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Posts Tagged ‘House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers’

Undeterred, Conyers subpoenas Rove a third time

Raw Story- John Byrne
Published: Friday February 13, 2009

Rove lawyer out of office until deposition date

House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, Jr. D-MI) has subpoenaed Karl Rove a third time, asking him to appear Monday, Feb. 23 for a deposition to testify about his knowledge about the US Attorney firings and the alleged political prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.

“Pursuant to my letter to you of Jan. 29, 2009, and your agreement to accept service on behalf of Karl Rove, I am enclosing a subpoena for Mr. Rove to appear and provide testimony by deposition on Feb. 23, 2009, at 10:00am in room 2138 of the Rayburn House Office Building,” Conyers wrote Robert Luskin, Rove’s D.C. Attorney.

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Our Responsibility

Huffington Post- Rep. John Conyers

Posted January 31, 2009 | 02:23 PM (EST)

The Obama era began in earnest last week, with bold action such as closing the Guantanamo Bay prison camp and promising to end torture. In its very first days, the new administration has begun to lift the veil of secrecy surrounding executive branch operations, and has made great strides forward on fundamental challenges such as energy and the environment, and above all the national economic crisis left in the wake of the Bush Presidency. While great challenges and much hard work remain, the way forward is bright and clear.

As we proceed, however, the question remains how best to respond to the severe challenge posed to our constitutional structure, and to our national honor, by the Bush administration’s actions, and in particular its national security programs. Faced with a record of widespread warrantless surveillance inside the United States, brutal interrogation policies condemned by the administration’s own head of the Guantanamo Bay military commissions as torture, and flawed rendition practices that resulted in innocent men being abducted and handed to other countries to face barbaric abuse, what actions will we take to meet our commitment to the rule of law and reclaim our standing as a moral leader among nations?

I have previously explained my view that a full review of the record must be conducted by an experienced and independent prosecutor, and should focus on the senior policymakers and lawyers who ordered and approved these actions. Others, such as my fellow Michigander Senator Carl Levin, have suggested similar measures. This approach is compelled in my opinion by the basic notion that, if crimes were committed, those responsible should be held accountable – after all, is there any principle of American freedom more fundamental than the rule that no person is above the law? If this independent review concludes that the Bush Administration’s legal constructs make prosecution impossible for some, so be it, but the matter should be given a proper look before such judgments are made one way or the other.

Some commentators – including even those firmly opposed to criminal investigation – support the creation of an independent Commission with appropriate clearances and subpoena power to review the existing record, make policy recommendations, and publish an authoritative account of these events. I have introduced a bill in the House that would create such a commission, and I believe this sort of public accounting is critical as well.

There remain those, however, who would have us simply move on. Some fear the consequences of a true accounting, or worry that taking time to reckon with the sins of the past will hinder us in meeting the challenges of the future. Others argue that the facts are already known, and further review will accomplish little. Often, the call for further review of the Bush administration’s actions is dismissed as partisan payback, kicking an unpopular President when he’s down.

I could not disagree more with these views. As a practical matter, I do not believe that empowering a commission or an independent prosecutor would burden the Congress or the executive or would hinder our efforts to meet the challenges of the day. To the contrary, allowing outside review of these matters by qualified independent experts will free us and President Obama to focus our efforts where they are most needed – on solving the problems before us and improving the lives of the American people.

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Days before leaving office, Bush’s lawyer told Rove not to turn over any documents

Raw Story- John Byrne
Published: Friday January 30, 2009

Four days before leaving office, and ten days before House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) subpoenaed him to testify, President Bush’s White House Counsel instructed Karl Rove not to appear before Congress or turn over any documents relating to his time at the White House.

The letter, on White House stationery, was addressed to Rove’s  D.C. lawyer, Robert Luskin, and addressed questions of whether the former White House Deputy Chief of Staff was obligated to appear before Congress relating to the firing of nine US Attorneys.

“Please advise Mr. Rove (i) that the President continues to direct him not to provide information (whether in the form of testimony or documents) to the Congress in this matter… and not to appear before Congress in this matter,” then-White House Counsel Fred Fielding wrote.

The Jan. 16, 2009 letter was acquired by Newsweek‘s Michael Isikoff and printed online Thursday evening.

At its heart, Fielding’s letter reflects President George W. Bush’s decision to continue to argue that “[t]he President and his immediate advisors are absolutely immune from testimonial compulsion by a congressional committee,” even after leaving office, citing a 2007 memorandum the Justice Department prepared. Ironically, the memo was prepared by the very department that Congress is trying to garner information about.

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This video is from MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, broadcast Jan. 29, 2009.

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Pelosi wants investigation of Bush officials, open to prosecutions

Raw Story- David Edwards and Jeremy Gantz
Published: Sunday January 18, 2009

In a Sunday morning interview with Fox’ Chris Wallace, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi signaled that she’s open to backing prosecutions of Bush administration officials that may arise from congressional hearings.

“I think we have to learn from the past and we cannot let the politicizing of, for example, the Justice Department to go unreviewed,” said Pelosi, . “The past is prologue, we learn from it… I want to see the truth come forth.”

The California Democrat suggested that the Bush administration’s politicized Justice Department’s should be further investigated for wrongdoings.

“I think you look at each item and see what is a violation of the law and do we even have a right to ignore it,” Pelosi said. “We have a contempt of Congress against members of the executive branch who withheld information from us.”

On January 6th, House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) unveiled a bill that would create a commission to investigate questionable policies of the Bush administration, including torture and wiretapping programs.

Named the National Commission on Presidential War Powers and Civil Liberties, the panel comprise “experts outside government service” who would review the Bush administration’s “claims of unreviewable war powers.”

Obama has not ruled out prosecution of Bush administration officals, but he recently called President Bush “a good guy.”

This video is from Fox’s Fox News Sunday, broadcast Jan. 18, 2009.

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Conyers publishes massive report on ‘Imperial Presidency’

Raw Story- Stephen C. Webster
Published: Tuesday January 13, 2009

Report demands investigation of Bush administration’s abuses of power

Everyone wants to know: will Obama order investigations into the Bush administration’s abuses of power? But, perhaps a better question would be: if he doesn’t, who will?

House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), it appears, will at least try.

Conyers published a 487-page report (PDF link) Tuesday titled, “Reining in the Imperial Presidency: Lessons and Recommendations Relating to the presidency of George W. Bush.”

Conyers’ report makes 47 recommendations “designed to restore the traditional checks and balances of our constitutional system,” reads the foreward. Recommendations include the establishment of a ‘blue ribbon’ commission to fully investigate the Bush administration, and the launch of criminal probes.

“Even after scores of hearings, investigations, and reports, we still do not have answers to some of the most fundamental questions left in the wake of Bush’s Imperial Presidency,” Conyers said in a release. “Investigations are not a matter of payback or political revenge – it is our responsibility to examine what has occurred and to set an appropriate baseline of conduct for future administrations.”

On Jan. 6, Conyers introduced a bill that, if passed, would create the “Commission on Presidential War Powers and Civil Liberties,” which would seek to root out President Bush’s abuses.

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Think Progress- By Satyam Khanna at 4:32 pm

Conyers introduces bill creating commission to investigate Bush’s torture and wiretapping policies.»

TPM notes that House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) has introduced legislation setting up a National Commission on Presidential War Powers and Civil Liberties. The panel’s goal is to “establish a Blue Ribbon Commission comprised of experts outside government service to investigate the broad range of policies of the Bush administration that were undertaken by the Bush administration under claims of unreviewable war powers.” While he is unlikely to prosecute Bush officials for war crimes, President-elect Obama has hinted at support for such a commission.

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