Thursday, October 27, 2005

Early Thursday Morning Fitzmas Update
Rove-a-Palooza/Take a Letter from Libby/Miller's Crossing/Big Time!

Let's take a trip 'round the Web. First, from the WaPo:

But after grand jurors left the federal courthouse before noon yesterday, it was unclear whether Fitzgerald had spelled out the criminal charges he might ask them to consider, or whether he had asked them to vote on any proposed indictments. Fitzgerald's legal team did not present the results of a grand jury vote to the court yesterday, which he is required to do within days of such a vote.

Yesterday's three-hour grand jury session came after agents and prosecutors this week conducted last-minute interviews with Adam Levine, a member of the White House communications team at the time of the leak, about his conversations with Rove, and with Plame's neighbors in the District.

Should he need more time to finish the investigation, Fitzgerald could seek to empanel a new group of grand jurors to consider the case. But sources familiar with the prosecutor's work said he has indicated he is eager to avoid that route. The term of the current grand jury has been extended once and cannot be lengthened again, according to federal rules.

In regards to the Adam Levine mention above, Talk Left offers the following background:
Levine's lawyer, Dan French, has confirmed for the Washington Post that Levine was interviewed again Tuesday by a member of Fitzgerald's legal team regarding a July 11 conversation Levine had with Rove. This is the same date that Rove and Time Magazine reporter Matt Cooper spoke - in a conversation that Rove apparently didn't recall during his initial questioning by FBI investigators or before the grand jury. The Rove-Cooper conversation is the one Fitzgerald reportedly is examining in deciding whether to charge Rove with perjury.
It sounds like Rove is desperately trying to avoid a perjury charge and Fitzgerald is trying to give him every benefit of the doubt by satisfying himself that there are no witnesses, only the lone e-mail to Hadley, referring to Rove's talk with Cooper. Then he might accept that Rove simply forgot, as Rove reportedly later told the grand jury.

Yesterday I speculated that Fitzgerald might consider a recantation defense for Rove on any perjury charge, under the grand jury perjury statute 18 U.S.C. 1623(d).

There's a lot more legal interpretation from that post (Talk Left's MO is very legal eagle).

However, Steve Clemons notes an intriguing real estate development:
Well, news has just reached TWN that Patrick Fitzgerald is expanding not only into a new website -- but also into more office space.

Fitzgerald's office is at 1400 New York Avenue, NW, 9th Floor in Washington.

What I have learned is that the Office of the Special Counsel has signed a lease this week for expanded office space across the street at 1401 New York Avenue, NW.

Another coincidence? More office space needed to shut down the operation?

I think not. Fitzgerald's operation is expanding.

What are the next steps for BushCo? The LATimes has this:
Some key elements of the post-investigation game plan have emerged, GOP advisors said:
  • Any indicted White House officials would immediately step down, and Bush would quickly name their successors. If Rove is indicted, more than one person might take over his many responsibilities.
  • The president and other White House officials would limit their public comments on the case. Outside interest groups and allies would do most of the talking.
  • Whenever possible, Bush and other administration officials would try to change the subject. Among the issues the president plans to put atop his new agenda are spending restraint, tax changes and immigration. In addition, Bush's foreign policy advisors have discussed launching a more visible presidential effort to prod Israel and the Palestinians toward peace, one official said.
  • The White House would try to insulate Bush from the scandal allegations. Officials would argue that the president has not been accused of any direct involvement in the leaking of information in the CIA case or subsequent efforts to minimize the political damage.
And then adds:
White House officials and allies are hoping that intensive news coverage of the Fitzgerald investigation will be short-lived. On Nov. 7, they predicted, attention would shift to the Senate confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Harriet E. Miers.

"Let's say something happens in the next 48 hours," said one official. "It will dominate the news cycle until the 7th of November. Then a new cycle begins: Harriet will be the news."
And that's good news for the White House?


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