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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Rove Gets Off (and not just by slandering opponents)

So it appears that Karl Rove has been told that he won't be indicted (at lesat, that's what his lawyer has told the press---Fitzgerald's office has declined comment).

Here are some quick thoughts:
  • So much for the various GOP attacks on Fitz for supposedly being a partisan attack dog.

  • Obviously I don't know what Fitz knows. But from the stuff that has leaked out, there seems to be lots of reason to think that Rove did indeed lie to the grand jury. This fact raises the possibility that the apparent decision not to prosecute on obstruction or perjury charges is less absolution than it is concern on Fitz's part about whether Rove could be successfully prosecuted. So far I've seen nothing in Fitz's conduct but evidence that he is a stand-up guy who has followed his understanding of the law---which includes not charging when you don't think you can convict---and conducted himself with the utmost of decency. It's too bad his approach isn't more common in DOJ HQ. Kudos to Fitz for doing his job, and nothing more.

  • Rove is every bit the scoundrel folks like me have been saying he is. He lied to the American people about his role in blowing Valerie Wilson's cover. Hell, he actually was willing to blow her cover (so much for the supposed national security focus of this administration). Moreover, indictment or no, Rove was hardly eager to have the truth out, either to the GJ or to the American public.

  • George W. Bush's dishonesty and ducking of responsibility on this issue continues unabated---we all know he vowed that anyone involved in the Plame-Wilson leak would "no longer be in this administration". Scooter Libby would still be if not for his indictment, and Karl Rove still is. Dick Cheney still is, too. The dishonor and lack of dignity of this president and his thuggish henchmen continues, shaming us all.
In the meantime, it seems that Rove lawyer Robert Luskin may need someone else to get off. Here's one possible future client

Update: One more thing about which I've been wondering since Luskin started talking about this yesterday (I think). Have Rove's people released the letter from Fitz that they say they've received? Here's what VandeHei's WaPo story says (emphasis mine):
Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald told Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, in a short letter delivered Monday afternoon that he "does not anticipate seeking charges" against Rove in the case, Luskin said.
I haven't exactly scoured the wires on this issue, but I don't think any of the few things I have read has said that anyone (other than possibly Luskin) has seen this letter. If the letter exists , as I assume that it does even given the source of its reported existence, and if it's totally exonerative, why not release the whole thing? I see now that this point has also been made by Greg Sargent (HT TPMmuckracker.com), who managed to get Rove spokesman Mark Corallo on the record ducking exactly this question:

Corallo said this: "There were no conditions attendant to the prosecutor's actions. There never has been any discussion about cooperation or conditions or anything of the sort. This strictly reflects the prosecutor coming to the correct conclusion that Rove has told the truth from day one. He believed him."

I pointed out to Corallo that there's been plenty of speculation that Fitzgerald may have opted against charges not because he believed Rove, but because he didn't think he could prove any wrongdoing that may have occurred. When I asked Corallo if his above assertions should be taken to mean that the Rove camp had any sign that Fitzgerald hadn't merely opted against charges because he didn't think he could prove them, Corallo didn't answer directly. He said: "I think at that point you're splitting hairs."

[JG note: At this point I feel compelled to point out that Corallo was John Ashcroft's spokesman at DOJ in Ashcroft's salad days as AG of the USA (cue Spinal Tap music....). Corallo surely knows that the distinction between believing in innocence and not believing in the existence of proof of guilt is a substantive rather than hair-splitting one.]

Our conversation was brief, but I got a bit more out of Corallo. When I asked Corallo why the Rove camp wouldn't release Fitzgerald's notification that he wouldn't pursue charges, since that would clear up any doubts, he said, "We had an agreement with the prosecutor's office from the day this began that we wouldn't disclose direct communications or any documents between his office and ours."

But wouldn't today's announcement constitute a disclosure of such "direct communications"? To that question, Corallo replied that Fitzgerald had given them the go-ahead to release a statement. "He said he had no problem with it," Corallo said. Interestingly, he declined to answer whether Fitzgerald had signed off on the Rove camp's final statement.

You know, ongoing investigation, that sort of thing.

2 Comments:

Blogger Bu$h Ate My Baby said...

Still waiting for that post from Jonah discussing the bombshell that Armitage was the original leaker. But perhaps there's no time for eating a few portions of crow...

-BAMBY

p.s. I'm sure this comment will post much commentary, little mea culpa.

9/01/2006 11:06 AM  
Blogger Bu$h Ate My Baby said...

Re the above -- "prompt" not "post"

9/01/2006 11:07 AM  

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