Friday, October 28, 2005

Fall Out
Fitzmas Hangover

I remember a particular Christmas from when I was about 12 or 13, that period of time where one is moving out of childhood years and into the more "responsible" teen years (i.e., no more toys for presents). My Proctor Grandparents (from my Mom's side) certainly embraced this movement into maturity, and I received a present from them that took me aback. Actually, it made me cry like the immature child I still was: a pair of heavy-duty nail clippers. I just couldn't understand why I was being punished with such a present--I wasn't getting that old yet, was I?

Feelings were soothed on both sides of the equation and we went on with Christmas. And you know what--I still have those clippers.

I kinda felt like that today with all the Fitzmas excitement. Couldn't we just have one more indictment, one more head to roll? Why don't I feel festive? There were obviously some very important announcements, actions, and revelations today. But it just doesn't feel whole, what with Rove still under investigation. Still, the long view will be what's important here. And if this is the beginning of the bankruptcy proceedings for BushCo, as I fully suspect it is, then this will be momentous indeed, but patience will be needed, and a long memory, too.

Today, of all days, I had to be away from the computer and radio input of Cracks Centraal, so I wasn't able to hear all of Patrick Fitzgerald's press conference, which sounded absolutely riveting (and long--I heard it was over an hour; I really hope it's archived somewhere in at least audio form). And I'm now just starting to get caught up on all the facts, conversations and memes that are going on.

So, let's start with the facts. First, from the WaPo:

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, was indicted yesterday on charges of lying to federal investigators and obstructing justice in the 22-month CIA leak investigation. Libby, the first sitting White House aide charged with a crime in recent history, resigned.

Karl Rove, the president's top strategist, narrowly escaped indictment after providing new information during eleventh-hour negotiations with Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald but could still be charged in the case, according to three people familiar with the talks. A source close to Rove said the senior strategist's fate will be known soon.
[...]
Libby issued a statement through his attorney, Joseph Tate, in which he said: "I am confident that at the end of this process I will be completely and totally exonerated."

But Fitzgerald's indictment depicts Libby as concocting scenarios that never occurred. In one instance, Libby said he first learned of Valerie Plame's role as a covert CIA operative from NBC's Tim Russert in early July. But Russert and Libby never discussed the operative, according to the indictment. In fact, it says, he learned of her from Cheney, State Department officials and a CIA briefer more than a month earlier.
[...]
It is unclear what information Rove turned over. It is also unclear if it will be enough to prevent a grand jury from indicting him in the weeks ahead. If he decides to seek charges against Rove, Fitzgerald would present the evidence to a new grand jury because the one that indicted Libby expired yesterday and its term cannot be extended.
[...]
Fitzgerald refused to comment on Rove. A source close to Rove added, "There is still the chance that Mr. Rove could face indictment." Lawyers involved in the case said Fitzgerald is likely to put pressure on Libby to provide evidence against Rove or other potential targets.

One of the most intriguing bits of the indictment was this section:
21. On or about July 10 or July 11, 2003, LIBBY spoke to a senior official in the White House (Official A) who advised LIBBY of a conversation Official A had earlier that week with columnist Robert Novak in which Wilson’s wife was discussed as a CIA employee involved in Wilson’s trip. LIBBY was advised by Official A that Novak would be writing a story about Wilson’s wife.
"Official A"???? As the day has progressed, speculation has been rife, but Pete Yost at the AP now reports:
Late Friday, three people close to the investigation, each asking to remain unidentified because of grand jury secrecy, identified Rove as Official A.
Atrios notes, in snarky style:
I'm shocked that it's Karl.

Um, and I'm also shocked that there's a serious deficit of Karl related indictment activities?
And Hunter at Daily Kos asks:
So why the sensitivity around the identity of "Official A"? Puzzling, to say the least. What's going on with "Official A" that isn't going on with anyone else named in the report?
Here's an intriguing thought from TalkLeft:
I suspect that's one reason Karl Rove hasn't been charged. As I've speculated repeatedly, I think Rove has a deal. But, like most prosecutors, Fitzgerald isn't buying a pig in a poke. He wants to see how helpful Rove is in his trial testimony against Libby (and any future indictees) before agreeing either to give him a complete pass or ask the Court to give him probation if he pleads guilty.
The Washington Post reports he could now be a witness against Lewis Libby.
I suspect that's one reason Karl Rove hasn't been charged. As I've speculated repeatedly, I think Rove has a deal. But, like most prosecutors, Fitzgerald isn't buying a pig in a poke. He wants to see how helpful Rove is in his trial testimony against Libby (and any future indictees) before agreeing either to give him a complete pass or ask the Court to give him probation if he pleads guilty.
And CBS reports that Rove is definitely still within the crosshairs:
CBS News chief White House correspondent John Roberts reports that Fitzgerald wants to know why Rove didn't tell the grand jury about a telephone conversation with Time reporter Matt Cooper in which he identified CIA agent, Valerie Plame. Rove's legal team hopes to convince the prosecutor it was an honest omission.
But even more intriguing in that CBS report is this tidbit:
CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen reports the indictment "makes it very likely, almost a certainty" that Cheney will have to testify in the criminal trial against Libby.

If so, Cheney, who prizes secrecy, will be called upon as a witness to explain why the administration launched a campaign against Plame's husband, diplomat Joseph Wilson, a critic of the war who questioned Mr. Bush's assertion that Iraq had sought nuclear material.
It's not over by a long shot.


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