Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) speaks out on his call to expand the Fitzgerald investigation to look at a possible White House conspiracy to deceive Congress.

Good Counsel?

A reader points out this little graf down near the bottom of a Reuters article on Rove and his possibly-imminent indictment.

In advance of any possible indictment against Rove, his legal team consulted with former Justice Department spokesman Mark Corallo on legal and public relations strategy, a source close to the matter said.

Carollo was named Director of Public Affairs at the Justice Department on September 23rd, 2003, just a few days before the CIA made its initial referral to the Justice Department for an investigation into the disclosure of Valerie Plame's identity.

I assume that that timing is merely a coincidence. Carollo had previously been Principal Deputy Director of Public Affairs since March 2002. But this does mean that Carollo was the top communications person at Justice and one of John Ashcroft's close aides during the entire time Ashcroft was supervising the investigation. And he remained so until about a year ago -- in other words, through most of the life of the Fitzgerald investigation. Now he's working for Rove, the target of the investigation.

Murray Waas in National Journal: "Vice President Cheney and his chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, overruling advice from some White House political staffers and lawyers, decided to withhold crucial documents from the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2004 when the panel was investigating the use of pre-war intelligence that erroneously concluded Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, according to Bush administration and congressional sources."

We'll have more on this shortly. But there's more to be said about why this is coming out now, especially since the chairman of the committee, Sen. Roberts (R-KS) was doing his best already to cover for the vice-president.

Okay, no Fitzgerald indictments today. But maybe a few Coingate indictments as a tide-me-over?

Unite the Base Because I've Gotta Have Someone on My Side When I Can Pat Fitzgerald's Ass Watch (UBBIGHSMSWICPFAW) ...

Proposed title for new SCOTUS nomination waiting game.

Boy, this one's delicious on like twenty different levels.

There's a great line from Peter Novick's book That Noble Dream in which he quotes Gene Genovese explaining how he got kicked out of the Communist Party for 'having zigged when I was supposed to zag'.

The quote is from memory. So I may not have it precisely right; but that's the gist. And I am often reminded of it when I see examples of party-liners cut off at the knees churning out the claptrap of the day while the party leaders are themselves about to shift course entirely.

And see here this clip from today's Washington Times, sent on to me by reader JI, apparently picked up by The Corner ...

Conservative activist Michael D. Brown said internal GOP polling being cited by party and administration emissaries purports to show that "70 percent of self-identified conservative voters have a favorable impression of Harriet Miers."

The emissaries are warning that ordinary Republicans beyond the Washington Beltway continue to support the nomination because they trust President Bush, even after several weeks of conservative opposition to her, according to several conservative Miers critics who have been courted by the White House.

The administration is "disappointed that conservatives inside the Beltway are fighting among ourselves over this nomination, and it fuels the fires for our enemies, for Democrats," said Mr. Brown, the former Federal Emergency Management Agency director.

So in just sixty days Brown goes from FEMA Director to disgraced crony to "conservative activist". Who says there are no second acts?

Berlusconi government lying, but how much?

As the AP reports, the Italian government is "categorically" denying any complicity in the Niger fraud. The Italians, says the AP, deny any "direct or indirect involvement in the packaging and delivery of the 'false dossier on Niger's uranium'."

I strongly suspect that this is a complete lie.

But it is certainly what we might call a de facto lie, an intentional deception which may be technically accurate because of the specific and misleading phrasing employed.

Allow me to explain.

It is more or less an open secret, at least known fairly widely within the US government, that the Niger uranium ball was started rolling in late 2001 by the Italians. It began when they sent their reports about an illicit uranium traffic between Iraq and Niger to the CIA. Those are the reports that got Cheney's attention and eventually lead to Wilson's dispatch to Niger.

Those reports were partial text transcriptions of what would later be revealed as the Niger forgeries.

Set aside for the moment whether Pollari, Castellaneta and others in Mr. Berlusconi's government connived later to get the documents themselves into the hands of the White House or publicize them by leaking them to a Berlusconi-owned magazine. The denial above is only true if we make a distinction between facsimiles (i.e., photocopies) of the documents and text transcriptions of the phony documents. One way or another, what some of web folks lightheartedly call the 'yellowcake road' leads right to Rome. And the Berlusconi government is refusing to come clean.

A little comic relief?

James Dobson ...

I believe the president has made a wise decision in accepting Harriet Miers' withdrawal as a nominee to the Supreme Court.

In recent days I have grown increasingly concerned about her conservative credentials, and I was dismayed to learn this week about her speech in 1993, in which she sounded pro-abortion themes, and expressed so much praise for left-wing feminist leaders.

When the president announced this nominee, I expressed my tentative support, based on what I was able to discover about her. But I also said I would await the hearings to learn more about her judicial philosophy. Based on what we now know about Miss Miers, it appears that we would not have been able to support her candidacy. Thankfully, that difficult evaluation is no longer necessary."

Ask not for whom the sponge tolls, it tolls for thee SpongeDob ...