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Rove Testifies Before House Committee on U.S. Attorney Firings

Former Bush adviser Karl Rove warns his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee could become a 'show trial.' (AP Photo)

WASHINGTON -- Former Bush White House official Karl Rove was questioned by House Judiciary Committee lawyers Tuesday on any role he may have played in politically motivated firings of U.S. attorneys.

Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., confirmed Rove's closed-door appearance through a committee spokesman who was not authorized to be quoted by name.

The committee has been seeking answers on who created the list of federal prosecutors who would lose their jobs. Conyers has suspected the trail led to the White House but couldn't prove it. Former President George W. Bush asserted executive privilege for Rove and former White House lawyer Harriet Miers and refused to let them testify.

An agreement was struck in March between Rove's lawyer and the committee for Rove, who was Bush's top political adviser, to testify on the prosecutors' firings, as well as the prosecution of former Gov. Don Siegelman of Alabama. Siegelman, a Democrat, has alleged that his prosecution was pushed by Republicans, including Rove.

The agreement called for Rove to testify "under the penalty for perjury," Conyers has said. The committee could release the transcripts afterward, but the agreement also allowed for public testimony.

Nine U.S. attorneys were fired. An internal Bush Justice Department investigation concluded that political considerations played a part in at least four of the dismissals.

Rove's appearance before the Judiciary Committee was first reported Tuesday night by the Web site Politico.