– White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, according to the Washington Post
Rove will not be indicted but remain under investigation, according to the New York Times. As a result, “Patrick J. Fitzgerald, was likely to extend the term of the federal grand jury beyond its scheduled expiration on Friday.”
UPDATE: Washington Post has conflicting info, says the grand jury is not likely to be extended.
Vice President Cheney’s claim in Tuesday’s New York Times that he learned of Valerie Plame’s status from former CIA Director George Tenet, draws our attention back to an odd confluence of events in the first week of June 2004.
Within the span of four days in June, Tenet met with President Bush to submit his resignation, the White House announced that President Bush had consulted an outside attorney to represent him in the Fitzgerald investigation, and it was reported that Vice President Cheney had been interviewed by Fitzgerald. In that order.
June 2, 2004: Bush speaks at Air Force Academy; Tenet meets him upon arrival at White House to tell him that he was going to resign.
June 2, 2004: McClellan tells press the night of June 2 that Bush hired an attorney.
June 3, 2004: In press gaggle, McClellan notes that Tenet called Card the afternoon of the 2nd to ask for meeting with Bush. Tenet and Bush meet for 45 minutes.
June 5, 2004: New York Times reports that Cheney was interviewed by Fitzgerald.
Press coverage of Tenet’s resignation noted that the timing seemed odd. Senator Dianne Feinstein, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, commented “I can’t remember any resignation that has struck me as more startling than this one,” she said. “I suspect there is going to be more of a story to tell than just personal reasons.”
What could account for this confluence of events? Had Tenet found himself in the uncomfortable position of having to tell Fitzgerald some damaging information about the Vice President and thought he needed to leave the Administration because of it? Did Tenet deliver some bad news to Bush the evening he met with him that would prompt the White House to feel the need to announce that the President had sought outside legal counsel? It’s speculation, but there is no denying that the timing is curious.
– Jennifer Palmieri
Earlier this week, Republican pollster Frank Luntz said, “If [Fitzgerald] indicts, they [the White House] will have no choice but to attempt to demonize him. I think that is going to be really, really tough.”
Fox News’s Sean Hannity took up Luntz’s challenge last night. He said, “[W]ho is Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor? …[H]e’s made some surprising statements. We’re going to tell you what we’ve uncovered tonight.”
First, Hannity went on to discuss only one Fitzgerald statement, which was about Martha Stewart prosecutor James Comey. Here’s the quote:
“I think what drives [Comey] is a commitment to justice and wanting to do the right thing in a right way. The people who get involved in the system, witnesses, jurors, judges, defense lawyers and even defendants, come away with a respect for what he does and how he does it.” [Today Show, 6/30/03]
Hardly damning, but let’s look at what else Hannity “uncovered.” He said last night, “The Chicago Tribune quoted one of [Fitgerald's] former colleagues in the U.S. attorney’s office in New York as saying ‘[P]robably Fitzgerald’s greatest talent was finding creative ways to interpret the law.’”
But that’s not a direct quote, it’s the reporter’s characterization. Here’s what Fitzgerald’s colleague actually said:
“When you’d looked at a case from every angle and you were sure you didn’t have what was needed to take it forward, you could show it to Pat and he’d say, ‘Have you thought about charging this?’” [Chicago Tribune, 2/27/05]
Our tribute to the Harriet Miers nomination, now with a surprise ending:
This morning in the White House gaggle, Scott McClellan tried to assert that Miers’ resignation did not come as a result of right-wing pressure, but rather was based on an “irresolvable impasse” with the Senate over providing certain confidential documents (an argument which, you will recall, didn’t stop the White House from pushing for John Roberts’ nomination).
Here’s what McClellan said when asked about the right-wing pressure:
Q Is he also deeply disappointed in the way some of his own allies have treated her and him?
McCLELLAN: We’ve always been focused on the Senate, not on the outside commentary or outside groups.
Oh really? It was the Senate pressure that caused Bush to accept Miers’ resignation? If that argument is true, then why didn’t he accept this offer of resignation:
RUMSFELD: I mean, the fact is, Larry, I submitted my resignation to President Bush twice during that period [Abu Ghraib] and told him that I felt that he ought to make the decision as to whether or not I stayed on. And he made that decision and said he did want me to stay on.
None of the Senate’s 55 Republican senators have openly opposed Miers.
Why did Bush accept Miers’ resignation but not Rumsfeld’s?
Harriet Miers’ nomination fell victim to a right-wing double standard.
In his confirmation hearing, John Roberts affirmed the right to privacy, agreed with the conclusion of Griswold, and told the Judiciary Committee that he considered Roe v. Wade “settled as a precedent.”
There is much in Harriet Miers’ record to suggest she fell to the right of Roberts’ on the question of abortion rights. She does not consider Griswold settled law and had a record of supporting anti-choice causes.
Harriet Miers’ nomination has always been controversial, but it was not until comments from a 1993 speech surfaced where she said she believed in “self-determination” that Miers was presumably forced to withdraw.
It is clear that, absent an unambiguous pledge to overturn Roe, the right holds women nominees to a different standard. They do it because they fear a woman justice will feel empathy towards other women making the agonizing choice of whether to have an abortion. They fear that a woman justice would not be willing to use criminal sanctions to regulate other women’s decisions.
No nominee should be subject to a litmus test, especially one that discriminates based on gender.
“Conservative allies suggest that Bush allowed himself to get boxed into picking a woman. His first choices were not available.” More from Hotline.
“The White House revenge-team is out to get Brent Scowcroft for the revelations he provided in this week’s New Yorker. Apparently, a roster of talking points was issued in an email to Cheney fellow travelers.” — Steve Clemons