The Plame Grenade
July 12, 2005
The scandal over the outing of Valerie Plame has been a hand grenade rolling down the halls of the White House for the last two years.
Now, ever so slowly, the grenade is stopping outside of Karl Rove’s door, and Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is slowly pulling the pin.
Rove will not get away unscathed this time.
When Rove’s attorney acknowledged to Newsweek that Rove had talked about this story with Matt Cooper of Time, even before Robert Novak published his hatchet job, Rove was left with little place to hide.
Even though Rove and his attorney appear to be doing some sort of Clintonesque dance about the naming of Plame--it depends on what the definition of “name” is--Rove finds himself in legal harm’s way.
He’s also in political harm’s way, as is his boss.
This is the scandal that could take down the Bush Administration.
Bush went on record early in the scandal saying that he wanted to get to the bottom of this, which he clearly didn’t, and saying that he would hold whoever did it accountable.
Well, is he going to hold Rove accountable?
Or is he going to cover for Rove?
Bush prizes loyalty and hardball over legality and decency. Why else does he have Rove and Cheney around?
But if Bush makes a wrong move here, he’s in cover-up land.
Already, Bush’s press secretary, Scott McClellan, is hopelessly compromised. Back when the scandal first broke, McClellan vouched for Rove’s innocence and said that “the President knows that Karl Rove wasn’t involved.” McClellan also said, back then, that he personally had talked with Rove, and Rove denied being involved.
When confronted with these past statements at a press conference on July 11, McClellan refused to comment on the grounds that there was an “ongoing investigation” into the matter, even though he spoke previously while the investigation was ongoing.
Here’s an excerpt from an exchange McClellan had with reporters at thatpress conference. For the full transcript, go to: www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/07/20050711-3.html.
Question: Scott, I mean, just—I mean, this is ridiculous. The notion that you’re going to stand before us, after having commented with that level of detail, and tell people watching this that somehow you’ve decided not to talk. You’ve got a public record out there. Do you stand by your remarks from that podium, or not?
McClellan: And again, David, I’m well aware, like you, of what was previously said. And I will be glad to talk about it at the appropriate time. The appropriate time is when the investigation . . .
Question: Why are you choosing when it’s appropriate and when it’s inappropriate?
McClellan: If you’ll let me finish.
Question: No, you’re not finishing. You’re not saying anything. You stood at the podium and said that Karl Rove was not involved. And now we find out that he spoke out about Joseph Wilson’s wife. So don’t you owe the American public a fuller explanation? Was he involved, or was he not? Because contrary to what you told the American people, he did indeed talk about his wife, didn’t he?
McClellan: David, there will be a time to talk about this, but now is not the time to talk about it.
Question: Do you think people will accept that, what you’re saying today?
McClellan: Again, I’ve responded to the question.
It was an embarrassing, Ron Ziegler-like performance.
Watch for McClellan to go.
And if Rove doesn’t follow, Bush may go, too.
Date: July 13, 2005 1:03:55 PM CDTTo: "Editorial" Subject: The Plame Grenade
I watched the White House press conference today and it was all about Rove for the first half and then a bunch of "plants" took over and asked terrorist questions, etc.
Gosh, I hope this IS Watergate 2. I guess it's up to the press, but so far most of them have been willing shills for this administration. I can't wait for Helen Thomas and her next question (if they ever let her have one). I am glad The Progressive is up and running...