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.”