At long last, former White House counsel Harriet Miers and Bush aide and adviser Karl Rove have agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on their knowledge of and involvement in the U.S. Attorney firing scandal.
From a committee statement:
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.
Miers and Rove fought an epic battle over the extent of executive privilege with the committee. They repeatedly refused to testify about the firing of nine U.S. attorneys citing the legal theory that even former presidential advisers cannot be compelled to testify before Congress about their conversations with the president. Last fall, U.S. District Court Judge John Bates who was hearing the case, rejected the Bush administration’s claims of executive privilege. Rove still failed to appear to appear before the committee last month in response to a reissued subpoena.
“This is a victory for the separation of powers and congressional oversight,” said Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) “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.”
Per the agreement, testimony will be held behind closed doors. The committee says it will release a transcript of the proceedings. Neither Rove nor Miers received an immunity deal in exchange for their testimony.
The agreement comes just six days short of the second anniversary of the committee’s first letter to the White House seeking testimony from Miers. Today is also the court-mandated deadline for the Obama administration to file a brief in the Miers case.
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