A few more thoughts


A few more thoughts on Tom DeFrank’s article on President Bush, noted below.

According to DeFrank, President Bush knew about Karl Rove’s role in leaking Valerie Plame’s identity pretty much from the very start. He doesn’t tell us whether the president knew in advance or while the purported crimes were occuring. But let’s set that aside for the moment and stipulate, for the sake of discussion, the accuracy of DeFrank’s nugget: that from the moment this became a public issue, President Bush has known Karl Rove was one of the culprits.

This raises several questions.

The possible perjury indictment hanging over Rove’s head (to the extent we can know about these things from press reports) stems from his ‘forgetting’ to tell the grand jury that he leaked Plame’s identity the first time around. Later, he ‘remembered’ this detail — seemingly after Fitzgerald got other sworn testimony about it.

Did Rove tell the president about his role, then ‘forget’ before the grand jury, then ‘remember’ later? Not that many folks believe he forgot. But this would seem like the sort of chronological detail that could seal Rove’s fate as far as a perjury indictment.

And that leads us to a second question.

Patrick Fitzgerald interviewed President Bush (at least, he was interviewed by his team; I don’t remember whether it was Fitzgerald specifically who conducted it, though I would assume it was). The president’s lawyers succeeded in getting Fitzgerald to agree that the interview not be under oath. Still, though, an interview took place and at the top of the list of questions must have been just what happened and what the president knew.

Did President Bush say that he knew Rove was involved? Did he deny it?

Obviously, we have many more questions than answers here. But if President Bush knew about Rove’s role from the beginning, then all of these interviews and grand jury appearances and the almost inevitable contradictions between them become real trouble for the White House.

And one more question. For almost two years, Scott McClellan insisted that neither Karl Rove nor Scooter Libby had anything to do with the leaks. He knew because he asked them, he said. He was very categorical.

Now it seems that at least with reference to Rove, the president knew McClellan’s statements weren’t true. And yet he allowed McClellan to make them. Come to think of it, I guess this one really isn’t even a question. It speaks for itself, doesn’t it?