A couple of NYT articles have launched considerable new speculation about Rover and the hot water he may be in. Jeralyn has a fabulous post up on Rove's history with the grand jury, replete with all kinds of links. She sketches a fascinating history and concludes that Rover is far from off the hook:
Rove reportedly told Novak on July 8 after Novak mentioned Wilson's wife that he had heard this too. From whom did he hear it? That seems to be what Fitzgerald wants to know. Rove said he heard it from other journalists, but couldn't remember which one. It seems more likely he heard it from Libby.Elsewhere, the Hadley email regarding Matt Cooper looks like it is going to take center stage in whatever case there is to be made against Rover. In his new must-read magnum opus, Tom Maguire says:By about June 12, Libby had learned of both Wilson and his wife from a variety of sources - the undersecretary, a top CIA official and Cheney himself.I suspect Fitzgerald now has his answer. The question is, will he charge Rove with making a false statement to FBI investigators or with perjury before the grand jury, both or neither? While recantation is a defense to a perjury charge, it may not apply to Karl Rove, as I explained here. There is no recantation defense available to making a false statement to investigators.
And it was after Wilson went public on July 6, 2003, that Libby appears to step up his focus on Wilson as the White House tried to decide how to beat back his claims. In a series of conversations - with former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer, Cheney's counsel, and an official believed to be Karl Rove - Libby asks: How should we deal with media inquires about Wilson? In each conversation, prosecutors say, Libby discussed Wilson's wife.
It seems to me a false statements charge is the easiest for Fitzgerald to prove against Rove. The guidelines would not be as high as they are for perjury, but it's still a felony and even charging it would result in Rove having to leave the White House.
[I]f Fitzgerald knew enough to subpoena Cooper's evidence about a conversation with Rove in late August, what do we take from this Times report that "the [email] message was not discovered until the fall of 2004"?And Anonymous Liberal takes issue with the bit of Luskin spin from yesterday's article indicating "a lawyer in the case said that White House documents were collected in response to several separate requests that may not have covered certain time periods or all relevant officials." Says Anonymous Liberal:
This certainly suggests that Fitzgerald had independent evidence of the conversation between Cooper and Rove. But from whom? Might Hadley, as recipient of the email, have found it to be memorable? But if Hadley remembered, why did the author of the email forget? Was Rove really that much busier than Hadley?
There is simply no way that the failure to turn over that email in a timely matter can be attributable to a lack of specificity in the requests themselves. There is no way that the dates of the requests did not include July 11. Moreover, if White House email was searched using search terms, as Isikoff's source suggested, "Cooper" would have to have been one of those terms. It's possible, of course, that the email was innocently overlooked during the White House's effort to comply with these requests, but it's entirely ridiculous to assert that the prosecutors in this case did not draft their document requests with enough specificity to capture this key email. If I were Fitzgerald, that blind quote in today's Times article would really make me mad.The notion of Fitzgerald mad about all the stonewalling and spin his case has been subjected to? Somehow that just doesn't bother me.
(graphic courtesy Monk at Inflatable Dartborad)