- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 16, 2009

Former Bush adviser Karl Rove met for nearly four hours Friday with a special prosecutor investigating the 2006 firings of several U.S. attorneys, but both sides were closemouthed about the discussion.

The meeting was held at the D.C. offices of Mr. Rove’s lawyer, Robert Luskin. Mr. Luskin also declined to comment on the details of his client’s meeting with special prosecutor Nora Dannehy, saying only: “Mr. Rove has consistently stated that he would cooperate fully and voluntarily with Miss Dannehy’s investigation.”

After the meeting, Rebecca Carr, a spokeswoman for Mr. Luskin, said the interview “went well.”

A jovial Mr. Rove joked with reporters before driving away in a Jaguar. He didn’t respond to questions about the meeting and instead reminded reporters that he was to appear Saturday morning on television.

Miss Dannehy left the law office without speaking. Tom Carson, a spokesman for Miss Dannehy, also declined comment.

The acting U.S. attorney in Connecticut, Miss Dannehy is investigating whether the Justice Department, White House or congressional officials broke any laws as part of the firings of nine U.S. attorneys. The firings led to the resignations of several top Justice Department officials, including former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales.

Former Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey appointed Miss Dannehy to investigate based on recommendations from a scathing 2008 internal Justice Department report that concluded that political consideration improperly played a role in the dismissals of several U.S. attorneys.

The report stopped short of concluding that any crimes had occurred but recommended the appointment of a prosecutor to determine whether offenses such as wire fraud or obstruction of justice had taken place.

U.S. attorneys are presidential appointees who can be removed for almost any reason at any time. But the internal investigation concluded that they cannot be removed as a way of influencing a case or an election. According to the Justice Department Inspector General’s office, that could be a criminal offense.

The internal report concluded that Mr. Rove - along with Monica Goodling, former White House liaison for the Justice Department; former White House official Harriet Miers; and former Sen. Pete V. Domenici, New Mexico Republican - were involved in the “most troubling” firing - that of former New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias.

Despite Justice Department assertions that Mr. Iglesias was fired because of his job performance, the report concluded that he was removed because New Mexico Republicans complained to the White House and Justice Department about his handling of voter-fraud and public-corruption cases.

Mr. Iglesias said Mr. Domenici pressured him to bring corruption charges against a Democratic state lawmaker before the 2006 election. Mr. Domenici has acknowledged calling Mr. Iglesias but said he did not pressure him to bring an indictment.

The internal report concluded that an appointed prosecutor could conduct a more extensive investigation because several officials, including Mr. Rove, refused to cooperate. The report said it could not fully determine the role of the White House in the firings but did conclude that it was involved in at least three of the nine dismissals.

Mr. Rove has since agreed to cooperate and also will testify in a closed deposition with the House Judiciary Committee. Mr. Luskin said the only reason his client hasn’t always cooperated was because of a request from President George W. Bush, who considered the issue a matter of executive privilege.

The House Judiciary Committee sued Mr. Rove and Miss Miers, who had received similar instructions from Mr. Bush, when they refused to testify about the firings. In March, the Obama administration brokered a deal in which Mr. Rove and Miss Miers agreed to testify, and the Judiciary Committee stopped its lawsuit.

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