Is Fitzmas Over?
During his press conference last week, I thought I heard Patrick Fitzgerald says “It’s Not Over” in reference to his investigation. Did I only imagine the word “not”? It seems some on the right must have heard him declare “It’s Over”. At least, many of the talking heads on the Sunday talk shows seemed to believe that the only indictments that will ever come out of PlameGate were the five perjury and obstruction of justice charges levied against Scooter Libby.
Case in point was Senator Lindsey Graham on Face the Nation declaring there was almost no possibility that Karl Rove would be indicted. Another case in point comes from those guardians of justice and national security at the National Review:
This long-hyped, two-year investigation appears to come down, in other words, to one man’s alleged dishonesty when investigators came knocking. This is not Watergate or Iran-Contra, but neither is it a trifle … We don’t know all the facts and until we do, his acts are open to dueling interpretations. It seemed unfair for him to talk at his press conference of Libby damaging national security by revealing classified information, when Libby wasn’t charged with that … Two years later, we still don’t know important facts. Was Plame covert? Fitzgerald can’t or won’t say. Who is “Official A” (although we can all guess)? Who were the other unnamed officials?
Excuse me for saying this but this op-ed is all over the map and ripe with contradictions. Number one, the op-ed seems to say all that went wrong was that someone lied about something not particularly important. But what did Libby lie about and what was he covering up? And yes we do know that Ms. Plame was covert at the time – even if Cliff May keeps saying otherwise. As far as the other officials, the indictment seems to be spending a lot of ink on the role of the Office of the Vice President in the smearing of Ambassador Wilson.
Consider the information about the role of the Office of the Vice President presented by Murray Waas and Paul Singer to the assertions of fact in the indictment from Fitzgerald. It strikes me that the Special Prosecutor was laying much more than a case for perjury and obstruction of justice.
As far as the identity of Mr. A, check out what this story has to say about Karl Rove:
Fitzgerald appeared prepared to indict Rove heading into last week for making false statements, according to three people close to the probe. But that changed during a private meeting last Tuesday between Fitzgerald and Rove’s attorney, Robert Luskin. It’s not clear precisely what happened in that meeting, but two sources briefed on it said Luskin discussed new information that gave Fitzgerald “pause.” That evening, Fitzgerald’s investigative team called Adam Levine, a member of the White House communications team at the time of the leak. An investigator questioned Levine about an e-mail Rove had sent Levine on July 11, 2003 — the same day Rove discussed Plame with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper, according to Dan French, Levine’s attorney. The e-mail, which did not mention Plame, ended with Rove telling Levine to come see him. The investigator wanted details of that conversation, which took place within an hour or so of the Cooper-Rove chat, according to a person familiar with the situation. Levine told investigators they did not discuss Plame. Part of Rove’s defense has been that he was very busy man who simply forgot to tell investigators about his conversation with Cooper. If the e-mail “was exculpatory at all, it was most likely a small piece of a much larger mosaic of information,” French said. A source familiar with the discussion between Rove and Fitzgerald said the Tuesday meeting was about a lot more than “just an e-mail from Levine.” He would not elaborate. Rove remains a focus of the CIA leak probe. He has told friends it is possible he still will be indicted for providing false statements to the grand jury. “Everyone thinks it is over for Karl and they are wrong,” a source close to Rove said. The strategist’s legal and political advisers “by no means think the part of the investigation concerning Karl is closed.” Cooper’s attorney, Dick Sauber, said Fitzgerald certainly meant it when he told Luskin last week that Rove remains in legal jeopardy and under investigation. “It wouldn’t surprise me knowing how careful he is and how much he doesn’t want to be seen as trigger-happy, that he is going through each of those things [that Rove presented] and seeing if they can be verified or not,” Sauber said.
Maybe the new information that gave Fitzgerald pause was less exculpatory than suggesting that Rove might be able to help the Special Prosecutor go after bigger fish than Libby or Rove.
Update: Rich Lowry tells us that no one on the right dismissed the serious of the PlameGate investigations:
With the exception of a feint by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, which she immediately regretted, and few other wobbles, at least conservatives haven’t contradicted their core contention from the 1990s that lying under oath is a serious crime. In this, they finally have some company from liberals, who also have a strange, newfound affection for relentlessly truth-seeking prosecutors.
Rich would never lie to us – would he? Maybe we’ll chalk this up to a faulty memory – so could everyone please help Rich out on this score.