But thanks to the reporting of Jason Leopold at The Public Record, we have a pretty good idea of what Rove said. And thanks to a press release from Don Siegelman, we know that the former Alabama governor landed several crisp e-counterpunches to Rove's chubby chin.
Leopold reports that Rove, in an interview on Fox News back in March, said he already has responded to questions about the Siegelman prosecution and posted answers on his Web site, Rove.com.
How did Rove manage to do that? He received written questions last July from Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), ranking minority member on the House Judiciary Committee. Without consulting committee chairman John Conyers, Smith submitted Rove's responses into the Congressional record.
In his written response to Smith's 14 questions, Rove stated:
"I have never communicated, either directly or indirectly, with Justice Department or Alabama officials about the investigation, indictment, potential prosecution, prosecution, conviction, or sentencing of Governor Siegelman, or about any other matter related to his case, nor have I asked any other individual to communicate about these matters on my behalf," Rove wrote. "I have never attempted, either directly or indirectly, to influence these matters."
Leopold reports that Rove responded to eight other questions with the exact same answer.
In a written statement released yesterday, Siegelman pounced on Rove's not-so subtle end run around the truth. First, the former governor notes that Rove did not answer the question that was put to him:
“That wasn’t the question. The question was, “have you talked to anyone about prosecuting Siegelman.Here is another one of Rove's answers, regarding Republican whistleblower and Alabama attorney Jill Simpson:
“Rove’s answer cleverly leaves open that he could have talked to his best friend, the U. S. Attorney’s husband, Bill Canary. In fact that is precisely what Dana Jill Simpson says in her affidavit and in her sworn testimony before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. Nor does Rove deny talking directly to the U.S. Attorney herself, or to my opponent or his son or Rove’s then partner in Alabama, Kitty McCullough (AKA Kelly Kimbrough).
ROVE: “I have never communicated, either directly or indirectly, with Simpson (Dana Jill Simpson) about the investigation, indictment, potential prosecution, prosecution, conviction, or sentencing of Governor Siegelman . . . "The former governor was ready for that one, too:
Rove answers truthfully here because that was not the basis of the allegation: no one ever said he was on the phone with Dana Jill Simpson. She was on the phone with the husband of my prosecutor, Bill Canary, who announced to all on the conference call: “Stop worrying about Siegelman. I have talked to Karl and Karl has already got the Justice department pursuing Siegelman, and besides, my girls are going to take care of him.” (His girls having been defined as his wife, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama and Alice Martin, the U.S. Attorney from the Northern District. Both of whom initiated charges [against Siegelman] in rapid succession as the 2006 election neared).It's easy to see why Rove wanted to answer questions in writing, without having to face pesky followups. It's also easy to see how Rove planned to hoodwink the House Judiciary Committee staff.
Was he able to pull it off? Time will tell. But it doesn't look like Siegelman plans to let Rove walk quietly into the good night.