Rove Shows His Hand — and His Guilt — in Siegelman Case

Rove sputters on This Week

It was obvious after watching Karl Rove on This Week with George Stephanopoulos why he refuses to testify in public before the House Judiciary Committee. It has questions for him about his role in the likely false imprisonment of former Gov. Don Siegelman (D-Ala.). Most people believe those who were involved and have come forward to say that Rove was behind the attempts to frame the governor so he could be replaced by a Republican.

Rove has said he will answer questions only in writing or behind closed doors, with no members of the press or electorate allowed.

When asked to explain himself in the light of day, as he was on This Week, Rove stumbled badly. His attempts to parse and twist words, so effective from behind the scenes in the Bush White House, don’t play as well when the heat’s on him.

Commenter: “By answering the imaginary question, Rove in no way answers the real one”

Stephanopoulos: You were subpoenaed this week by the House Judiciary Committee to give testimony on any involvement you may have had with the prosecution of the former Alabama Gov Don Seigleman. He’s claiming there was selective prosecution. He’s out on bail now, even though he was convicted. He says your fingerprints were all over it.

Here’s what the House report said. It said, ‘In May, 2007, a Republican attorney from Northern Alabama named Jill Simpson wrote an affidavit stating that in November, 2002 she heard a prominent Alabama Republican operative named Bill Canary say that Karl Rove had contacted the Justice Department about bringing a prosecution of Don S. The question for Mr. Rove is whether he directly or indirectly discussed the possibility of prosecuting Don Siegelman with either the Justice Department or Alabama Republicans.’ Did you?

Rove: Let me say three things. First of all, I think it’s interesting, everybody who was supposedly on that telephone call that Ms. Simpson talks about says that the call never took place.

Stephanopoulos: Although she’s produced a cell phone record, according to the committee.

Rove: Well, I would say three things. First of all, uh, I learned about the Don Siegelman prosecution by reading about it in the newspaper.

Second of all, this is really about a constitutional question of separation of powers. Congress, the House Judiciary Committee, wants to be able to call presidential aides, on its whim, up to testify, violating the separation of powers. Executive privilege has been asserted by the White House in a similar instance in the Senate. It will be probably asserted very quickly in this, in the House.

Third, the White House, has agreed — I’m not asserting any personal privilege. The White House has offered, and my lawyer’s offered, several different ways in which, if the House wants to find out information about this, they can find out information about this. And they’ve refused to avail themselves of those opportunities. We didn’t say, ‘Close off any option to do what else you want to do about this in the future.’ We said, ‘If you want to hear about this, let’s sit down and talk about this, and then if you, you know, you’re entitled to do what you want to do in the future.’ This is now tied up in court, it’s going to be tied up in court, and probably settled in court. And frankly, the House last week, you know, doing this is duplicating what the Senate’s already done. It’s already found its way into the courts.

Stephanopoulos: But to be clear, you did not contact the Justice Department about this case?

: Uh, I read about — I’m simply going to say what I’ve said before, which is I found out about Don Seigleman’s investigation and indictment by reading about it in the newspaper.

Stephanopoulos: But that’s not a denial.

Rove: Uh, I’ve uh, you know, uh, um, I read about it in the newspaper. You know, I read about, heard about it, learned about it for the first time by reading about it in the newspaper.

Stephanopoulos: Mr. Rove, thank you very much.

Guilty, guilty, guilty.

Several commenters on the ABC story nailed the problem with Rove’s “newspaper defense.”

  • The question was “Did you ever contact the Justice Department about the Seigleman prosecution?” But Karl Rove chose to answer the imaginary question “When did you learn about the Seigleman indictment?” Of course, he probably instructed his crony prosecutor at Justice—his “Ken Griffin”—to pursue a framed case about the governor and then confirmed that his order was executed from the resulting newspaper story. So by answering the imaginary question, Rove in no way answers the real one.
  • Leanred (sic) about what the first time? That he was actually indicted? So what – that has nothing to do with whether Rove was invovled (sic) with getting him indicted.
  • Looks like the pasty-puffy liar Rove will learn that he’s been sent to Federal Prison when he reads it in the paper while sitting in his cell…next to “Multiple Deferments” Cheney.

Rove also used the word “asserted,” as in “the White House asserted that presidential aides don’t have to testify to Congress” as if an assertion is something more than just their opinion. He gives it weight, in the video, to make it sound that people outside the White House agree with this viewpoint. So far, no one has, but we’ll see what the courts decide.


  • chupachup
    May 25, 2008 - 3:20 pm | Permalink

    mr rove was not elected, he is a citizen, and as a citizen, he is duty bound, should be honor bound to answer the subpeona, as myself or any other citizen would be required to do or be jailed. this is yet another instance of laws for us to abide by and them to evade and ridicule.
    at the same time this criminal is paid to be a consultant and analyst.

  • nikolai
    May 25, 2008 - 9:24 pm | Permalink

    So, why haven’t Federal Officers ARRESTED Karl Rove? What is it that is SO difficult for them to comprehend? If they arrest Rove then are ordered to release him by the “powers that be”, ok, then release him and publicize it, and we’ll go from there and run it through the legal system/courts. It can be done one painful step at a time if need be, BUT C’MON FEDS, DO YOU JOB(S) AND START THE BALL ROLLING BY ARRESTING ROVE!
    DO IT!! NOW!!!

  • Jess Wonderin
    May 25, 2008 - 11:05 pm | Permalink

    HMMMM . . if he WAS not involved nor discussed this, testify to the fact and move on . . . if it was not the subject of a “Executive Discussion” then “Executive Privilege” IS a non-issue . . . ‘course I am not a highly paid lawyer but I think I can define what this “is” is . . .

  • May 26, 2008 - 5:37 am | Permalink


  • May 27, 2008 - 9:18 am | Permalink

    And how does the MSM cover Rove’s refusal to deny involvement in the Siegelman prosecution? The L.A. Time’s does so with this headline:

    “Karl Rove denies meddling in Siegelman investigation: Bush’s former advisor says he didn’t even know that the Justice Department had been pursuing the former Alabama governor, a Democrat since convicted for bribery, until he read of it in the paper.”

    More at

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