LAWFUEL – Karl Rove has moved center stage in administration affairs a…

LAWFUEL – Karl Rove has moved center stage in administration affairs again with his refusal to testify before the Senate panel inquiring into the firing of nine US Attorneys.

Bloombergs report that President George W. Bush Karl Rove not to testify today before a Senate panel about the firings of the nine attorneys, escalating his confrontation with Congress over executive privilege.

The assertion of executive privilege yesterday for Rove and White House political aide J. Scott Jennings follows Bush’s refusal last month to allow Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten and former counsel Harriet Miers to cooperate with the congressional investigation of the firings.

“Mr. Rove, as an immediate presidential adviser, is immune from compelled congressional testimony about matters that arose during his tenure and that relate to his official duties,” White House Counsel Fred Fielding wrote in a letter to Senate and Republican leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

House and Senate panels are investigating whether the White House orchestrated the prosecutor firings for improper political purposes, such as to punish U.S. attorneys who didn’t aggressively pursue vote-fraud allegations. One of the nine fired prosecutors was replaced by a former Rove aide.

The dispute has led Democrats and some Republicans to call for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s ouster. Lawmakers have accused him of misleading Congress about the firings and also about whether there was disagreement within the Bush administration over its terrorist surveillance program.

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