In an agreement reached today between the former Bush Administration and Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Karl Rove and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers will testify before the House Judiciary Committee in transcribed depositions under penalty of perjury. The Committee has also reserved the right to have public testimony from Rove and Miers. It was agreed that invocations of official privileges would be significantly limited.I'm sure this will result in tons and tons of answers and not more claims of privilege while under questioning, declarations of 'not remembering', or telling the questioners 'I don't know, you'll have to ask Dick Cheney' followed by a laugh. But hey, at least it's something.
The Committee will also receive Bush White House documents relevant to this inquiry. Under the agreement, the landmark ruling by Judge John Bates rejecting key Bush White House claims of executive immunity and privilege will be preserved. If the agreement is breached, the Committee can resume the litigation.
Chairman Conyers issued the following statement:
"I have long said that I would see this matter through to the end and am encouraged that we have finally broken through the Bush Administration's claims of absolute immunity. This is a victory for the separation of powers and congressional oversight. It is also a vindication of the search for truth. I am determined to have it known whether U.S. Attorneys in the Department of Justice were fired for political reasons, and if so, by whom."
Though can we not hear all the triumphalism about this being a tremendous victory for oversight and Congressional powers? It isn't a victory, it's a pathetic, staggering first baby step. If you wanted to show them how things really worked you would have slapped Karl and Harriet in leg irons they second they illegally violated a subpoena, not spent two years 'negotiating' with them to perform their legally mandated duty. Furthermore Rove got to evade public hearings, which is a win for him. But I guess getting two people to provisionally agree to follow the law on the 17th most damaging thing the Bush Administration did is probably the most successful version of 'oversight' or 'power' Democrats had.