Karl Rove will resign at the end of August, according to the Associated Press.
A criminal investigation put Rove under scrutiny for months during the investigation into the leak of a CIA operative’s name but he was never charged with any crime. In a more recent controversy, Rove, citing executive privilege, has refused to testify before Congress about the firing of U.S. attorneys.
Rove’s departure reinforces Bush’s lame-duck stature and declining influence, particularly with Democrats in control on Capitol Hill.
A report in the Ottawa Citizen highlighted his success in getting Bush elected:
But by 2006, Rove had lost some of his magic.
With Bush’s popularity spiralling downward along with support for the war in Iraq, the Democrats regained control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Two domestic agenda items closely tied to Rove also bit the dust — reforming the social security system and revamping the country’s immigration laws.
The Chicago Tribune observed that this was a reversal of fortune from the 2004 election:
That moment, seen at the time by Rove and many other Republicans as the signal of a fundamental realignment in politics, might now be viewed as the peak of the recent conservative era. And a sign that Rove’s increasing role in crafting West Wing policy, not merely politics, helped steer the Bush presidency to its currently troubled state.
An earlier AP story, however, cast Rove’s resignation as “a major loss for Bush as he heads into the twilight of his presidency, battered in the polls, facing a hostile Democratic Congress and waging an unpopular war.”