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‘It’s Subpoena Time’

   There’s been a bit of a lull in getting testimony from White House officials — most notably, Karl Rove — on the prosecutor purge scandal. T

rove.jpg   There’s been a bit of a lull in getting testimony from White House officials — most notably, Karl Rove — on the prosecutor purge scandal. Today, the NYT suggests it’s time to stop waiting and start subpoenaing.

Congress has now heard from everyone in the Justice Department who appears to have played a significant role in the firings of the prosecutors. They have all insisted that the actual decisions about whom to fire came from somewhere else. It is increasingly clear that the somewhere else was the White House. If Congress is going to get to the bottom of the scandal, it has to get the testimony of Mr. Rove, his aides Scott Jennings and Sara Taylor, Ms. Miers and her deputy, William Kelley.

The White House has offered to make them available only if they do not take an oath and there is no transcript. Those conditions are a formula for condoning perjury, and they are unacceptable. As for documents, the White House has released piles of useless e-mail messages. But it has reported that key e-mails to and from Mr. Rove were inexplicably destroyed. At the same time, it has argued that e-mails of Mr. Rove’s that were kept on a Republican Party computer system, which may contain critical information, should not be released.

This noncooperation has gone on long enough. Mr. Leahy should deliver the subpoenas for the five White House officials and make clear that if the administration resists, Congress will use all available means to get the information it needs.

The investigation has collected evidence, heard from witnesses, and compiled documents. There are a variety of unanswered questions, all of which seem to involve the White House generally, and Rove specifically. The Senate Judiciary Committee, on a bipartisan vote, already cleared the way for subpoenas. In the interests of justice, it’s time to send them to the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

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