Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Someone who'd like to testify at Harriet Miers confirmtion hearings?

Late Update: Apologies, the server linked to here seems overwhelmed and for the moment isn't working.

Is RoBold the snitch?

Ever since Travis County DA Ronnie Earle indicted Tom DeLay on the initial charge of conspiracy, and especially since he heaped on two more indictments based on "additional information" he received last weekend, DeLay watchers have been reading the tea leaves trying discern who might have agreed to testify against Mr. Big.

In today's Roll Call, there's an article (sub.req.) by John Bresnahan, devoted almost entirely to the voluble denials from DeLay's alleged co-conspirators Jim Ellis John Colyandro, each insisting that they haven't cut a deal.

But sticking out like a sore thumb in Bresnahan's piece is the second graf which reads ...

A lawyer for a third DeLay associate who also is under indictment in the Texas probe, Warren RoBold, did not return calls seeking comment on whether he is cooperating with Earle’s investigation.

RoBold isn't quite the insider that Ellis and Colyandro are. So perhaps he's decided it's time to cut his losses, turn the tables and nail the hammer?

Not a sexy topic, but way more important than you might think: the decline of Congressional oversight. It's one of Congress's key roles in our system of checks and balances. But it's a role that has largely been abdicated by the Republican Congress. During the 1990s, the sort of meticulous but often unsexy work of oversight of the executive branch departments and agencies was pushed aside to make way for high-octane but mostly nonsensical scandal investigations. Under Bush, it's been shunted aside even more because serious oversight sounds too much like criticism, which must of course be avoided at all costs. The Post has a nice, though too brief, piece on the subject.

There were rumors flying around all day today that Plame prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was about to indict one or more White House officials, perhaps as early as today. The 'today' part obviously didn't pan out. But an article from Reuters, which hit the wires little more than an hour ago, seems to have nailed down some outlines of those rumors. At a minimum they seemed to grab on to the tail of the same animal.

Reuters makes clear that what Fitzgerald is going to do (indict, strike plea bargains, do nothing) isn't clear. But he's expected to do whatever it is he intends to do "within days."

Another tale zipping around email boxes was that Karl Rove had received a "target letter" a standard precursor to an indictment, but one I thought you got more than like a day in advance of the big day.

Here's what Reuters came up with, it seems trying to nail down that part of the story ...

As a first step, prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was expected to notify officials by letter if they have become targets, said the lawyers, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.


The inquiry has ensnared President George W. Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove, and Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby. The White House had long maintained that Rove and Libby had nothing to do with the leak but reporters have since named them as sources.

Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, declined to say whether his client had been contacted by Fitzgerald. In the past, Luskin has said that Rove was assured that he was not a target.

Libby's lawyer was not immediately available to comment.

As a friend of mine said today, sagely: we'll know soon enough.

Late Update: The fact that the president has decided to schedule a "major speech" on Iraq and terrorism, apropos of more or less nothing, would seem to suggest some bad coming down the pike. On the other hand, he seems to schedule these speeches about twice a month nowadays.

It's seems that we're divided into two camps when it comes to the news on Avian Flu coming out of Southeast Asia: those who are worried silly about it and those who just haven't heard the news yet. Perhaps worried silly is an overstatement; but it's scary stuff. And along those lines here's a post which suggests (much too persuasively for comfort) that the guy in charge of flu pandemic response at HHS may be another Michael Brown in the making. Perhaps we can send this guy packing before he does a heckuva job on all us.

More from the AP ...

The Bush administration's former chief procurement official was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury on charges of making false statements and obstructing investigations into high-powered Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

The five felony counts in the indictment charge David H. Safavian with obstructing Senate and executive branch investigations into whether he aided Abramoff in efforts to acquire property controlled by the General Services Administration around the nation's capital. Both probes looked into an August 2002 golf outing that Safavian took to Scotland with Abramoff, former Christian Coalition executive Ralph Reed, Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, and others.

More soon<$NoAd$>.

From the AP ...

Tom DeLay deliberately raised more money than he needed to throw parties at the 2000 presidential convention, then diverted some of the excess to longtime ally Roy Blunt through a series of donations that benefited both men's causes.

When the financial carousel stopped, DeLay's private charity, the consulting firm that employed DeLay's wife and the Missouri campaign of Blunt's son all ended up with money, according to campaign documents reviewed by The Associated Press.

Jack Abramoff, a Washington lobbyist recently charged in an ongoing federal corruption and fraud investigation, and Jim Ellis, the DeLay fundraiser indicted with his boss last week in Texas, also came into the picture.

Round and round it goes, where it stops <$NoAd$> ...

Al Gore gave a speech this morning on the decline of the media, public discourse in America, and the threat both hold for the future of American democracy. See the transcript here.

From reader emails, it seems there were more than a few who took my comments yesterday about Miers to mean that I think that Dems should support her. I'm not sure how that meaning got across. But if it did, mark it down as my not being clear enough when I was thinking out loud.

My point was to note the real possibility that Miers could be knocked out only to be replaced by a genuine extremist who would likely be voted through without much difficulty by Senate Republicans.

Extremist versus hacklicious toady, sort of sums up the choices that may be on offer.

Along those lines, Sen. Lott now puts himself down as leaning against.