The Rachel Maddow Show: Karl Rove's Sorry Victim Act

Rachel Maddow takes Karl Rove to task for his op-ed in the Wall Street Journal complaining that he's been "wronged by the press for years" and it's ti
up

Rachel Maddow takes Karl Rove to task for his op-ed in the Wall Street Journal complaining that he's been "wronged by the press for years" and it's time for the press to own up for their mistakes about him. Rachel rehashes Rove's role in the US Attorney's scandal and tells Rove, good luck with your complaints.

Someone needs to ask the Obama Justice Department why they're not doing something about getting rid of these "Bushies" that are still in place in the Justice Department, and why Don Siegelman hasn't seen any justice yet.

MADDOW: In the opinion pages of today`s "Wall Street Journal," there is a startling claim by former Bush senior advisor Karl Rove. According to Mr. Rove, he has been wronged by the press for years and it`s time for the press to finally own up to its mistakes about him.

Specifically, Mr. Rove rails against allegations to the U.S. Attorney scandal, that he manipulated the judicial process for political reasons. He says in "The Journal" today that his role in the firing of U.S. Attorneys was minimal and entirely proper and that critics should just let up on him about these demonstrably untrue allegations.

You know what? The press actually doesn`t need to let up on Mr. Rove at all. Let me explain. In his article today, Mr. Rove emphatically disputes the claim that, quote, "The judicial process had been manipulated for political reasons."

Here`s a story about that. In October of 2006, Arizona Republican congressman Rick Renzi was running for re-election. At the time, Mr. Renzi was the subject of a massive investigation by the U.S. Attorney`s Office there for stuff like money laundering and extortion and insurance fraud.

Rumors that he was being investigated were starting to make headlines which aren`t helpful if you`re running for re-election. What to do about these unhelpful headlines? Well, according to the House Judiciary Committee that looked into all of this, one of Karl Rove`s aides E-mailed White House counsel Harriet Miers to see if the administration could arrange for Mr. Renzi to get some high-level help.

Miers then reached out to the Justice Department and asked them to put out a statement favorable to Congressman Renzi in time for the election. Miers E-mailed back, quote, "I just finished speaking with the deputy attorney general. He said what we suspected he would. He is continuing to think about the situation."

Ultimately, the Alberto Gonzales-led Justice Department did put out a favorable statement about Rick Renzi, contradicting their standard policy which is usually to not comment of ongoing investigations. Mr. Renzi, following that statement, went on to win his re-election. And then, he was indicted on more than 30 counts.

Do you want another story? Let`s go to Missouri, where Republican Senator Kit Bond apparently had some issues with the U.S. attorney there, man named Todd Graves. What to do about it? Call Karl Rove`s office.

Todd Graves ended up losing his job as U.S. attorney in a deal that the White House made. They agreed to fire Mr. Graves in order to make Sen. Kit Bond happy enough that he would drop a hold that he put on one of Bush`s judicial appointments.

According to the House Judiciary Committee, it was an explicitly political deal to get rid of this U.S. attorney to keep this one senator happy. Who was at the center of it? Well, a White House E-mail obtained by Congress states that, quote, "Karl is fine with the replacement."

So Karl says the judicial process was not being manipulated for political reasons? What was it being manipulated for then? The weather?

Then there is the case of fired U.S. Attorney David Iglesias of New Mexico. Again, Karl Rove claims that the House Judiciary investigation proves Mr. Rove`s role in these firings was, quote, "minimal and entirely proper." In the case of David Iglesias, he says that nobody has proved Iglesias was being pressured to prosecute Democrats.

Well, you know what has been proved? It`s been that in New Mexico at the time, there was a Democrat named Patricia Madrid who was running against a Republican member of Congress.

That Republican member of Congress started E-mailing Karl Rove`s office criticizing U.S. Attorney David Iglesias for not prosecuting that Democrat who was her opponent. After that complaint, Rove`s deputy sent Karl Rove himself an E-mail saying Iglesias shouldn`t be, quote, "Shy about doing his job on Madrid."

In other words, Iglesias needed to prosecute this Democrat. Mr. Rove`s defense is that he never responded to that E-mail. What he was doing around the same time was contacting White House counsel Harriet Miers to inform her that David Iglesias was a problem that need to be dealt with.

According to Ms. Miers` sworn testimony, quote, "Karl was very agitated about the U.S. attorney in New Mexico. It was clear to me that he felt that he had a serious problem and that he wanted to something done about it. He may have said, `Can`t we get rid of this guy?` or something like that."

Weeks later, David Iglesias found himself on a list of U.S. attorneys set to be fired. Why was David Iglesias seen as such a serious problem? Well, Karl Rove is still making the case in the "Wall Street Journal" today that he should have been prosecuting that darn Democrat.

Rove`s great defense, quote, "Despite all their digging, judiciary Democrats produced not a shred of evidence that I encouraged Mr. Iglesias to undertake a prosecution."

The idea that the press should apologize for making the obvious, glaring, flood-lit inference here is ridiculous. Mr. Rove also addresses the fact that one of his proteges was installed to replace a fired U.S. attorney in Arkansas. According to Mr. Rove, this, too, was entirely proper and his aide was only suggested for the job, quote, "After I learned the then-U.S. attorney was likely to leave his post."

Well, the then-U.S. attorney was a man named Bud Cummins. And while it`s true that Mr. Cummins did at one point speculate about maybe leaving that post, his ousting in June 2006 was not at all voluntarily.

Mr. Cummins says he was asked for his resignation by the Bush administration because the White House wanted to give another person the opportunity to serve in his job. Quote, "I don`t think many of us were aware that the administration might want to ask someone to step aside just to give someone else an opportunity."

That someone else who got that opportunity was Karl Rove`s aide, Tim Griffin. The idea that Karl Rove`s role in this was that he was just replacing a guy who was leaving anyway is disingenuous at best.

Karl Rove is now demanding that people lay off of him about the U.S. attorney scandal and the politicization of the Justice Department. He is saying the House Judiciary investigation proves his role was minimal and proper.

"Wall Street Journal" may feel like this is OK to publish on their opinion pages - good for them. But expecting anyone else to get in line with this ridiculous revisionist argument? Yes, good luck with that.

About Heather

Comments

We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.