University of Pittsburgh
March 22, 2007

The President's Ban on Karl Rove Testifying Under Oath About the Firing of Eight Federal Attorneys Is a More Profound Crisis Than Watergate, Says Pitt Expert

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PITTSBURGH-Michael Brenner, professor of international affairs in the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, says the standoff between Congress and President George W. Bush over testimony by White House aides on the firing of eight U.S. attorneys goes beyond the issue of executive privilege. "The abuse of the authority to appoint federal prosecutors in order to make them political tools of the ruling party is but the latest, if most blatant, example of the imperial presidency working not for the people of the United States, but rather against the fundamental principles on which our democratic republic is grounded," Brenner says. "In this respect, the crisis is more profound than that provoked by Richard Nixon and Watergate."

Brenner says it is unfortunate that Republicans have seen fit to come to the defense of President Bush as a partisan reflex mechanism. "This suicidal impulse may result in a Democratic sweep in 2008, as was the case in 1974," he says. "The irony is that Karl Rove's enduring legacy will not be a permanent Republican majority, but the restoration of the Democrats as the natural party of Congressional governance."

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