Score one for the House Judiciary Committee. Apparently assisted by the White House, the panel got Harriet Miers and Karl Rove to speak under oath in depositions about the US Attorneys fired by the Bush administration in the second term:
Former top aides to President George W. Bush have agreed to testify before Congress under oath about the firing of federal prosecutors, congressional officials said Wednesday.
Karl Rove and Harriet Miers are to testify before the House Judiciary Committee in transcribed depositions. The committee says it also might call the two for public testimony.
The agreement reached Wednesday ends a lawsuit over whether former White House aides could be forced to testify about matters on which they advised the president.
Most standoffs over executive privilege end before a court has an opportunity to rule on its limits. Both elective branches of government prefer the ambiguity rather than provoking a ruling from the judiciary that one or both might find unpalatable. The surprise here is that it took this long to get an agreement on the boundaries of this deposition, especially since the Bush administration lost in district court in July.
Both the Obama administration and the former Bush administration credit Obama’s office for brokering the deal. They have agreed to request a stay in the lawsuit pending the deposition of both Miers and Rove. If for some reason the deal breaks down, the suit would continue, but a show of effort from Rove and Miers could impact the appeal as well.
In the end, US Attorneys are political appointments and serve at the President’s pleasure. This has always been nothing but a fishing expedition, but perhaps this might bring an end to the chumming that the Judiciary Committee has been doing for the last year and more. It will be interesting to see what the terms of the deal were, and why Rove and Miers agreed to them.