The House Judiciary Committee cited Karl Rove for contempt for not appearing at a July 10 committee hearing related to the politicization of the Justice Department, but as has been her habit Speaker Nancy Pelosi could block a final vote.
Rove claimed executive privilege immunity, and didn’t bother to show up for the hearing. Committee chair Rep. John Conyers said in a memo to his committee, “Mr. Rove has refused even to appear before the committee and assert whatever privileges that he believes may apply to his testimony, relying on excessively broad and legally insufficient claims of ‘absolute immunity’ — never recognized by any court — in declining to appear.”
The vote to cite Rove was by party lines, 20-14. Republicans claim that there is no evidence against Rove, and they might not be the Democrats only problem. In order for Rove to be found in contempt, the full House has to vote on the citation, and there is no evidence that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is willing to let this happen.
In a statement about the matter yesterday, Pelosi made no mention of allowing the citation to come to a full vote, “The Judiciary Committee’s ongoing investigation of the politicization of the Justice Department, including the effort to obtain testimony of individuals with knowledge of the improper firing of the U.S. Attorneys, must continue. The American people must find out what happened, and the politicization of law enforcement at the Justice Department must end. ”
Pelosi favors the passage of new legislation, “I will be asking Chairman Conyers to consider legislation to ensure that the politicization of hiring of career employees at the Justice Department never happens again.” This has become a regular pattern with Pelosi. She favors investigation, not prosecution. She has taken the same stance with the impeachment question.
Both Pelosi, and her Senate counterpart Harry Reid, routinely block this kind of activity because they are worried about a political backlash from the public. My hunch is that this dies at the committee level. With an election coming up in November, Pelosi won’t want to risk firing up the Republican base, or the appearance of a political witch hunt. This is spineless, but typical of the Democratic congressional leadership.