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Friday, December 02, 2005

Let the Frogmarch Begin

From the comments over at Jeralyn's, I thought these observations by Grampa really help to clarify why Luskin might think Viveca Novak's testimony could help Karl Rove. It also outlines what a risky gamble this is for his client, who obviously must not have many options left:
Novak's testimony is as likely to hurt Rove as to help him. In the summer of 2004, Rove is probably feeling pretty safe because the White House missed his email to Hadley (he would know that because Luskin would see everything produced), and because Cooper is either resisting the subpoena, or is agreeing to testify only about Libby. It is quite possible that Rove also kept Luskin in the dark about Cooper. Rove admitted being a confirming source for R. Novak, but he was an original source for Cooper, so that is the interview he would prefer to forget.

Then, two things happen that shake Rove's sense of security. Luskin learns about Cooper from V. Novak, and Fitzgerald begins pressing Cooper for the name of his original source. I'm not sure it matters which of those events came first, but together, they provide a powerful incentive for Rove to recant.

Luskin confronts Rove about Cooper. It wouldn't be the first time that a guilty client lied to his lawyer. Luskin says, "we need to have the White House check again for any evidence of discussions you had with Cooper." Again, Luskin would have reviewed any evidence produced, and so, once he found the email, he would have told Rove that the email must be handed over to Fitzgerald. Faced with that, Rove says, "you know, Bob, I think I now kind of do remember a brief conversation I had with Cooper." Whereupon, Luskin would have to advise Rove to go back to the grand jury and correct his testimony.

Luskin is not obligated to tell Fitzgerald about his conversation with V. Novak, but he does need to come up with SOME plausible story about how, when, and why Rove forgot and then remembered something so important. Luskin's first effort was probably to say that they had discovered this email. But that would not have satisfied Fitzgerald, who would naturally ask what caused them to take a second look. Eventually, Luskin would get to his conversation with V. Novak.

Bringing in this conversation is a very risky and desperate strategy. First, as mentioned above, it is as likely to incriminate as to exculpate. Equally important, Luskin cannot explain this sequence of events without testifying himself, and possibly exposing his conversations with his client. Once that Pandora's box is opened, it is not at all clear how much they can limit the waiver of attorney-client privilege. If Fitzgerald starts asking Luskin how Rove responded when he was told Novak's news, the results could be very damaging to Rove.
The story makes perilously little sense, but then again it rests on an assumption that nobody I talk to is willing to make -- that Karl Rove did indeed "forget" these critical conversations for over a year.

It can't bode well for Hadley either. With so much riding on the production of this email, you have to wonder when, exactly, he made his own appearance before Fitzgerald. Was he a victim of the virulent DC amnesia virus too? Given how rampant it is in the nation's capitol these days, we might speculate that it was a sexually transmitted disease were the thought just not too abjectly horrible for words.