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Rove's Former Aide Sara Taylor Finally Testifies

This post, written by Christy Hardin Smith, originally appeared on FireDogLake

10:06 am ET

Sen. Leahy opening the hearing. Detailing the conversations had with Taylor and her attorney. Leahy says there is clear evidence that Karl Rove was involved inteh US Atty firings. Says that Taylor informed the committee that she wants to cooperate with the SJC -- President's blanket assertion of executive privilege is unprecedented.

Leahy says under oath, the bottom line of the AG, the DAG, the AG's former CoS, the WH liaison was that none of them were responsible for the USAtty firings. Gets into the WH political office role in trying to use USAtty offices and prosecutions to potentially impact elections.

What is it that the WH is so intent on hiding? They cannot even give us information on the firings and other basic information. Ms. Taylor's honest testimony could answer these questions. The WH is contemptuous of Congress and the American public's right to know what is being done. This is serious -- about improper political manipulation of the justice system, about USAttys being encouraged to bring cases against political enemies, it is about high ranking officials maniuplating justice. This has included lying, misleading and stonewalling the Congress -- "this Administration has instituted an abusive policy of secrecy, aimed at protecting themselves from embarassment and accountability." In America, no one is above the law.

I hope Ms. Taylor chooses to reject the WH insistance on secrecy, and cooperates with this committee.

SEN. SPECTER OPENING: Specter says the SJC should cave to the WH demands, do without the oath, he could live with a closed session, etc. (CHS notes: I see that Lord Noth has shown up just in time this morning with his subservient act. Right on cue...again.) I believe that the continuation of AG Gonzales as the attorney general -- as I've said both privately and publicly -- is nto in the best interests of the United States. But, I won't presume to tell the President that he ought to fire him.

Specter talking now about Gonzales' lying to Congress re: the FBI infringement reports. Now arguing against holding Sara Taylor in contempt if she improperly asserts privilege. Specter says that there are 6 Democrats at the hearing today, and that he could use more Republicans who might actually like to do their jobs.

SEN. SCHUMER OPENING: I know that you want to cooperate and to talk with the Committee. The WH has issued a gag order, plain and simple. The President can dress it up all he wants, but it is ill-considered and unpersuasive and overbroad. Our faith in this Administration is misplaced -- there is an effort, it seems at all costs, at avoiding telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Believe that the privilege claim that the President has asserted is weak -- because we are asking about a discrete series of events, because some of the documents have already been issued by the DOJ to the SJC, and for a number of other reasons.

SEN. GRASSLEY OPENING: Thanks Taylor for appearing. Taylor is from Iowa, Grassley's home state, and is giving some background on her now. Says she is in the unenviable position of being sandwiched between the clashing interests of two branches of government. Grassley says that testifying is the right course of action, and he thanks her for being here.

Taylor now being sworn in to testify.

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