Contempt for Rove, Bolten

Two Republicans join Democrats in what is likely to be a meaningless exercise.

By Tim Grieve

Published December 13, 2007 4:45PM (EST)

The Senate Judiciary Committee has just approved contempt citations for Josh Bolten and Karl Rove, citing the president's chief of staff and former top political advisor for failing to comply with subpoenas issued as part of the committee's investigation of the firing of U.S. attorneys last year.

Republicans Arlen Specter and Charles Grassley joined 10 Democrats in voting in favor of the citations.

But before anybody gets in line to watch the sort of "frog-marching" that Joseph Wilson has long anticipated, it's probably worth mentioning that the citations are meaningless unless they survive a vote on the Senate floor, and they're probably meaningless even then.

Even assuming that the full Senate approves the citations, any prosecution under them would be handled by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of Columbia. At least until Jan. 20, 2009, the prosecutors in that office serve at the pleasure of George W. Bush, whose people have already declared that the office "would not be permitted to bring contempt charges or convene a grand jury in an executive privilege case."

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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