.S. attorneys is justified and should stand,” Gonzales said.

The attorney general also denied any suggestion that he had lied to lawmakers about his role in the firings. “I never sought to mislead or deceive the Congress or the American people,” he said. “To the contrary: I have been extremely forthcoming with information. … These are not the actions of someone with something to hide.”

Gonzales stated repeatedly in his opening statement and under questioning that “nothing improper occurred” in dismissing the prosecutors. There has been speculation by Democrats about whether Gonzales fired U.S. attorneys who were investigating Republican lawmakers for corruption.

Gonzales said his former chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson, was responsible for reviewing U.S. attorneys. He called it “Mr. Sampson’s project” under questioning by Specter and said that he had only a “limited role” in it.

“Putting it in context, I would say that my involvement was limited. I consider that an accurate statement,” Gonzales said. 

In response to inquiries from Sessions, Gonzales said five times that he could not recall attending a Nov. 27 meeting with senior Justice Department officials, which included McNulty, Sampson and Monica Goodling, a former senior adviser who has since resigned.

“I have no memory of this,” Gonzales said. “I cannot recall the contents of that meeting.”

By the end of the morning session, it was unclear if Gonzales had made any headway in his effort to stave off the calls for his resignation.

Senate Judiciary panel authorizes subpeona’s in Justice Dept probe

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By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, Associated Press Writer

A Senate panel, following the House’s lead, authorized subpoenas Thursday for White House political adviser Karl Rove and other top aides involved in the firing of federal prosecutors.

The Senate Judiciary Committee decided by voice vote to approve the subpoenas as Republicans and Democrats sparred over whether to press a showdown with President Bush over the ousters of eight U.S. attorneys.

Democrats angrily rejected Bush’s offer to grant a limited number of lawmakers private interviews with the aides with no transcript and without swearing them in. Republicans counseled restraint, but at least one, Sen. Charles Grassley (news, bio, voting record) of Iowa, backed the action.

A House Judiciary subcommittee authorized subpoenas in the matter Wednesday, but none has been issued.

Democrats said the move would give them more bargaining power in negotiating with the White House to hear from Bush’s closest advisers.

“We’re authorizing that ability but we’re not issuing them,” Sen. Charles Schumer (news, bio, voting record), D-N.Y., said of the subpoenas. “It’ll only strengthen our hand in getting to the bottom of this.”

Republicans countered, however, that subpoenas were premature.

“I counsel my colleagues, both Democrats and Republicans, to work hard to avoid an impasse. We don’t need a constitutional confrontation,” said Sen. Arlen Specter (news, bio, voting record) of Pennsylvania, the panel’s top Republican.

Even as Democrats derided the White House’s offer, Bush spokesman Tony Snow maintained that lawmakers will realize it is fair and reasonable once they reflect on it.

“We’re not trying to hide things. We’re not trying to run from things,” he said. “We want them to know what happened.”

Democrats, however, called Bush’s position untenable.

“What we’re told we can get is nothing, nothing, nothing,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (news, bio, voting record), D-Vt., the Judiciary chairman. “I know he’s the decider for the White House — he’s not the decider for the United States Senate.”

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, fighting for his job amid the prosecutor furor, vowed he would not step aside and promised to cooperate with Congress in the inquiry.

“I’m not going to resign,” Gonzales told reporters after an event in St. Louis.

“No United States Attorney was fired for improper reasons,” he added.

The Senate panel voted to approve subpoenas for Rove, former White House counsel Harriet Miers and her former deputy, William Kelley. The House subcommittee Tuesday authorized subpoenas for Rove, Miers and their deputies.

Snow, in an interview on CBS’s “The Early Show,” accused supporters of subpoenas of wanting “a Perry Mason scene where people are hot-dogging and grandstanding and trying to score political points.”

“I know a lot of people want this ‘Showdown at the OK Corral’ kind of thing. People might have a beef if we were withholding anything. We’re not,” he said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Even as both sides dug in publicly, prominent lawmakers worked behind the scenes to avert a court battle between the executive and legislative branches. Specter said he wanted to find a way for Bush’s aides to testify publicly with a transcript — which he called “indispensable” — but would not insist on putting them under oath.

He said later he had not spoken with anyone at the White House about such a compromise.

“The dust has to settle first,” Specter said.

Bush is standing by Gonzales, as Republicans and Democrats question the attorney general’s leadership. The president insists that the firings of the prosecutors over the past year were appropriate, while Democrats argue they were politically motivated.

The prosecutors are appointed to four-year terms by the president and serve at his pleasure. meaning they can dismissed at any time.

Democrats have rejected Bush’s offer — relayed to Capitol Hill on Tuesday by White House counsel Fred Fielding — in large part because there would be no transcript and the testimony would not be public.

Sen. Harry Reid (news, bio, voting record), D-Nev., the majority leader, said it would be “outrageous,” to allow Rove to testify off the record.

“Anyone who would take that deal isn’t playing with a full deck,” Reid said.

House issues subpoenas for Rove and Miers

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HAT TIP: MSNBC

WASHINGTON – A House panel on Wednesday approved subpoenas for President Bush’s political adviser, Karl Rove and other top White House aides, setting up a constitutional showdown over the firings of eight federal prosecutors.

By voice vote, the House Judiciary subcommittee on commercial and administrative law decided to compel the president’s top aides to testify publicly and under oath about their roles in the firings.

The White House has refused to budge in the controversy, standing by embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and insisting that the firings were appropriate. White House spokesman Tony Snow said that in offering aides to talk to the committees privately, Bush had sought to avoid the “media spectacle” that would result from public hearings with Rove and others at the witness table.

“The question they’ve got to ask themselves is, are you more interested in a political spectacle than getting the truth?” Snow said of the overture Tuesday that was relayed to Capitol Hill by White House counsel Fred Fielding.

Publicly, the White House held out hope there would be no impasse.

“If they issue subpoenas, yes, the offer is withdrawn,” said White House spokesman Tony Snow. “They will have rejected the offer.”

He added that the offer for interviews on the president’s terms — not under oath, on the record or in public — is final.

‘There must be accountability’
Democrats dismissed the overture, in large part because there would be no transcript.

“There must be accountability,” countered subcommittee Chairwoman Linda Sanchez, D-Calif.

The Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled a vote Thursday on its own set of subpoenas, with Democrats complaining that the threat of force is the only way to get a straight answer from the White House.

“The White House is in a bunker mentality — won’t listen, won’t change,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. “I believe there is even more to come out, and I think it’s our duty to bring it out.”

The House subcommittee Wednesday approved, but has not issued, subpoenas for Rove, former White House Counsel Harriet Miers, their deputies and Kyle Sampson, Gonzales’ chief of staff, who resigned over the uproar last week.