Karl Rove can't help himself. The more he talks the more he suggests that he's guilty as sin. His throw-crap-against-the-wall-and-hope-it-sticks piece in The Wall Street Journal constitutes his latest non-denial about corrupt dealings with the Justice Department.
Rove gives himself away in his nonsensical lies regarding the inquiry into the prosecution of former Alabama governor Don Siegelman.
The allegation that Rove took action to influence the prosecution is pretty straightforward. Alabama attorney Jill Simpson, a former Republican operative, testified about a conversation she had in early 2005 with Rob Riley, the son of current Alabama governor Bob Riley. Rob Riley told Simpson that Karl Rove had contacted the head of the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section, to make sure that Gov. Siegelman would be indicted for political corruption. The alleged motivation was to take Siegelman, a popular Democrat, out of the running for the 2006 governor's race.
Rove either contacted the head of the Public Integrity Section -- at that time it was Noel Hillman, who was later appointed to the Federal bench by Bush -- or he didn't. Rove either contacted someone else in the Justice Department regarding the prosecution of Gov. Siegelman or he didn't. Rove either directed someone else to discuss the matter with the Justice Department or he didn't.
Rove is not a lawyer, but he's not stupid either. He, like any lawyer, would know that a political figure contacting the Justice Department to get someone prosecuted is a really big deal, and for any lawyer it would set off all kinds of ethical bells and whistles. Even if you're a really busy and important guy like Rove, it's not the sort of thing you would just forget.
After Simpson gave her sworn testimony for the House Judiciary Committee in September 2007, Rove had plenty of time for jog his memory and confer with his lawyer, Bob Luskin.
Rove gave a lot of deliberation on the matter prior to submitting a written statement, offered as a stalling tactic to avoid direct questioning, to Rep. Lamar Smith, (R-Tex.) in July 2008. At that time, Rove's denial was categorical.
But when Rove finally sat down for direct questioning by the House Judiciary Committee, he acted like he just fell of the cabbage truck.
Q: Have you ever had any conversations with Noel Hillman in the public -- then in the public integrity section of the Department of Justice?
A: I'm familiar with the name but I -- and I had -- I may have had some -- I can't remember whether this was an issue regarding the appointment of Noel Hillman -- is Hillman a potential-
Q: For the record, he has later become nominated for and approved as a Federal judge, if that helps you.
A: Right. Yeah. I think that is the context in which I recognize the name.
Q: Do you recall ever having any communications with him while he was at the Department of Justice?
A: Not that I recall, no.
Among other things, Noel Hillman oversaw the Justice Department investigation into the Jack Abramoff scandal, in which Rove and his allies were deeply implicated. That's why Rove's, "I'm familiar with the name..." routine is so transparent. What would you think if someone asked Hillary Clinton, "Have you had any conversations with Kenneth Starr?" and she prefaced her answer with, "I'm familiar with the name..." before saying, "Not that I recall"?
Those nondenials segued into his rant on the editorial pages of the Journal, where Rove can lie with impunity.
Judiciary Democrats didn't get testimony from either Mr. Siegelman or Dana Jill Simpson, the eccentric Alabama lawyer who drew attention by publicly supporting the allegations. Committee staff confided to me that they considered her an unreliable witness. I also understand that Mr. Siegelman and Ms. Simpson refused to cooperate with the Justice Department's review of his claim of political persecution, while I willingly gave sworn testimony.
Rove's lies could not be more blatant. Simpson gave sworn testimony for the House Judiciary Committee, with questioning by Democratic staffers, on September 14, 2007. Gov. Siegelman was never called to testify by any agency or committee. Rove never testified for a Justice Department review of the Siegelman case. In fact, there's no indication that the Justice Department has considered the prima facie evidence of lying, concealment of evidence and witness intimidation by federal prosecutors.