Thursday, July 26, 2007

Senate Democrats request perjury probe for Gonzales, subpoena Rove

From the Washington Post:
Four Senate Democrats today formally asked the Justice Department to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales lied to Congress in his testimony about a domestic surveillance program for terrorists.

At the same time, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, issued subpoenas to White House adviser Karl Rove and one of his deputies, demanding their testimony by Aug. 2 in the panel's long-running investigation into the firing of nine U.S. attorneys and the alleged politicization of the Justice Department.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), a senior committee member, accused Gonzales of taking an oath, both when he assumed his current office and before each of his congressional appearances, that he has now broken through deliberately misleading testimony...

Schumer pointed to Gonzales's testimony to the panel Tuesday, when he said that a critical March 10, 2004 meeting with congressional leaders at the White House concerned intelligence activities other than the NSA's controversial warrantless surveillance program.

Several Democrats who were at that meeting have said it was about the surveillance program, and a May 2006 letter from then-Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte to Congress showed the same thing.

Gonzales testified Tuesday that the intelligence program he referred to was supported by congressional leaders in the 2004 briefing, despite resistance from senior Justice Department officials who were refusing to re-authorize the program because of concerns about its legality.

But several Democrats present have said they opposed the program and were unaware at the time that Gonzales, who was then White House counsel, and then-White House chief of staff Andrew Card, would next attempt to persuade then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft to overrule his deputies. The two went to Ashcroft's hospital room, where he was recovering from emergency gallbladder surgery.

"This attorney general simply has not been straight with the Judiciary Committee," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who signed the letter to Clement along with Schumer, Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wisc.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)...

In expanding the U.S. attorney investigation, Leahy today issued subpoenas today to Rove and J. Scott Jennings, the White House's deputy political director. Both Rove and Jennings appear in Justice Department e-mails discussing various steps in the plan to fire the prosecutors.
That assertion by congressional leaders is backed up by documents and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller confirmed today "the government's terrorist surveillance program was the topic of a 2004 hospital room dispute between top Bush administration officials, contradicting Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' sworn Senate testimony." Now things are getting interesting...

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