I know this is going to upset some who think Bush was involved and should answer, but I think it's an astute move to remove the trapdoor under Rove, Bolten et al.
A powerful Senate chairman acknowledged explicitly on Thursday that President Bush was not involved in the firings of U.S. attorneys last winter and therefore ruled illegal the president's executive privilege claims protecting his chief of staff and former adviser Karl Rove.Either the White House admits Bush was involved, or it stops blocking the subpoenas, or the White house lawyers have to engage in a very obvious song-and-dance to try to extend the concept of executive privilege to involve matters the president isn't involved in. Nice move, Senator.
The ruling by Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy is a formality that clears the way for his panel to vote on contempt citations if Josh Bolten, Rove and others do not immediately comply with congressional subpoenas for documents and information about the White House's role in the firings.
The executive privilege claim ``is surprising in light of the significant and uncontroverted evidence that the president had no involvement in these firings,'' Leahy, D-Vt., wrote in his ruling. ``The president's lack of involvement in these firings - by his own account and that of many others - calls into question any claim of executive privilege.''
Leahy directed chief of staff Bolten, Rove, former political director Sara Taylor and her deputy, J. Scott Jennings, to comply ``immediately,'' but did not set a deadline.
``I hereby rule that those claims are not legally valid to excuse current and former White House employees from appearing, testifying and producing documents related to this investigation,'' Leahy wrote.