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June 13, 2006


Dear emptywheel,
I'm disappointed, of course, that Rover won't be hung out to dry--he's dirty, no denying it. And I fervently share your hope that VPOTUS will be dressed down in court. And I'm sad, really, for J. Leopold, who obviously thought he had something important to say. I'm still curious about Sealed v. Sealed, mind you, and I'd like to think that Rover rolled over and tattled on Cheney. And I think you're way smarter than me when it comes to all of this. So, I'll retreat to my little corner, now, and listen to the grown-ups more, and only speak when I'm spoken to. Apologies for any disquiet my attempts at feistiness may have caused you. Take care. And keep fighting the good fight.

Good morning!

I heard the news at 5:30 a.m. Denver time... I think my heart stopped because I was CERTAIN he would get his. Anyway, I feel better now. Thanks for your thoughts.

The ONLY thing that will make this right is if the *DARKNESS* goes down. I posted on FDL a link (of course it was from Leopold) that said that Fitz said Rove lied 8 out of 9 times. So if this is true, looks like you're right because he could forgive that if it led him to the big boy, eh?

Have a great day.

For me the major source of skepticism regarding Cheney is what you point to as evidence: do you think Fitzgerald would be revealing all this stuff about Cheney's role if he were still meaningfully a subject of the investigation? Isn't it rather a paean to what might have been?

Also, Luskin's careful reference to the pending case instead of the ongoing investigation is clearly meant ot be a reference to the Libby case. That's not to say the investigation is not ongoing, Luskin does not say the investigation is over, and the Times is either well-sourced or a little sloppy in asserting that the investigation is effectively over. The Post or someone says there are still unknown issues, including Armitage's status. That's all to say we don't know the status of the investigation. I suspect we'll be hearing from Fitzgerald soon.

If Fitz has given up on Rove (for whatever reason) and the investigative part of the case is over, is that some kind of formal milestone that we should expect to learn of (e.g., Fitz formally advises that he will no longer need access to a grand jury)? I guess that we would know that sort of thing. So if Rove is off the hook, and we don't get news that the investigative phase is over, what are we to conclude? Seems that point should be rapidly approaching.

Poor Dick's ticker may have to start acting up.


Yes, I expected this response from you. As I've said before, I think those signals may have been inducments for Libby to settle. Libby right now faces 50 years, though realistically about 15. If he gets slapped with a conspiracy to obstruct, conspiracy to out a spy, and some more charges, then he effectively faces life.

There is still the fact that it was highly unusual for Rove or any witness to testify five times before a Grand Jury. When Rove appeared in April it was either to clear up potential problems for Rove, i.e., an opportunity for Rove to paper-over some seeming discrepancy that Luskin had an new explanation for, or it was the culmination of a deal with Fitzpatrick, i.e., Rove was delivering on a promise to testify. If the latter, the question remains: Is it Libby or Cheney who is hurt by the testimony? I suspect it is Libby, who is now being left to twist slowly in the wind, soon to take the fall for all the wrong-doing in PlameGate.

What Luskin's statement does say:

We believe that the Special Counsel's decision should put an end to the baseless speculation about Mr. Rove's conduct.

What Luskin's statement does not say:

This definitively clear Mr. Rove of any suspicion of wrongdoing.

While I will remain terribly disappointed that KKKarl might not get what he most deservedly had coming..I do think Rover cut a "deal". This slimebag is too good at what he does to NOT take out someone else instead of offering up himself. Its his schtick to cut somebody else off at the knees. My question is......is it just Cheney? I don't think so. The investigation appears to be ongoing. Fitz may not be quite done with Karl yet. Should be a very interesting summer. I may have an air-conditioner put into my computer room just to keep up with this.

Thanks, emptywheel you are the greatest!

I am sensing something slightly different from the statements. This strikes me as classic cooperation language -- "does not anticipate" means that Rove will not be indicted as long as he continues to provide truthful information and testifies in all trials or GJ proceedings as requested. It sounds as if the case for indictment was propably very clearly laid out to Rove and his many attorneys and then he was offered a little time to think about what his next course of action would be. That would be major cooperation as you suggest.

However, I would be surprised if Fitzgerald goes right to Cheney, or gets to him at all. I anticipate a stop at Addington on the way. I also suspect that Libby is now carefully considering his options to avoid disasterous consequences. Or will he be the only man to take a stand (and fall?) The guy has a family, and it must seem obvious that no one has his back. If I were John Cline, I would be suggesting a few serious plea meetings with the prosecutor. This action will really shake a few trees in the witness world.

Meanwhile, I would guess that Rove's involvement and time commitments with Fitzpatrick has just increased, not decreased. I find it hillarious that Luskin pouts: We believe that the Special Counsel's decision should put an end to the baseless speculation about Mr. Rove's conduct. And then he refuses to discuss any details. HA! I mean, who is the biggest purveyor of baseless speculation in this matter, if not Luskin.

I would like to believe that Rove rolled. As a devil's advocate, here are some thoughts and questions.

Did Fitz believe he didn't have a strong enough case against Rove? If you look at the Libby case (and I'm sure I'm probably missing alot here), he's got 3 reporters (Miller, Cooper and Russert) and 2-3 witnesses (Armitage, Ari, maybe Cheney) and Libby's notes to prove his case. So, my question is, what does he have against Rove?

I know this may seem like the obvious million dollar question, but I think it would be an interesting exercise to clarify what IS the case against Rove?


Sorry for being so predictable. I just have a hard time believing Fitzgerald ever really thought there was any chance that Libby would flip on Cheney, much less that he would think there was still a chance at this point. As always, I'll be happy to be proven wrong on the small point and the large point and bow before another ew speculation borne out by events. I also will note that I think it is a strategic mistake to play the Cheney expectations game the way the Rove expectations game was played.

How'd you know the issue of the status of Fitzgerald's ongoing investigation was going to be an issue yesterday anyway? I didn't see anything about that in any news report or in the order from the judge.

Corallo says they're done.

Fitzgerald called Luskin late Monday afternoon to tell him he would not be seeking charges against Rove. Rove had just gotten on a plane, so his lawyer and spokesman did not reach him until he had landed in Manchester, N.H., where he was to give a speech to state GOP officials.

Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Rove, said the White House official “is elated” and said that “we’re done”.
MSNBC 6/13/06

Fitzgerald talked to Hogan before he notified Rove.

Fitzgerald met with chief U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan before he notified Rove. Hogan has been overseeing the grand juries in the CIA leak case. Fitzgerald's spokesman, Randall Samborn, declined comment. Asked if the CIA leak investigation is still continuing, Samborn said, "I'm not commenting on that as well at this time."
AP 6/13/06

The sobering thought just occured to me related to Jeff's earlier comment. By sobering I mean for one who wants closure one way or the other. As long as Libby's trial is still pending, I don't see why Fitz would 'close' the investigation. If Rove did not roll, Fitz is still after Chenney. If Fitz needs Libby for this, he could wait months to offically announce any type of closure.

Nolle Prosequi

can this possibly have come into play here?

could fitz have sought and recieved an indictment against rove, sealed it and then, for some still unknown reason, decided to not pursue prosecuting the indictment?

Lufkins comments seem to indicate that not publically indicting Rove was based on a prosecutorial decision, not a lack of evidence.


You raise several really great points. This may represent an interim step. Though I don't think Karl leads to Adddington. It's my impression they didn't have much to do with each other. Karl may lead to WHIG, though of course one prominent member of WHIG, who was right in the middle of the cover-up, quit recently.

But I also think Fitzgerald might trade more in an effort to get more--Cheney without a bunch of interim trials, Cheney before 2006 (which, frankly, is in the interest of WH too). So this might be one case where he deviates from his normal methodical approach.

And yes, as I said to Jeff, I think the Cheney comments in the Libby trial are designed as a threat. Libby's not going to save Cheney's reputation by bringing this to trial. And he may save himself a decade in prison if he settles. Furthermore, if he even suspects that Rove is cooperating, then I imagine his attitude toward the case has changed.

I keep remembering couple months back when one of the sharp Plame writers (Murray Waas, maybe?) wrote that if Rove is not indicted he could probably thank the interference of Viveca Novak.

Libby's not going to save Cheney's reputation by bringing this to trial.

I will just point out that 1) nothing Libby is going to do or not do will save Cheney's reputation; and 2) it does not matter one bit - Cheney has never cared about his reputation, and rightly so, since his ability to govern has not hinged at all on his reputation, as far as I can tell.

And he may save himself a decade in prison if he settles.

True, but I suspect that's outweighed by 1)truly fanatical loyalty to Cheney, and 2)the likelihood of a Christmas 2008 pardon.

if he even suspects that Rove is cooperating, then I imagine his attitude toward the case has changed.

Good point, still ultimately outweighed by the anticipation of a pardon; but a prisoner's dilemma situation may have played some role in explaining Rove. We'll see.

I think tpmmuckraker is taking the right tack in pressing Luskin on the fishily concise nature of Luskin's statement. No baseless speculation there, just good questions pressing Luskin into a little bit of a corner. Though as polly notes, one of Rood's questions has been answered by Corallo, when he said that Fitzgerald evidently informed Luskin in a phone call yesterday afternoon.

I suspect we won't be hearing from Novak until Fitzgerald declares the investigation for all intents and purposes over.

Also, I read in the Note - though they have their head so far up their ass that I can't always tell when their tongue is in their cheek - that Armitage is supposed to be on Charlie Rose today.

This is so interesting. Only Luskin is talking about what Fitzgerald "said" to him. But, Fitzgerald hasn't made his own statement. So, I'm perfectly happy to wait a bit longer and see if Luskin is blowing his usual smoke, or if this new little turn of events has a deeper significance other than letting kLouse von Rove off the hook. You know, kind of like, maybe the possibility that Fitzgerald is playing Rove like a fisherman plays a fish on the line...giving him some slack before the final "gottcha" jerk.

From the Guardian article cited by Emptywheel:

Fitzgerald also said he doesn't anticipate any fights with the White House over witnesses he plans to call at Libby's trial in January. Fitzgerald has indicated that he might call witnesses ranging from Cheney to former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer and former State Department official Marc Grossman.

Fitzgerald is not likely to be misdirecting the court as to his intentions. If Fitzgerald says he might call Vice-President Cheney to the stand in a Libby trial that would mean the prosecutor does not expect to be indicting Cheney; at least not between now and then. Emptywheel?


I completely disagree with you about Cheney and his reputation on this issue. Recall the timing: Shuster fucks up and suggests Libby's team, and not Fitz, have talked about the introducing the NIE. Jeffress issues a press release as fast as he can, even though it exposes him to the risk of a gag order. That weekend, Cheney has one too many drinks and shoots an old man in the face. And since then, Cheney has been suffering from a mean case of narcolepsy.

The attention of this case is getting to Cheney. Badly. Well I agree that Cheney doesn't want to be loved, Cheney also thinks a criminal investigation into his doings is an indignity that a Vice President shouldn't legally have to undergo. Plus, Cheney's goal for this administration was to leap executive power, past where it got reversed under Nixon, much further. An investigation into his acts will ruin that goal.

Also, honestly, if Rove has flipped with Bush's approval, I think it's a crystal clear indication that Libby's surefire pardon is no longer so surefire. I could be wrong there, and I'm sure Libby's got a much better sense than I what this means, but if I were him, I'd be thinking a lot more about my own protection. Does that mean Libby'll flip? Probably not, you're right about fanatical loyalty to Libby. But does that mean Fitzgerald wouldn't try to push him to do so? Hope.

When is Charlie Rose, and can I stream it?


Until Fitz has issued more indictments, he will treat this as the only case he's got. And he will continue to try to convince Libby to settle. One good way to do that is to continue convincing him that going to trial won't accomplish the one thing Libby's lies were designed to accomplish, saving Cheney's ass. If Fitz has more on Cheney, it no longer serves Libby or the cabal to draw this out.

I think you have to look at the timing of when Fitz said he might call Cheney as a witness. Was it before or after the Leopold reported meeting (May 12th) between Rove's attorney and Fitz.

Some don't give much credence to Leopold's report, but based on his and his editors conviction, I believe there may be some truth in there.

I suspect in some future filing we might see some enlightenment on this. I agree though, it seems a correction to the court is in order if the Rove-flipping-against-Cheney holds true.

On second thought, as I just read at FDL, what if Rove is flipping against Libby, to put added pressure on him to flip against Cheney?


Complete disagreement - what I live for! This one goes a little to your point at the Plame panel, which really got me thinking, about bloggers' perhaps distinctive ability to focus on character. (Two of my thoughts were: we're not all Dickens, now are we? Plus he made his characters up, after all!) Character is tough to get at from afar, especially in a highly charged political context; I'm thrilled when I can predict a single, very localized action by a very close friend I've known for years which has no geopolitical consequences whatsoever. But I do have to agree with you that some of the revelations do seem to have gotten to Cheney, although I remember thinking a different reporter's reporting had to do with the Cheney shooting. I completely disagree that Cheney has been slowed down much in his project for the imperial presidency on steroids. But you're probably right that the case has been tough on him in some way. So I have to give up complete disagreement on that one.

As for Charlie Rose, I confirmed it with the pbs website, Armitage is on today. I can't find any way to stream it, but you can check there for your local station. For me, it's not on until quite late, which is a bummer. But I strongly suspect Armitage will be laying his role out, and that probably means that he too has been cleared by Fitzgerald. Unless it's a preemptive explanation for a deal on his part? In any case, I have to imagine it means his role and status in the case is now fixed.


It's worth noting that Fitzgerald has apparently not specified to the court that Cheney will or might be a witness. That report is just getting it from Fitzgerald's recent rebuffing of the defense's claim that Fitzgerald positively indicated that Cheney would not be a witness. Fitzgerald is not saying either way at this point. So there's not much to read off of what he said in court yesterday, from the reports anyway.

First thing I thought about when I read that, ew, was that scene by the pool and the 2 1/2 hands that went up. I honestly don't see what the big fuss is about. Whatever Fitzgerald wanted he got without the expense (and circus) of a trial. As you noted we don't know what he wanted and Johnston's extrapolation is either sloppy or poorly attributed (we discussed that tendency too this weekend, and I think we were guessing towards the former). Anyway you're right, the last guest was not there at the time, and he -- and everyone else there -- indicated they thought Cheney was the big fish in this. I personally have no doubt that we'll be hearing more on the Big Time front real soon.

I've always felt it was more likely that Cheney was the big fish, and that Wilson had jumped the gun (but spoke what was in all our hearts) when he talked about frog-marching.

I'm sure Rove made a deal, and that's why Luskin won't release the letter.

Leopold may have been half right. Fitz told Rove (armed with a draft indictment) what charges he would be prepared to bring, but finally Rove agreed to the last bits of cooperation Fitz wanted.

The clincher was probably a conspiracy charge. That's why Luskin was jumping through hoops for these many months.

If Fitz was prepared to give Luskin this letter, then he probably has his case(s) sewed up and we will hear about any remaining indictments in short order, IMO.

Ah thanks for the clarification, Jane. That was my vague memory. But I only remember where the hands that went up came from, not who was sitting in those seats yet.

I've got a great memory when I've read or written something. But just heard or seen it? Nuh uh.

A few vagrant thoughts here. Seems to me that Rove has always been a much more slipepry target than Libby -- at least in terms of perjury, where you have to have a bald, straight-up conflict between what was testified to and what was the truth, meaning, no wiggle room.
Now, at least one report of Rove's testimony on how he heard about Plame was something along the lines of, "I think it was from a reporter, but I'm not entirely sure." Now that's of course a very unhelpful answer (if that's indeed what he gave) and quite possibly a fib, but it's not the kind of answer you can build a perjury conviction on -- too much wiggle room. It's also a perfectly responsive to the question and thus not a basis for any other kind of sanction. If Karl stuck to his guns, there's just not a lot a prosecutor could do to shake that. and, hey, if it turns out that the information did nto in fact come from a reporter in the first instance, but rather from Libby or elsewhere, then there's no contradiction and thus no perjury.
Now, contrast Libby's approach, which has the virtue -- if that's what it is -- of being absolute (albeit convoluted) and without wiggle room: Libby testifies that at the time he talked to Russert and Russert told him that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA, he (Libby) had forgotten that he had earlier learned that information from elsewehere (OK, mroe than half a dozen elsewheres) and in his mind he heard this as if for the first time. And he also testified in an unconvicncing over-explanatory way about how much care he took in responding to the statememt. And it appears that Libby locked himself into this account earlier on and never wavered from it.

This is of course just a comparison of one piece of testimony (and in Rove's case we can't be certain that it's really his testimony or if so which iteration of his testimony the report was based on) but it is suggestive of a different overall approach. Rove builds in wiggle room, changes his account to deal with incoming flak from the investigation, gives up just enough to live another day -- and, possibly, as ew suggests, eventually co-operates for real (I'm more than a littel skeptical for reasons similar to those Jeff has offered, but never mind that for now).

This all leads to the question of why the two approached the matter quite differently, notwithstanding similariites in the substance of the cover story (heard it from reporters, offhand gossip, all that crap). Was Libby just dim, not realizing that he was baiting and setting his own perjury trap -- while the non-lawyer but wily Karl built himself little testimonial trapdoors that he utilized as necessary? Doubtful but possible. It perhaps suggests the Libby-as-loyal-Cheney-firewall/fall-guy theory, with Libby taking on the Wilmer (Elisha Cook, Jr.) role from the Maltese Falcon: he's the little guy who, Sam Spade (Bogart) suggests, should saddled with all the murders; amusingly for extended metaphor purposes, Wilmer is the adjutant/cabana-boy for The Fat Man (Greenstreet). I'm not sure that's it either, but it sure is interesting. And it's perhaps a major part of the reason why Rove has skated by any perjury rap.

Here's another thought I've been having--one that's really wild speculation, but worth sharing, IMO.

Rove is off the hook, Armitage is making his first TV appearance in eons.

There's one thing that could hasten that along. Proof that Scooter met with Novak and gave him this leak.

I know I'm lonely in believing the Libby met with Rove, and I've never known when I thought that meeting took place. July 2? July 7? July 8, after the hot brunch with Judy? Dunno.

But there are three pieces of evidence to suggest they met. And if they did meet, and Libby spread the leak, it would clarify what Armitage said, what Rove said. And it would make it a lot easier for Rove to talk freely.

Don't know how far I'd pursue this, but anyway...

I agree with Jeff, and disagree with emptywheel.

Cheney is in the clear. Fitz may think Cheney (and Rove) are guilty, but if he thinks he can't prevail upon a reasonable doubt in trial, he's correctly not bringing charges.

And if Rove has cooperated, well, that's the same thing as being in the clear. If we find out in 2009 or 2010 that Rove plea bargained or cooperated in some way to avoid an indictment, so what? That would have the same real-world effect--politically speaking, that is--of a tree falling in the forest with no one around to hear it. No matter how craftily Luskin worded his statement, it's clear that Rove has won.

Unless Rove (or Cheney) suddenly finds the need to spend more time with his family, it's pointless to try to find a silver-lining in this.

The only exception I can see to this, is that Rove may have sunk Armitage in some currently inexplicable way. I, like Jeff, would cheer on that prosecution, but the media, with the help of the Republican spin-meisters, would happily spin the life-long conservative hawk Armitage as somehow being a darling of the Democrats. So aside from my personal satisfaction, an indictment of Armitage wouldn't be of particular political damage to the Bush administration.

I find it amusing that the same day that Leopold peeks his head out from the hole he's been hiding in for the last several weeks, Fitz was calling Luskin to discredit, once and for all, Leopold's "scoop" of Rove's indictment.


Interesting thoughts. I've been thinking that Libby lied about Kessler (I think he suggested he told him about Plame) to hide the identity of the person who leaked to Pincus.

If you look at Libby's lies, they're really really bad. But they tend to shield the identities of everyone else in the leak. And the conversation with Judy on July 8. The other identities might bring Rove and Pincus' source down (who I still suspect could be Dick). And the Judy conversation points right to Dick.

I am curious what anyone can make of these conflicting statements regarding Fitz's notification to Luskin. Sloppy? Or an attempt to avoid showing proof of Fit's full statement?

The first report in the NYT.

"The decision by the prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, announced in a letter to Mr. Rove's lawyer, Robert D. Luskin, lifted a pall that had hung over Mr. Rove who testified on five occasions to a federal grand jury about his involvement in the disclosure of an intelligence officer's identity."

Here's ABC
"The prosecutor called Luskin late Monday afternoon to tell him he would not be seeking charges against Rove. Rove had just gotten on a plane, so his lawyer and spokesman did not reach him until he had landed in Manchester, N.H., where he was to give a speech to state GOP officials."

Was it a letter or a call? Why would Luskin change his story?

Jim E

First, I'm not doing this to feel good. It was during the whole breathless Karl indictment phase a few weeks ago that I wrote the "Fitz collects Dick's smoking guns." I have believed for weeks that Cheney is the target here. Will Fitz get him? Dunno, there's a lot of legal issues involved.

But you've overlooked one aspect of this post. That Joe Wilson's lawyer responded to the announcement suggesting Karl may still see the inside of a court room. The Wilsons' success in suing Karl depends on a lot of factors. But it would sure help if Karl has cooperated, and committed to his own actions in some kind of legal statement.

We shall see.

TalkLeft has a new post, Luskin says Rove made no deals:


Neither a letter nor a call, it was a fax! says Mike Allen of Time, who also gets some choice quotes from Luskin departing from Team Rove's commitment to others to stick to the official statement and nothing more, which should cause other journalists to sharpen their questions to Luskin about seeing that fax (even though I suspect it's extremely minimal and contains nothing like, "per Karl's cooperation agreement" or whatever), along the lines that both tpmmuckraker and Greg Sargent have been suggesting.

Anyway, I think as we turn our attention to Cheney, it's worth keeping in mind that there are two tracks: what actually happened in the real world, and Fitzgerald's investigation and possible prosecutions in the legal world. I think we are well advised to keep our attention focused on the real world of what happened. Otherwise, you see what happens: it's very true that it is pitiful that the Bush administration's understanding of bringing honor and dignity to the White House amounts to "Not indicted!" But when that point is emphasized at a moment like this, when the question has been whether there'd be an indictment and the answer is no, it's bound to look like partisan sour grapes.

Look at what we've already learned about Cheney's conduct, and Rove's. It's just astonishing, regardless of who gets indicted or not. But if your only question is, are they going to be indicted? then you lose a sense of that astonishment, I think.

I can't wait to see Armitage tonight.

The 250 miraculaously resurrected emails and Rove's possible decision to roll with Fitz in regards to them suggests that we could see a major conspiracy indictment stemming from what looks like a coordinated coverup. Is it too much to hope that other players like Abu Gonzales might be swept up in that?


A great point, all around. Similar thoughts were part of what went into my "hold them accountable" comments over the weekend.


I've been wondering about that. If Karl is cooperating, how would he protect fellow Texas mafia member Abu Gonzales (who is well-liked, even if he is another anvil around the Administration's neck). And if Bush approved the Plame leak, as distinct from the NIE leak, then how do you insulate him?


Whether or not Rove was indicted *is* the real world. Had he been indicted, it would have been a bombshell that would have surpassed the Libby coverage. The fact that he hasn't been indicted is the story of the day. While you may have rightly decried the expectations game (thanks Jason Leopold! thanks David Schuster!), the expections were out there, and it's clear that Rove's avoidance of an indictment is a pretty substantial development in the case. Big events, such as indictments, tend to create nation-wide outrage, not fascinating nuggets found within legal documents. In the "real world," Rove -- and by extension, the entire Bush administration -- just dodged a huge bullet.

I'll continue to follow the Libby case with interest, but my astonishment-outrage-anger meter was broken by this administration years ago.

Lastly, I'd be surprised if Armitage is asked anything about the Plame case tonight. He's probably going to talk exclusively about current foreign policy.

I haven't heard it, but Leopold's apparently on a radio show saying the Rove's been indicted. He's standing by his story. This is sad.

Even Talkleft has already abandoned ship.



Here is a smaller theory that supports your larger theory.

Luskin has told Jeralyn at TalkLeft that Rove never had a deal. At first blush, this would suggest that Rove is not cooperating. However, in the comments, Jeralyn clarified what she meant. She interpreted Luskin's comments as meaning that there was no "safety net" provided to Rove for his cooperation, in other words an official promise from Fitzgerald that he would not indict Rove or provide Rove a 5k letter (a letter to the sentencing court saying that he was a lovely snitch).

Rather, Rove went into the GJ and otherwise gave Fitzgerald information on the small hope that, if he gave Fitzgerald enough information, Fitzgerald would decide not to indict him in order to preserve Rove's credibility as a witness. In other words, Rove can now testify without having to say that he got a deal or that he was indicted. His "credibility" is still in tact (obviously, rove has no credibility in the "real world" to steal a term floating around here, but at least for fitzgerald's purposes he has not been indicted and has not been tainted with an agreement).

If true, this was one hell of a risky strategy for Luskin to take. We may all despise Luskin, but that guy seems to know what's going on.

However (and here's the theory), Luskin may have been willing to take this huge risk because he had a well-founded belief that Fitzgerald was going after bigger fish and that Rove was a relatively small actor here. Luskin knew that Fitzgerald needed Rove to establish a conspiracy: either for the leak or for the obstruction. Obviously, if Rove was part of these conspiracies, it is difficult to call him a small fish. Nevertheless, Luskin figured that if he offered Rove's knowledge on these things, Fitzgerald may want to keep him "clean" to testify against the bigger fish. I don't know for sure, but i would guess that Fitzgerald has used this tactic before in other cases.

Just a really wild, speculative theory, but it does support EW's overarching theory that Fitzgerald is going after bigger fish here. Sorry for the long comment.


Never apologize for long comments here--that's what we specialize in!

And thanks for it. I'm increasingly convinced there's more going on here, and I didn't trust Luskin's comment to Jeralyn (still don't--he is a complete liar in any situation that doesn't involve some legal consequences, and even there--"Cooper is not protecting Rove" he has been known to tell stretchers). I think it still possible that Luskin is parsing. But I also know that those in the informed right, are choosing their words very carefully.

Though, to be quite honest, it IS possible Rove is a mostly small fish in this. Particularly if my growing speculation that Libby talked with Novak is correct, it would mean that Rove might really be just the corroborating source. I'm still curious how Rove's evidence disappeared, but not Libby's. That's the biggest crime Rove MAY have committed. But what if he didn't?

i don't know if it is relevant to trhis discussion, but

prosecutors do not indict.

grand juries indict.

if it proves true that rove is not to be charged,

might it be the case that the evidence presented to "new" grand jury was not persuasive, or

that rove was slickly persuasive, or

that the jury's background on the case was too limited (jan to may) to induce them to act?

IANAL, but as an extension of jk's comment above, how might this turn of events weave with a Fitzgerald attempt to have justice ultimately not be thwarted by a pardon? If Karl made a deal or if he didn't (as jk posits) and Libby gets pardoned, say, before this goes to trial or before his cooperation is used, is Karl by default off the hook from unfinished business? Maybe I need to put down the 'pardon prism', but I can't help but keep this in the forefront of factors affecting a determined long-term plan for justice to be served. I tend to agree with those who feel that if a pardon is going to occur, Bush needs to do it all at once for everyone named. Rolling pardons aren't a realistic option.

If Rove et. al. remain vulnerable to charges independent of the Libby charges but are kept out of the potential circle of pardons, would this not also represent a useful deterrent for Bush to use his 'one time CIA leak pardon' in this matter on one person - Libby? We do want the trial to happen, and we do want witnesses to testify.

Jim E - I completely agree that today's news is real-world news of some significance. My point is that that is in part an artifact of a dynamic where much more attention (and hope) was placed on the legal case than on what happened in the real world back in 2003. That's all.

And I'm willing to bet that Armitage uses his appearance on The Thinking Person's Larry King Live tonight to come relatively clean on his role in the Plame business, including acknowledging that he was Woodward's source and Novak's - unless he takes a pass saying he can't talk about it. But I bet he'll be asked, and I also think he'll answer, though with less confidence.

Alan foley, Plame's old boss will be running the CIA analysts moving over to NSA(DIA) after the complaints from OOs working domestically from PA and the NSA, so when you toss in Al Zaquari you get foreign appropriation deals. Congress got even with Bush, his pals, and Bush's MCA(see A.I.D./C.I.A.)

House Passes $21.3 Billion Fiscal 2007 Foreign Aid Spending Bill
Representatives reject proposal to cut assistance to Egypt

By Kathryn McConnell
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington -- The U.S. House of Representatives has approved $21.3 billion in foreign assistance spending for the fiscal year beginning October 1 (fiscal year 2007) after defeating a proposal to reduce by $100 million aid for Egypt.

The bill passed June 9 by a 373-34 vote would provide 10 percent less than the Bush administration had requested but approximately 3 percent ($597 million) more than approved for fiscal year 2006.

The bill would fund fully Bush's request of $3.4 billion for the international fight against HIV/AIDS, $2.5 billion in aid to Israel, $1.8 billion for Egypt and $450 million for Sudan.

For the bill to become law, the Senate now must complete its version and the differences between the two worked out by a joint House-Senate committee. A final compromise bill then must be approved again by each chamber and sent to the president for signature or veto.

The contested amendment, defeated 225-198, offered by Wisconsin Representative David Obey, would have shifted $100 million away from Egypt to help fight HIV/AIDS and assist refugees in the Darfur area of Sudan. Obey is the leading Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee.

The amendment was intended to signal unease about Egypt's human-rights record. Opponents said a reduction in aid would punish unfairly an important ally in the Middle East. (See related article.)

The measure would provide $2 billion -- or one-third less than requested -- for the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), which rewards countries for economic progress and political and social development efforts. (See Millennium Challenge Account.)

It also would provide $522 million for Iraq reconstruction, $227 million less than the administration requested, and scale back funding for Afghanistan from the requested $1.1 billion to $962 million. (See Iraq Update and Rebuilding Afghanistan.)

Jordan would receive $217 million for its security needs and $251 million in economic assistance. That total is $11 million more than requested and $9 million above the current level.

The measure does not provide the president's requested $150 million for development in the West Bank and Gaza but would allocate $80 million in humanitarian assistance to the area, provided the funds would not be used to support Hamas. (See related article.)

All U.S. assistance for Palestinians in those regions would go to nongovernmental organizations or contactors selected and monitored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

The bill also would provide $507 million for the next stage of the Andean Counterdrug Initiative, established in 2000 by Congress to fight illegal narcotics in Latin America, primarily in Colombia. Total anti-narcotics funding for the region would be $704 million. (See related article.)

An amendment offered by Democrat Jim McGovern would have shifted $30 million from the Andean initiative to refugees assistance programs. McGovern said the program is not working and supports a Colombian military accused of human-rights abuses. Opponents of the amendment said the anti-drug program is making progress; the amendment was rejected 224-174.

The spending measure would appropriate $371 million for former republics of the Soviet Union and $228 million for Eastern Europe and the Baltic states. It provides no military aid to Uzbekistan, accused of widespread human-rights violations; the Uzbek government has demanded the United State remove its military air base that had been supporting U.S. operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Overall the bill would appropriate $1.3 billion for multilateral development assistance; $1.3 billion for international financial institutions, such as the World Bank; $750 million for migration and refuges assistance; and $522 million for a new Trade Capacity Enhancement Fund to help nations qualify for and implement free-trade agreements.

The bill also would provide $70 million in economic assistance, $10 million less than requested, and $5 million in military assistance and training funds for Indonesia.

It would fund the Peace Corps at $325 million.

An amendment to bar any aid to Saudi Arabia was approved 312-97. An earlier version of bill contained some funds for military training and education.

Created: 09 Jun 2006 Updated: 09 Jun 2006

Having been involved in some previous dealings with the US Attorney's office, it is my belief thjat Fitz granted "use" immunity to the Rover prior to his fifth, no pun intended, appearance bfore the grand jury.. Rover had no choice but to testify truthfully or Fitz as Fitz had him by the shorthairs. Also, by granting Rover use immunity, if he so much as strays one iota from his testimony in the future,i.e. testifying against Scooter or Cheney, then the USAtty can use all of his previous statements and testimony against him.

It has been my experience that potetial defendant's or cooperating witnesses attorneys do not like their clients being granted use immunity. It can really jam their clients up if they screw up in the future.

Just a thought from an old salty dog.

P.S. My first ever post. I've lost my virginity.

Appropo of nothing... (WSJ editorial on Hayden)


Heh. Now you would think, given the chain of command and everything, he would have just given Kyl what he wanted.

EXCLUSIVE: No Deal for Karl Rove
Sometimes people just don't know when to cry "uncle." I do. I asked Robert Luskin this morning if Karl Rove has made a deal with Fitzgerald. His response:

There has never, ever been any discussion of a deal in any way, shape or form.

Which is exactly what Luskin told me weeks ago. It's over, folks. Karl Rove will not be charged with a crime. He's cooperated with Fitzgerald by testifying to the grand jury five times and providing whatever information he had without a safety net. Without a 5k. Without assurances he would not be indicted. That's a hell of a risk, but Luskin pulled it off. My hat's off to Luskin.

the above at TalkLeft

please adjust talking points asap!

EW @ 12:08

But I also think Fitzgerald might trade more in an effort to get more--Cheney without a bunch of interim trials, Cheney before 2006 (which, frankly, is in the interest of WH too).

Before 2006? Or 2008?

Also, don't we have a Supreme Court ruling to the effect that sitting Presidents and Vice Presidents cannot be indicted in the federal system while they remain in office, but that they can be civilly sued?

{I can't remember yesterday any more, so I may just be hallucinating.}

Elliot Ness

And a damned fine first post it is. In fact, can you say more? It sounds kind of intriguing. And would explain both why Rove testified for so long and why Luskin was so tortured when he talked about this.

Difficult Lawyer

I meant a Cheney indictment--though not a trial--before 2006. And yes, I think case law is unclear whether Cheney can be indicted. But if Fitz gets Cheney for IIPA (I'm less certain Fitz will go after him for perjury, plus I don't think that's what has happened), then it'll be tough to turn down.

And why not?

After all, it’s not like Mistah Nixon did so badly when Mr. Agnew was sent packing so that Gerald Ford could replace him.

So, if this is, indeed, the case, who might be the favoured anti-nabob of negativism to replace Mr. Cheney?


RossK - don't know, but dear old dad is probably scouting prospects.

Uh-oh, I'm getting that same sinking feeling I got when we realized Iran-Contra was going nowhere and then the pardons came.

I agree that TalkLeft is reporting that Luskin, in response to the question whether Rove had a deal, did not simply answer, "No," which would have been easy enough to do. Instead, he denied that a deal had ever been "discussed."

So maybe a deal, formal or informal, is still possible.

This is what I am unsure of, though.

It seems clear to me (and apparently Fitzgerald) that Libby and Rove were part of a concerted effort to blow Plame's cover. It also seems clear that she was a NOC. And there are strong indications, even in the public, that the participants in the concerted effort knew this. It also seems clear that several participants took positive action to put into play the plan to disclose Plame's identity.

Now, let's say Rove rolls over onto someone - Libby, Cheney, Hadley, whoever. Isn't there plenty that they know about Rove's participation, maybe even planning, the concerted effort, and maybe about the accuracy of his testimony to the grand jury and statements made to investigators regarding the concerted effort, that they could dump back onto Rove? "You may send me to prison, but you'll be my next door neighbor." My gut feeling is, Rove's dirtier, in all number of respects, than we can even imagine. What puts him into a position where he is able to sing about others?

Is it a deal with Fitzgerald, sub silentio?

Is it the certainty of a coming pardon?

Surely it's not a clear conscience that he is innocent of all crimes.


I wish Tom Maguire had hung around--but one point he has made in the past is that Armitage may be free of risk because he didn't know Plame was a NOC. If Armitage gets that consideration, then so does Rove. Which leaves only the obstruction and perjury charges. Now, if Rove really were the primary leaker, then he probably couldn't get off that easily. But what if it were Libby? What if they've been hiding a Libby meeting, while trying to blame this on Armitage?

Rove is absolutely a schmuck. But he was a tangential schmuck in this. And Fitzgerald may have let him off to get the architect schmuck.

But hey. If Rove testifies, he can still be sued, easily.

Interestingly, Bush appears to be under, or at least is giving, the impression that the investigation is over, according to Bloomberg:

Bush said today he didn't want to comment directly on the case because of Libby's pending trial.

`It's a chapter that has ended,'' Bush told reporters aboard Air Force One as he returned to Washington from a surprise visit to Iraq. Fitzgerald ``conducted his investigation in a dignified way.''

Of course, if Bloomberg lopped off a "has" before that "conducted", then maybe the chapter Bush is referring to is just the Rove chapter.


I agree that rolling pardons are not preferable (although, what has Bush got to lose - his approval rating dropping to 25%?).

And I agree that if you are going to pardon Libby (or anyone else), you do it before the trial, to keep the disclosures there off of the front pages for weeks.

But is this scenario possible?

You pardon Libby between Christmas and New Year's, 2006, in a "down" news cycle, perhaps overshadowed by strikes/war against Iran.

Then, any other indictments are delayed until Christmas, 2008, when everyone and all members of their familes are pardoned.

jk @ 15:55

About maintaining Rove's credibility by agreeing informally, as opposed to formally, to a deal.

Isn't the gist of impeaching a cooperating witness with a plea agreement the argument that, "This guy is an admitted criminal saying anything and everything just to save his hide?" And can't that argument about the bias of the cooperating witness still be made (albeit perhaps not as strongly, having to omit the part about an admitted criminal) in the case of an informal agreement, by demonstrating all of the criminal activity of the cooperating witness for which he is not being prosecuted, and pitching some rhetoric about selective, vindictive prosecution by a prosecutor who is dealing under the table into the mix?

emptywheel - Swopa is saying over at fdl that he found some Michigan pbs that is showing the Armitage interview at 9:30 ET.

I wish Tom Maguire had hung around...

Careful, I can be as hard to get rid of as

FWIW, I would interpet the comment from Wilson's lawyer as "Keep Hope Alive", with a permanent threat of a civil suit. I don't think he means that Rove is in danger from Fitzgerald (nor do I take a civil suit seriously - is the CIA suddenly going to open up her whole personnel file? Or how will a suit proceed without it? - but who knows.)

I read somewhere it is a WH ploy to finally rid itself of the VP. Hopefully, since he is not going to be indicted, Rove is giving evidence to burn Cheney.


f Armitage gets that consideration, then so does Rove.

That I don't understand, unless Rove got his information about Plame from Armitage, directly or indirectly.

But I was grossly unclear about my larger point, for which I apologize.

Forget the Texas years, I think in the past six years, Rove is filthy. I don't think Plame is the first time this guy has skated up to - or over - the line of the criminal law. And knowing these reprobates, I suspect that there was a good bit of in-house bragging about it when he did, in order to establish his "genius" status. Things that people in the upper echelons of the administration got wind of.

Take the election of 2004, as just one example. Was there any fraud in that election? Did Rove play any role in it? Did he take any credit for it among the "players" in the administration?

Now multiply that by dozens of instances of such activity.

Putting myself into Rove's shoes, I would have to ask myself, "If I talk about X, where is X going to lead law enforcement authorities to regarding what I've done the last six years?" And if I couldn't convince myself that cooperating would get me out of more trouble than it would get me into, then I would have to drop by George's office and tell him, "George, we've been together a long time. Remember when we did A? And B? And C and D and E and F? And on and on. All of it in service to your political ambitions. Now, I'm in kind of a jam, and that pen on your desk will solve all problems for your old pal and loyal servant. And now is the time to put to rest all of the unpleasantness."

On other hand, I could be all wet about ol' Karl - maybe he's been just as clean as a hound's tooth for all these many years.

After thinking about this for a few hours it occurred to me that Murray Waas seems to be on the trail of the 'cover up'. His latest on the Ashcroft briefings and the belief by investigatros that Rove and Novak had coordinated their stories is a good indication that there's more to come.

Maybe I've said this here before, so if I have, please ignore me, but during the September 29, and 30, 2003 WH press briefings McClellan used specific talking points "If you have any information, please come forward" and he said it about a dozen times to each reporter that asked. Bush repeated the same points a few days later. I remember hearing the 29th briefing live, and KNOWING that the WH had decided to DARE the press to reveal their sources, knowing that they wouldn't, and knowing that by daring them to do so they were communicating that THEY knew which reporters were involved. That implies planning, and it is unlikely that the OVP gave out those talking points to McClellan or to Bush. Most likely they were communicated in writing.

Oh yeah, littlesky, Murray's on the trail of the cover-up.

Problem is, he's investigating something a couple year's old. Has Fitz already traded away the conspiracy to obstruct justice charges that Murray's investigation would yield? Or was Dick in charge of that investigation too? I'm not so bummed that ROve beat the perjury charge (but damn, what an obvious lie). But it does irk me that he seems to have escaped justice for more substantive obstruction/cover-up.



Re: Use Immunity


Paragraph 5 is of interest:

However, there are two kinds of immunity. The good kind is called “transactional immunity” and it means that you can’t be prosecuted for the incident(s) you testify about. The bad kind is “use immunity” and it means that the prosecutor can’t use your own testimony against you—but he can use other people’s testimony and evidence against you. So if the prosecutor makes a bunch of people testify, they’ll likely end up providing enough evidence to convict each other. Naturally, grand jury witnesses are almost always given use immunity, not transactional immunity.

I've been wondering about this report from Clemons. Charlie Rose is on at midnight in my neck of the woods.

Another person with deep knowledge about this investigation called to say that Fitzgerald seems to have abandoned any interest in securing indictments regarding the "outing" of Plame and has invested his efforts in challenging the "white collar cover-ups" involved. According to this source, the information provided by Richard Armitage is -- more than any other information -- what has put Karl Rove at major risk of indictment.
TWN 5/19/06

What would Armitage have on Rove? There was never any reporting along that line. Obviously it wasn't enough.

Citizenspook - not bought into the theory, but you get an "A" for ingenuity.

Easy, polly. If Armitage and Rove were the only two people to speak to Novak, and if Armitage could verify what he said, then by process of elimination, Rove would have been the source for the remainder.

Of course, if Libby had some kind of conversation with Rove, then it might mean Rove isn't the one who told Novak to say Plame was a spy--Libby would be the one.

Preview is for sissys. I'll try again:

I wish Tom Maguire had hung around...

Careful, I can be as hard to get rid of as Mr. Mxyzptlk.

Anyway, who thinks Armitage is appearing on Charlie Rose to announce that he is under indictment?

And who thinks his appearance is simply an extraordinary coincidence?

I have to endorse the suggestion above, that he is planning a modest mea culpa and an announcement that he is in the clear.

Second choice - the subject never comes up. Extraordinary coincidence it is.

And FWIW, I would interpet the comment from Wilson's lawyer that Rove may yet see the inside of a courtroom as "Keep Hope Alive", with a permanent threat of a civil suit. I don't think he means that Rove is in danger from Fitzgerald. Nor do I take a civil suit seriously - is the CIA suddenly going to open up her whole personnel file? Or how will a suit proceed without it? - but who knows. Maybe President Feingold will decide that he was elected to settle scores, and appoint a CIA director who makes it his life works to bring Rove to justice by opening all the necessary files. Maybe.

Polly - IIRC, the report that it was Armitage's testimony that imperiled Rove came in the same report that told us Armitage had been a straight shooter thoughout, other than forgetting to mention the leak to Woodward.

The EW theory is interesting, but it would mean that Armitage, kown to have been a bit self-serving with the Woodward stuff, contradicted both Novak and Rove on their story.

OK, *maybe* Novak backtracked when faced with Armitage's version and threw Rove under the bus. So why no perjury charge there, if Novak contradicted Rove - isn't that as strong a he-said he-said as Russert/Libby?

But if Novak didn't waver, Armitage with a different version won't be real impressive, since his credibility isn't what it ought to be.

In line with Tom's endorsement of my suggestion, I will mention that Vandehei on Hardball said that everything he was hearing was that the investigation was wrapped up except for the Libby case. Now, we know where Vandehei is well-sourced (the White House) and where he's not (the Fitzgerald investigation, among other places), so a grain of salt is obviously requisite. And even Fitzgerald might be perfectly happy to have people think things are wrapped up, pending new developments, and we are guaranteed those, what with Libby's trial and all. But nevertheless, I would not be surprised if we either get an announcement from Fitzgerald real soon, or things go real dark from him.

I will also say this. Novak did not waver, no way. I totally buy Waas' story on this, and the assessment in it from one of his sources of Novak and Rove's characters and relationship - no wavering. But there is no way in hell Fitzgerald would have cleared Rove if Armitage substantially contradicted Novak and Rove on their story - if, for instance, he told Fitzgerald that in fact he talked to Novak late in the day on July 9, and Novak already knew about Plame.

Well, it's 9:30 on the east coast. Let Armitage begin.

Just a small update. First, did David Johnston learn nothing from Fitzgerald's press conference? Here's a line from tomorrow's NYT story:

The decision to decline a prosecution in Mr. Rove's case effectively ends the active investigative phase of Mr. Fitzgerald's inquiry because Mr. Rove was the only person known to still be under active scrutiny.

That is some might fine logic. Rove was the only person known to be under active scrutiny. Maybe there were unknown others. But because of our perhaps imperfect knowledge, the active investigative phase is over.

That said, here's a slightly fuller account of what Bush said:

Speaking to reporters on Air Force One on his way back from Baghdad, Mr. Bush told reporters: "It's a chapter that has ended. Fitzgerald is a very thorough person. I think he's conducted his investigation in a dignified way. And he's ended his investigation."

Again, maybe delieberately misleading. But for the moment I'm inclined to think Fitzgerald may have indicated to the White House that his investigation was over.

Now, truly, if the White House press corps allows Bush et al to get away with not commenting on the case if the investigation really is closed, that will be truly lame and disappointing. That's exactly what Bush is going to try to do:

But Mr. Bush cautioned: "There's still a trial to be had. And those of us involved in the White House are going to be very mindful of not commenting on this issue."

Yeah, I bet you are. The only problem is, Bush made clear it was a matter of an open investigation that was the issue, not a pending case.

Finally, with some free time, I'm going to work up the argument - cleverly using Fitzgerald's own arguments in his response to Libby's motion to dismiss, if I can, which I think I can - that Fitzgerald can indeed issue a report. I know he claims otherwise, but I'm going to try to argue he's wrong on his own terms. Presumably the end result is that it's at his discretion, but that's to say he has the authority to do so. And the next argument is that he should.

I think jk is on to something. littlesky and I have spent about the last hour hashing things around through IM and we've come up with a theory that may explain the pieces we know so far.

Is it possible, as ew acknowledges above, that Rove actually was a bit player all along? It's clear the operation was run out of the OVP and it seems possible to me that, only when they began to realize they had failed at getting their reporters to publish the information, they went to Rove, knowing his connection to Novak and also knowing that Novak would print it (albeit with slightly less credibility/significance than it would garner in a straight news article.) Rove did it, because his instinct is to go for dirty politics. Then, remember, there was an article a few months back suggesting that when Rove learned Plame was a NOC, he was furious at Libby.

When the story first breaks, they have little reason to fear because they have 1) a compliant press, 2) Ashcroft to keep the lid on and 3) the confidence that reporters won't out other reporters.

Then, once Fitz gets involved, it gets messy really quickly and the cover-up begins. At that point, Rove probably has knowledge of the outlines of what's happening, at a minimum, but maybe not much more.

So Fitz is left looking at the "obvious" charges of perjury and lying when it comes to Rove and decides he can't make the case because he can't prove intent. So he tells Luskin that he has no current plans to indict Rove. The lying/perjury phase against Rove is over.

But Fitz is now focusing fully on the cover-up, which Rove might have advanced during his frequent appearance, and the wiggle room in Luskin's announcement reflects the wiggle room that Fitz maintained because he has not cleared Rove of any charges that will come from the cover-up.

It seems to us to cover most of the known facts but ew certainly can point out the holes if we've missed something.

Also, I think it was Jeff who challenged ew's suppositions abt the nature of Cheney's character. As a Wyomingite, I've watched this man for almost thirty years and I think ew is pretty on target. Cheney does not like to be questioned in any forum about his authority/knowledge/privileges. There's no doubt in my mind that he's been distracted and angrier (than usual) since Libby's indictment.

One issue I'd like to see explored, for anyone who buys littlesky's and my guessing above, is what the relationship was between Libby and Rove and how much Libby would have felt he needed to bring Rove into a cover-up of an operation being run primarily out of the OVP.

Last thing, ew, I woke up at 8AM and heard this news, came online just to check out your take on it, but since I don't get up until noon or so, it was way too early to try to post a comment. But as soon as I heard it, regardless of how tired I was, I knew I needed yours and FDL's take.


First of all, sorry for all the misspelled words. I got too exited.

I am of the belief that Rove is presently under a "proffer" with the Special Prosecutor. This would explain a very long meeting between Rover and reps from the AUSA, a meeting in which Rover would have to provide in detail, very fine detail, any and all information on any topic requested by the prosecutors. Instead of being shown an indictment, I believe Fitz provided to Rover and friends a copy of a proposed indictment, or criminal complaint which charges Rove with certain crimes. The alternative given to Rover was the grant of use immunity by Fitz, which Rover had no choice but to accept.

In addition, the grant of immunity keeps Rover on a very short leash, and given his proclivity to lie, cheat, and steal, probably gives Rover no wiggle room on any subject once his fat ass hits the witness chair.

One final thought. Should Joe Wilson file a civil suit, we will all be fighting for a seat at the table when Rover is deposed, and his testimony will be long and full of factual declarations. One little F-up, excuse my French, or little white lie to be exact, and this case will make the lies in the Paula Jone's case look like a family picnic at the local bar association.

There were in my view 4 new elements in the mix that affected Rove ducking indictment last October.

Viveca Novak
Fitzgerald's visit to Sharp's office the day of the indictment
Woodward's revelation
Pincus's veracity after Woodward's testimony

Bob Novak testified again this year as noted at the end of this NYT article and his testimony wouldn't relate to Viveca, Sharp, or Pincus. Which is why I think Novak's appearance this year before the GJ must relate to Woodward's source, probably Armitage.

This has always stuck in my mind

The logs indicate that several White House officials talked to columnist Robert D. Novak shortly before July 14,
WaPo 2/10/04

I agree with EW that Novak talked with Libby in the week after Wilson's op-ed, Waas' Townsend article leaves little doubt. It's certainly possible that he talked to Fleischer as well.

The other question I am wondering about is Fitzgerald's visit to Judge Hogan yesterday. He was before Hogan on the Cooper/Miller subpoenas. It was reported this way today "Hogan has been overseeing the grand juries in the CIA leak case." Is this true?

to be more precise, I should say:

Luskin's announcement reflects the wiggle room that Fitz maintained because he has not cleared Rove of any charges that will come from the cover-up.

any charges that may come from the coverup.

ew said:

I'm not so bummed that ROve beat the perjury charge (but damn, what an obvious lie). But it does irk me that he seems to have escaped justice for more substantive obstruction/cover-up.

I agree. Hopefully, Christie and others will explain the different kinds of statutes under which people can be charged for "obstruction/cover-up." If Fitz has concluded that he can't prove Rove lied, by extension he can't prove Rove obstructed justice with his lies -- which is how Libby's indictment for same is couched, isn't it? It makes sense that, once you are talking a conspiracy, other statutes come into play.

For what it's worth, from tomorrow's Vandehei, complete with Armitage quote from Charlie Rose:

With Rove's situation resolved, the broader leak investigation is probably over, according to a source briefed on the status of the case. Fitzgerald does not appear to be pursuing criminal charges against former State Department official Richard L. Armitage, who is believed to have discussed the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame with at least one reporter, according to the source.

"I'm not worried about my situation," Armitage said last night on the Charlie Rose television show.

A source briefed on the case said that the activities of Vice President Cheney and his aides were a key focus of the investigation, and that Cheney was not considered a target or primary subject of the investigation and is not likely to become one. There are no other outstanding issues to be investigated, the source said, though new ones could emerge as Fitzgerald continues to prosecute I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's former chief of staff, on charges of lying to investigators and a grand jury.

When you were on the Plame panel, did you get a chance to ask Joe Wilson and Larry Johnson about being Leopold's sources? Did you get to aks Johnson about his postings on his website that he and Joe knew what Jason knew?
That would be interesting, and relevant information right now.

Oh, I should mention that even from what we know, it is almost certainly bs to say that Cheney was not considered a target or primary subject of the investigation. I am going to violate my own suggestion and talk about Cheney in the context of the investigation. Not a target - fine, we've heard that bs before, Libby didn't become a target until maybe a few minutes before he was indicted. And a "primary subject"? What a primary subject? In other words, Cheney has been a subject of the investigation. No surprise in that. It was pretty obvious even from Fitzgerald's questions to Miller, as Miller reported them, that he was still asking questions that, depending on the answer, could lead to real trouble for Cheney. Of course, as it turned out in Miller's case, her answers did not lead to added trouble directly for Cheney. But there can be little doubt that Fitzgerald has been quite interested in Cheney.

And for obvious reasons - Cheney was at the heart of the response to Wilson, and almost certainly wass involved in the decision to blow Plame's cover to members of the press, specifically Judy Miller. Fitzgerald will do whatever he will do. Cheney screwed up in the summer of 2003. And for understandable reasons - his credibility was being challenged, and rightly so, in light of his and his office's role in the public justification for the Iraq war. Just to state the obvious.

Thanks for the link Jeff

Have you seen the Armitage interview yet?

In fact, a few days before he indicted Libby, Fitzgerald appeared ready to charge Rove, the lawyers said.

At that point, Luskin stepped forward and offered last-minute evidence that he seemed confident would clear Rove. Eight months later, that came to pass.
WaPo 6/14/06

The Viveca Novak story couldn't be what stopped Fitzgerald. Maybe the Sharp visit and instant declassification.

Thanks for the restatement Jeff, I was flirting with serious depression re:cheney!


Joe did get respectable reporters repeat single-source stories similar to what Leopold was hearing. I'll leave the Johnson and Leopold stories aside. And without too much detail I will say I'm more confident that our sockpuppets were indeed sockpuppets.

thanks, ew.
Can I just clarify? And I realize you don't have to answer.
You are saying that Wilson had respectable reporters tell him something similar to what Leopold says he heard. It came from one source, but he didn't say who that source was. Is that correct?
Wilson and Johnson are friends, no?

The respectable journalists could only single source the story, thus they didn't report it. But it was more than one journalist.

And yes, Larry and Joe are friends.

Yeah, ditto on MayBee's last comment. What do you mean "And without too much detail I will say I'm more confident that our sockpuppets were indeed sockpuppets."

I recall Leopold also saying that other reporters had this story, too, but only had one source so they couldn't go forward with a story.

Caveat, I'm not saying I believe Leopold's story, but apparently, according to what Wilson told you, Leopold was correct on that part.

Holy Crap did Armitage look nervous on the Plame questions, but essentially gave the "I won't comment until the investigation is over" answer. He wouldn't even say what "until the investigation is over" meant...the end of the what until now has been the ongoing investigation or the Libby trial.

I thought Vandehei might have had a source

Miami, Fla.: The blogs are abuzz with reports of Karl Rove's impending (some say actual)indictment. What's the story?

Tom Edsall: I think we will know very soon, perhaps as soon as early afternoon. No guarantee, however.


Tom: Is it true that Patrick Fitzgerald met with Karl Rove and his people at Rove's firm of Patton, Boggs over the weekend to try and reach a "deal"? I heard it from reliable sources and also heard that no deal was reached and that Fitzgerald could be indicting Rove as early as today. What have you heard?


Tom Edsall: Jim VandeHei, who has been ahead of his competitors on this story, has been trying to track down every rumor, including the one you cite. We have not been able to confirm the kind of detail you describe.
WaPo 5/15/06

Thanks, ew. I know I'm a pest.
Larry Johnson defended Leopold quite strongly on the blogs. Does he still?
Did the respectable reporters tell Wilson/Johnson the source?

Armitage was fearsomely smart and impressive - far more impressive than I've ever seen Powell. The Plame stuff came up at the end and was brief, and was marked by Charlie Rose's utter inability to ask a straightforward question; he was seized by a sense of delicacy. Anyway, I agree with SharonW: Armitage seemed very uncomfortable and unprepared, which he could not possibly have been. I took it to be a non-denial non-denial. And he indicated he's not going to talk about his role before Fitzgerald announced the close of the investigation, or we get something like that. As the Post reported he did say he thinks he'll be fine, and he noted that he does not have, and has not had, a lawyer. Rose several times brought up that Armitage had gone forward early on to the investigation, and Armitage at one point also observed that Bush had told people who had relevant information to go forward to the investiagation, and the State Department paid close attention to what Bush said - which jibes with the idea that Armitage confessed early on about Novak, but doesn't explain the Woodward omission. Armitage also firmly asserted in response to a question that he did not believe that the action was done to damage Joe Wilson. And he noted more or less in passing, or in response to something Rose said, how high the standard is for - though not named as such - IIPA violations.

That's about all I got. Overall, there can be no doubt Armitage is involved, though no mention of Novak specifically was made. And he sure makes it sound like he's not worried about any legal jeopardy, though why he can't talk about it now is unclear.

jerry - Just to be clear, there's nothing to be depressed about regarding Cheney, but not because I have confidence that he's in Fitzgerald's sights. I don't, at this time (as Fitzgerald likes to say). But we already know enough to know he did some serious malfeasance. And like ew said, we've got to hold these guys accountable.

Luskin gets his extended say here at the NY Observer. It's not pretty, but what are you gonna do.

EW, you said,

"And without too much detail I will say I'm more confident that our sockpuppets were indeed sockpuppets."

So I guess we're supposed to just trust your assessment?

EW, I have been in utter amazement of your coverage on this investigation. You are quite brilliant and I know I am not alone in my humbling amazement and appreciation. But I have to say, this comment falls way short. I'm am sure you have good reason to not be so forthcoming, so I apologize for not being as understanding as I maybe should be. But considering the interest and speculation in this case, I think you have a responsiblity to shed a little more light on this than that.

p.s. Please don't cut my reading privileges. I just had to say what I know many were thinking.

I think this investigation is over. I don't think Cheney is under investigation. And I think what happened with Rove is simple.

I never bought the argument that Fitzgerald was aggressively going after this administration. After all, he is part of the administration, a Bush appointee whose boss is Alberto Gonzales. Plus he saw what happened to his good buddy Comey when he got cross-wise with these guys. Dems were foolish to believe Fitzgerald could do a independent and aggressive investigation into his own chain of command.

When you step back and look at what Fitzgerald did:

1. Drop any investigation into the original charges.
2. Sit on a mountain of evidence that showed the WH and the OVP were deeply involved in outing Plame.
3. Only indict one person and that only after he was stupid enough to lie repeatedly to the gj and FBI.
4. Allow the timing to work out to the benefit of the Bush administration. Libby's indictment after the election. Rove cleared before the midterms.
5. State that you will not issue a report, so the full extent of the investigation will always remain hidden.
6. And Jonathan Turley said Fitzgerald has been 'extraordinarily deferential' to Rove in allowing him to change his grand jury testimony. Most prosecutors would of indicted Rove the first time he lied.

Once again, Dems believed that the justice system would provide them with a fair shake. That it would not be used or perverted by the powerful against the weak. That was stupid. Right now, I would bet Fitzgerald is praying the Republicans hold on to Congress in the fall. That way no one will ever know how complicit he was in covering up their crimes.

Wrt the sock puppet. Back on my Jason Leopold post, one of the sockpuppets claimed he had been sent by Larry Johnson. Not only did Larry not send him, but Larry doesn't know anyone by that name.

I'd say Joe and Larry were more sympathetic to Leopold. But they also got an earful about some other things he had done, such as hack Jane's site. And, when someone asked a question about Leopold, they let me and Murray--two of the most outspoken Leopold critics--respond.

Wrt Armitage (and I'm going to go see if John Amato has it up), one thing is clear. Armitage did not get a letter similar to Rove's. Which might well mean this investigation is not over.

“The scariest thing in the world is to be the lawyer for an innocent client, because all you can do is screw it up,” he said. “So from my personal perspective—and particularly because I like and respect my client so much—it’s a huge sense of relief that I didn’t manage to screw it up.”
Luskin NY Observer

Modest, self serving and fawning all in one, impressive.

Two new details on today's WSJ article from Luskin, though I can't vouch for their accuracy, as Squeo has done some poor reporting on the case. One is just filling in the story, the other is surprising. First, it was Luskin himself who found the Hadley email, and he did so while spending three days locked in his office right before Rove's October 2004 grand jury appearance to "personally review. . . every stitch of paper he'd collected on the case." Second, and seemingly more interestingly, the article indicates that Rove (not Luskin, as I think we'd heard before) gave the email to Fitzgerald during his grand jury appearance. Again, maybe Squeo is confused, or does not mean that literally. It would be sort of surprising; though on the other hand, it would minimally prepare Fitzgerald for it, of course.

I think the investigation is over, because there is nothing left to investigate. Remember, Fitz said last October that the only reason that it has lasted as long as it has was that he found discrepancies in Libby's testimony that dragged things out. Then Rove forgot about Cooper, but that has now been resolved.

No one has been indicted for "outing" Plame--just for conflicting testimony to the Grand Jury. And the Libby case is boiling down to a very weak "he said she said," with reporters who have credibility problems.

I saw Novak on Fox and Friends this AM. He implied that he is eager to set the record straight. He didn't seem nervous at all. He is one of DC's wise old men, and he knows where a lot of bodies are buried. I am looking forward to what he has to say. I don't think the Wilsons are going to like it.

Wilson will never bring a civil suit. For one, he would be put under oath, and, as the SSIC shows, he doesn't do well under oath. Valerie's actions would also be under the microscope.

The Wilsons and their allies have done their best to hurt the Bush administration, and despite a very agressive special prosecutor, it has only garnered one rather weak perjury case. They have been sheltered by Fitz's investigation--but that's not going to last much longer.

My advice--the cult of Joe and Val needs to de-program and get off the Wilson merry-go-round. Time to moveon. If not, be prepared to get burned yet again--like Jason Leopold.

Meant to include this comment from Clemons

but one of my sources speculates that Armitage's testimony compelled Robert Luskin to initiate the process of getting Rove to adjust testimony he previously provided.

If Armitage is saying that "he did not believe that the action was done to damage Joe Wilson", he can't be the 1 in the 1x2x6.

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