Rove, Miers strike deal, will testify about U.S. Attorneys

The Obama administration helped broker a deal that ended a protracted battle between the two former Bush aides and Congress.

Published March 5, 2009 1:45AM (EST)

In a bit of a surprise move, former top Bush aides Harriet Miers and Karl Rove have agreed to testify about their administration's firings of several U.S. Attorneys. Congress may not ultimately get the satisfaction of dragging them before a public hearing, however.

The deal, which ends a lawsuit filed by the House of Representatives that sought to compel testimony from Miers and Rove, was worked out with the help of the Obama administration. The White House was in something of a sticky situation here, as they wanted to keep their Democratic allies happy but at the same time wanted to protect what they see as the rights of the Executive Branch -- not a small thing, as anything can happen and the GOP could at some point be back in control of one house of Congress during President Obama's time in office. Former President Bush's counsel, Fred Fielding, had instructed Miers and Rove not to testify.

The pair will give depositions in closed hearings, which will be transcribed, according to CBS News. There's no definitive word yet on whether they'll have to testify publicly.

Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, called the deal  "good news." White House Counsel Greg Craig said in a statement that "The agreement will allow the Committee to complete its investigation into the U.S. Attorneys matter and it will do so in the way such disputes have historically been resolved -- through negotiation and accommodation between the legislative and executive branches."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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