alien & sedition.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
  "The White House Will Cave"

So says the National Review's White House correspondent Byron York, who tells us that, as much as the administration would like to prevent Karl Rove and others from having to testify before Congress about the US attorney scandal, the White House doesn't have a leg to stand on.

York points to this report put together several years ago by the Congressional Research Service, listing the many precedents for White House aides testifying before Congress. As York notes, no fewer than 31 members of the Clinton administration made appearances - mostly regarding the Whitewater investigation.

According to York,
The Congressional Research Service report quotes historian Louis Fisher on the issue of White House testimony: “Although White House aides do not testify before congressional committees on a regular basis, under certain conditions they do. First, intense and escalating political embarrassment may convince the White House that it is in the interest of the president to have these aides testify and ventilate the issue fully. Second, initial White House resistance may give way in the face of concerted congressional and public pressure.”
Of course, this is an administration that has proven to be remarkably insulated from giving a damn about political embarrassment or congressional or public pressure. Or, as York puts it:
[T]he Bush White House, of course, has tried to restore some of the presidential prerogatives that officials believe were unwisely given away by earlier administrations. The fact that the Clinton White House allowed so many of its officials to testify, some Republicans argue, does not mean that the Bush White House has to do the same.
York, I should point out, still refuses to see any actual substance in the scandal. He cites a former Bush administration attorney who insists that the congressional hearings are just a "perjury trap," and that nobody has alleged any legal wrongdoing on the part of the White House.

This, of course, is wrong, but you don't need me to tell you that. What's interesting here is that even some conservative correspondents believe that the White House, one way or another, will have to accomodate Congress - and Rove will have to talk. Says York:
In the end, though, the question will be settled not on the merits but on the numbers. Democrats have 51 votes in the Senate and 233 votes in the House. To some extent, the White House will have to make accommodations. “They posture mightily,” says one Washington insider of White Houses past and present, “and then they grab some fig leaf to give Congress what it wants.”

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Let the ventilation begin!

(Although, loyal and connected as York is, I have my doubts about just whose testimony we'll be treated to. Methinks Rove will send his regrets.)
I may be overly hopeful with regard to Rove specifically, true.
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