A few important, unanswered questions: Has former Rove deputy Ken Mehlman discussed the Plame matter with any White House officials, specifically Karl Rove, in the past three weeks? What was the specific nature of those conversations — who was involved, how long did they last, what was discussed?
The answers to these questions are important. If the answer to the first is yes, (a) the White House claim to be “not commenting” on the grand jury investigation falls apart, since administration officials are merely pushing their talking points out to Ken Mehlman; and (b) Mehlman immediately loses serious credibility, since he has suggested that he has not coordinated his message on the Plame investigation with the White House.
Now, a few journalists have tried to get answers to these questions. McClellan has been asked three times — the first time, on 7/12/05, he referred the question to Mehlman. Two days later, he refused to answer, saying he would be “happy to talk about it once it’s over, but until that time, we’ll let the investigation continue.” And today, he told reporters, “I think I’ve addressed these issues.”
Mehlman was just as elusive the one time he was asked, during a 7/12/05 appearance on CNN:
MEHLMAN: I’m not going to speak for the White House. I’m the RNC chairman, not the White House spokesman.
BLITZER: But you worked closely with the White House. I assume you’ve been in contact with them over the past few days since this Karl Rove story erupted?
MEHLMAN: As I said, we’ve been in contact, Wolf. What we’ve been talking about is how do we move CAFTA, how do we move the energy deal?
BLITZER: You don’t talk about the Karl Rove story with officials of the White House?
MEHLMAN: We’re focused on these other questions. I — working as RNC chairman, I work with them to try to develop strategy to accomplish these things on the Hill. That’s what I’ve been focused on talking with them about today.
BLITZER: Have you had any conversations with the White House about Karl Rove?
MEHLMAN: My conversations today have been focused on CAFTA, on judges. What you saw this morning, this unprecedented effort by the White House to meet with the more than — and discuss with more than 50 percent of the Democrats and more than half the Republicans who they should name to replace O’Connor with. That’s what they’re focused on.
You’ll notice, none of those answers include the word “No.”
So, who is going to nail Mehlman down on this?