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AP President Bush at

AP: "President Bush, at an Oval Office photo opportunity Tuesday, was asked directly whether he would fire Rove — in keeping with a pledge in June, 2004, to dismiss any leakers in the case. The president did not respond."

Scofflaw Republican Ken Mehlman

Scofflaw Republican Ken Mehlman knows who pays the bills.

In this new RNC press release Mehlman goes to war on Karl Rove's behalf, regurgitating just about every lie that's been told about Niger, Wilson, Plame and everything else.

Help us catalog the lies. Note 'em down and send 'em in.

Late Update: Actually, we shouldn't be the only ones who have access to what you've found. If you'd like to share the catalog of Ken Mehlman lies with fellow readers, we've set up a discussion thread here.

I dont often read

I don't often read ABC's The Note. But sometimes, when it reaches a point of maximal toxicity, such as today, a friend or a reader will pass it along and then I'll get caught up on its full measure of ridiculousness. It really is a showcase of just how decadent the Washington press corps has become under this president, the revelry in their own frivolity, the credulous aping of the smears, the loins flush for the powerful. Sort of a mix of Dangerous Liaisons and Elmer Fudd.

Marshall Wittman understands internal

Marshall Wittman understands internal GOP politics as well as anyone who's willing to talk about them publicly, and much better than most who aren't. He provides his take on Rove's future today at TPMCafe. Short version: short of a frog march, Rove's stays till the end of Bush's term in 2009.

TPM Reader mail ...HiI

TPM Reader mail ...


I am wondering...... (a) it is reported that Karl Rove referred to Valerie Plame as being "fair game" after her cover was blown by Robert Novak's article. (b) Presumably, Karl Rove would have known by then (as did everyone else) that she was an undercover CIA "operative", and disclosure of her name was illegal/immoral/unethical. (c) If he referred to her as being "fair game" after her cover was blown, does that not imply that he wasnt stunned (to say the least) by her status, and there is a good chance that he did know about her status beforehand.

Doesnt that line of questioning deserve to be raised?

Good point.

Reid on Rove I

Reid on Rove: “I agree with the President when he said he expects the people who work for him to adhere to the highest standards of conduct. The White House promised if anyone was involved in the Valerie Plame affair, they would no longer be in this administration. I trust they will follow through on this pledge. If these allegations are true this rises above politics and is about our national security.”

With everything coming out

With everything coming out today about Karl Rove, it's worth stopping to bring a few things into focus. It's been pretty clear since fall of 2003 that Karl Rove did this. It's been a near certainty since then that if it wasn't Rove than it was someone in a very similar position. After all, Bob Novak said in his now-notorious column that "senior administration officials" had told him about her.

We don't know that the president knew about the decision to use Plame's work at CIA against Wilson in advance, though given the high-level working group assembled at the White House to go to war with Wilson, it's reasonable to suspect that he did. But at a minimum the president has known about this as long as the rest of us -- that is, almost exactly two years.

And he -- unlike anyone else in the country -- had the power to call Rove into his office and ask him whether he did this or knew who did?

Whether he knew before or after, he's known for a very long time. And pretty clearly he didn't want Rove held to any account. Indeed, he's gone to great lengths to prevent this from happening. And of course few reporters in DC have cared to press this essential point.

No longer operative.From this

No longer operative.

From this morning's <$NoAd$> gaggle ...

Question: Do you want to retract your statement that Rove -- Karl Rove was not involved in the Valerie Plame expose? -- involved?

McClellan: This is -- no, I appreciate the question. This is an ongoing investigation at this point. The President directed the White House to cooperate fully with the investigation, and as part of cooperating fully with the investigation, that means we're not going to be commenting on it while it is ongoing.

Question: But Rove has apparently commented, through his lawyer, that he was definitely involved.

McClellan: You're asking me to comment on an ongoing investigation.

Question: I'm saying, why did you stand there and say he was not involved?

McClellan: Again, while there is an ongoing investigation, I'm not going to be commenting on it, nor is --

McClellanN: -- any remorse?

McClellan: -- nor is the White House, because the President wanted us to cooperate fully with the investigation, and that's what we're doing.

Question: That's not an answer.

Question: It's not an answer. And you were perfectly willing to comment from that podium while the investigation was going on, and try to clear Karl Rove. Why the double standard? Why were you willing to say Karl Rove was not involved when -- and talk at length about it, when the investigation was going on, and now that he's been caught red-handed, all of a sudden you've got a new line?

McClellan: No, I don't think it is the way you characterize it, as new, because I have said for quite some time that this is an ongoing investigation, and we're not going to get into discussing it while it's an ongoing investigation. I've really said all I'm going to say on it.

Question: But you did -- you did discuss it while it was an ongoing investigation. You stood there and told the American people Karl Rove wasn't involved.

McClellan: I've said all I'm going to say on it. Go ahead, April.

If you'd like to discuss, join us here.

Late Update: This too ...

Question: Scott, is the President aware of Karl Rove's role in leaking information about Joe Wilson's wife?

Mr. McClellan: Again, this is a Question relating to an ongoing investigation, and you have my response.

Question: Scott, without commenting on the investigation, you said in September of '03, if anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration. Does that standard still hold?

Mr. McClellan: Again, I appreciate all these questions. They are questions relating to an ongoing investigation, and the President directed us to cooperate fully with that investigation. No one wants to get to the bottom of it more than he does and --

Question: -- the standard then still apply?

Mr. McClellan: The investigation is ongoing, Peter, and we're just not going to -- we're not going to --

Question: Did the President set a timetable --

Question: It's not about the investigation, it's about the White House decision --

Mr. McClellan: We're not going to talk about it further from this podium.

More soon ...

(ed.note: There's often a bit of confusion about this. So let me again clarify. The above is not the on-air late-morning early-afternoon press briefing. The 'gaggle' is the early morning briefing. It's on the record. But it's not televised and the official transcript is not released to the public. I hear today's early afternoon press briefing was even worse than this above.)

Im intrigued by this

I'm intrigued by this passage in the piece on Matt Cooper in today's Times ...

Later, Mr. Waldman asked whether Time's disclosures and a blanket waiver form his source had signed were enough to allow him to testify. In an e-mail message on Tuesday night, Mr. Cooper said he believed the forms could have been coerced and thus worthless.

The only thing that would do, Mr. Cooper wrote, was a "certain, unambiguous waiver" from his source.

Around 7:30 on Wednesday morning, Mr. Cooper had said goodbye to his son, resigned to his fate. His lawyer, Mr. Sauber, called to alert him to a statement from Mr. Luskin in The Wall Street Journal.

"If Matt Cooper is going to jail to protect a source," Mr. Luskin told The Journal, "it's not Karl he's protecting."

That provided an opening, Mr. Cooper said. "I was not looking for a waiver," he said, "but on Wednesday morning my lawyer called and said, 'Look at The Wall Street Journal. I think we should take a shot.' And I said, 'Yes, it's an invitation.' "

In court shortly after 2, he told Judge Thomas F. Hogan of the Federal District Court in Washington that he had received "an express personal release from my source."

That statement surprised Mr. Luskin, Mr. Rove's lawyer. Mr. Luskin said he had only reaffirmed the blanket waiver, in response to a request from Mr. Fitzgerald.

"Karl was not afraid of what Cooper is going to say and is clearly trying to be fully candid with the prosecutor," Mr. Luskin said.

Did Luskin blow it for Rove?

If you read the whole article <$Ad$> (which is quite good), it's clear that Cooper really didn't want to go to prison over this and was looking for a way out. But he was willing to serve time if he couldn't find a way to extricate himself that he could square with his understanding of journalistic ethics. Not unreasonably, he thought the blanket waivers of confidentiality that Rove had signed at the request of Patrick Fitzgerald were meaningless because they were coerced.

That sounds right to me since a member of the White House staff probably wouldn't be free to refuse such a request -- particularly since he might legitimately fear that such a refusal would find a way to make itself public.

But as the article makes clear, there really was no sudden personal communication from Rove, at least not as I understood it to have occurred in the initial reports.

What seems to have happened is that Luskin availed himself of the opportunity to talk tough and categorically to the Journal at his client's apparent expense. The key of course is the second to last graf that I've excerpted, in which the Times author says Luskin was 'surprised' at what Cooper and his attorney read into his statement to the Journal. He had meant it only as a blanket restatement of their position to date.

Presumably, once Cooper and his attorney took this interpretation with the judge, there was no turning back for Luskin. What could he say?

I'm curious whether others read the article this way too. Share your thoughts with us here over at this thread at our politics discussion table.