Former senior Bush administration officials agreed Wednesday to be deposed by the House Judiciary Committee about allegations of political interference in the operation of the Justice Department, ending a long-running intergovernmental dispute that had seeped into the federal court system.
According to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) former White House counsel Harriet Miers and former White House political director Karl Rove — both of whom had refused to appear before the Judiciary Committee — agreed to “transcribed depositions— on the dismissal and retention of U.S. Attorneys. The transcripts will be publicly released.
“The agreement for Karl Rove and Harriet Miers to testify upholds a fundamental principle: no one is above the law and Congressional subpoenas must be complied with,— Pelosi said in a statement.
In addition, Judiciary Committee member Rep. Charlie Gonzalez (D-Texas) said in a statement that the panel will be allowed to review “key documents— previously withheld by the White House and will then conduct the private interviews. In addition, the committee could opt for a subsequent public hearing with both officials.
White House officials including Miers had previously refused to comply with Congressional subpoenas to appear before the House committee citing broad executive privilege.
In July 2008, a federal judge ruled in favor of House Democrats, who had filed a civil lawsuit in federal court seeking to enforce those subpoenas.
“At the urging of the Obama administration, and in consideration of the executive branch interests at stake, we have reached an accommodation with the House Judiciary Committee that satisfies the committee’s desire for additional information and will finally put this matter to rest,— said Rob Saliterman, spokesman for former President George W. Bush.