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Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Last Pieces?

Karl Rove spent 4 1/2 hours before the Special Grand Jury yesterday, answering questions from Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and the men and women of the jury regarding discrepencies in his testimony in three prior grand jury appearances and from prior discussions with the FBI during the investigation of this matter.

In my mind, 4 1/2 hours is an awfully long time to be talking just about differences between Rove's testimony and Matt Cooper's, so what else did Karl spill -- or not -- while on the stand?

The clues to this testimony are in the always cryptic remarks of sources familiar with Rove's testimony, i.e. from Rove himself or from someone on his legal defense team, which is the most likely source in my mind.

From the WaPo:
The grand jury investigating the CIA leak case pressed White House senior adviser Karl Rove yesterday to more fully explain his conversations with reporters about CIA operative Valerie Plame, including discrepancies between his testimony and the account provided by a key witness in the investigation, according to a source familiar with Rove's account.

Making his fourth appearance before the grand jury, Rove answered a broad range of questions for 4 1/2 hours, including why he did not initially tell federal agents about a July 2003 conversation about Plame with the witness, Time magazine's Matthew Cooper, the source said.

Note that this is conversation(S) and reporter(S) (as in multiple, and we know about Cooper and Novak, but does this include also Chris Matthews and the famous "Wilson's wife is fair game."? Does this include Tim Russert from Meet the Press?

Does this also include Judy Miller -- and is that why her second day of testimony was vital, or was that all about Libby and nothing else? Or Walter Pincus? Or....well, we know a lot of the other players, but at this juncture most of them aren't reporting about what they, the reporters, know, so we have to guess. How about some reporting on this, instead, huh? (looking forward to the Judypalooza article, as I'm sure everyone else is.)

The "source" went on to say that the grand jury itself was very interested in discrepencies in testimony. And regarding the "missing e-mail" and how it "refreshed" Rove's recollection of his talk with Cooper -- conveniently in my mind right before Rove had to testify again in this matter. (ooooh, what I wouldn't give to know whether Fitz or Rove found that e-mail or information about it first.)

While Rove's defense team continues using the "no crime committed here, no, uh uh, no intent to be mean at all" defense, the next paragraph in the WaPo article struck me. Either the reporter caught the source in a serious moment of weakness (and perhaps one brewski too many) or they are already trying the pre-indictment spin out to see if it flies.

...nevertheless anticipates that special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald could find a way to bring charges in the next two weeks, the source said.

The "source" (cough...Luskin...cough) is clearly floating the "creative charges" theory that Toensing has been muttering all over the known universe over the last week. Wow, who knew a statute that has been on the books since 1917 could be a creative charge? I mean, I thought the Espionage Act and the requirements of the SF 312 for security clearance were pretty clear and straightforward and on the books for ages. Ahem.

Clearly Carol Leonnig and Jim VandeHei of the WaPo are thinking that something bigger than just an after-investigation report is coming down the pike. They've named Libby and Rove outright as potential indictments and added the "other administration officials" possibility as a kicker. Rove didn't go back to the White House after testimony -- maybe he needed a shower. Or maybe he went up to Camp David to meet with the Preznit, deciding to drive his Jag instead of taking the 'copter.

A bit of interesting news buried in the middle of the WaPo report is that La Vida Judy has apparently been told that she will not be charged in this matter, but will only be a witness, at least according to her attorney, Bob Bennett. Dunno, sounds an awful lot like someone cut a deal to me to tell everything she knew. Judging by the company she keeps, that could be an awful lot of hot potatoes. This could be awfully interesting in the next few days.

Also in the WaPo, a tick tock piece on how the reporters dealt with the length of their stay on "Monica Beach" while awaiting Rove's departure from testimony. We learn a couple of things here: (1) When Fitz has had coffee, his bladder will go about 3 hours before needing relief. (Um, thanks, Dana. Proof that Fitz is a human being. Useful.) and (2) Reporters are as antsy as the rest of us waiting for some news on this case.

It is interesting to note that the jurors were described as average people in jeans, sweaters and such, with 11 of them being African American and 4 white that were seen exiting the building around the same time. I should note that this doesn't mean that this was the full grand jury, since at times exits can be delayed by bathroom breaks or someone having left early or something. But it was an interesting detail nonetheless, since we know next to nothing about them other than what Matt Cooper already reported.

The NYTimes also has a piece out on this. They indicate that lawyers in the case are also playing wait and see, and seem to be using the "cross your fingers and hope for the best" method of protecting their clients because Fitz and crew aren't talking. I'd bet that they are also trying to cut deals, but no one wants to say that publicly, given the folks their clients would have to rat out.

The article oddly indicates that the focus has shifted from Libby to Rove, but gives no supporting facts to indicate why other than the fact that it was Rove, and not Libby, testifying. Hmmmmm, curious, and I hope there will be a revelation on this in the Sunday Judy piece extravaganza.

Sure seems like some more pieces may have been put into the puzzle, but who knows where they fit in all this mess. And we wait...