10/08/2005

Daily Kos: Rove's First Story, and Second Story, and Third Story to the Prosecutor

Cooper's testimony clearly damages the stories Rove has been telling all along [Who, Me blab ? Never!] Now we see why the Supremes had to knock some sense into him to testify... -- law

Rove's First Story, and Second Story, and Third Story to the Prosecutor
by emptywheel

I have speculated that Karl Rove pulled his stunt of laying under the wheels of Air Force One last fall to tease the President about his having just given perjurious testimony to avoid his implication in the Plame Affair. Well, now Murray Waas has done his Magnum Opus on the Plame Affair and we may be able to speculate precisely what Rove did for the President last fall. Waas informs us:

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove personally assured President Bush in the early fall of 2003 that he had not disclosed to anyone in the press that Valerie Plame, the wife of an administration critic, was a CIA employee... Rove also assured the president that he had not leaked any information to the media.. [and] did not tell the president about his July 2003 a phone call with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper, a conversation that touched on the issue of Wilson and Plame.

I'm guessing that when Karl Rove testified last fall, he assured them that George Bush didn't know anything about this leak, that Bush had been told not to worry about it. If Rove told the prosecutors this story, then he gave Bush plausible deniability that would protect him from implication in any conspiracy charges. It also gives Scottie plausible deniability for the assurances he gave the Press about Rove (don't know about Libby, though).

There's enough in the Waas article to suggest Rove is lying through his teeth... As I suspected, it was an email Rove hadn't been able to cover up that gave him away.

Sources close to the leak investigation being run by Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald say it was the discovery of one of Rove's White House e-mails-in which the senior Bush adviser referred to his July 2003 conversation with Cooper-that prompted Rove to contact prosecutors and to revise his account to include the Cooper conversation.
Shortly after speaking to Cooper on July 11, Rove sent an e-mail to then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley documenting the conversation. At the time, Hadley was also playing a central role in the damage-control effort.
"Matt Cooper called to give me a heads-up that he's got a welfare reform story coming," Rove wrote in the e-mail to Hadley, sent shortly before noon on July 11.
The e-mail continued: "When he finished his heads-up, he immediately launched into his Niger/ isn't this damaging?/ Hasn't the President been hurt? I didn't take the bait, but said, if I were him I wouldn't get that far out in front of this."


Curiously, Waas doesn't tell us who discovered the email. Did Fitzgerald discover it and question Rove, at which point, Rove said, "golly, I forgot?" Or did Fitz not mention he had found the email but Rove (or Abu Gonzales) found it after the fact and realized Rove needed to change his story. A pretty big part of the story, IMO.

Waas' story dances around a suggestion I'll make directly. After Cooper testified, critical aspects of Rove's story came under question. Which brings his overall story under question too--including this statement that gives George Bush plausible deniability...

..there are some answers that I'm going to ramble through randomly. Waas' article specifies that Rove never told Scottie about his conversation with Cooper. I don't know whether I believe it or not. But it suggests there's no way Scottie is cooperating with the prosecutor...

Waas' story also elucidates the weak points of Rove's story. Obviously, there's his forgetfulness. Including his presumingly ongoing forgetfulness about which journalist told him of Plame's identity. In addition, there are details that, if Fitz can disprove them, will really undermine his larger story.
There's a detail we knew--that Libby and Rove denied knowing of Plame's covert status, even while they were shopping the story about her purported role in sending Wilson to Africa.

Rove says he and Novak had were discussing "an unrelated topic" before they briefly turned to Plame. As we know, Cooper has refuted Rove's claim that they initially talked about welfare reform. And I suspect Judy may have to refute Libby's claim that they intially talked about WMDs

..If witnesses start challenging Rove's and Libby's claim that Plame only came up in the course of other conversations (although Pincus' story supports this version), then Fitz may have reason to question Rove's claim he and Novak spent most of their conversation talking about something else (I assume, since he has phone records, Fitz knows precisely how long they spoke).

This is particularly important because Rove is pointing to the brevity of their conversation about Plame as the [excuse for his "forgetfullness"]...

Cooper's testimony clearly damages the stories Rove has been telling all along.


Daily Kos: Rove's First Story, and Second Story, and Third Story to the Prosecutor

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