July 2, 2005
Down, Rover, down
So increasingly it looks like Rove may be to blame for Plame:
Lawrence O’Donnell, senior MSNBC political analyst, now claims that at least two authoritative sources have confirmed that one name is top White House mastermind Karl Rove.
This afternoon, Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff confirmed that Cooper did indeed talk to Rove for his story, but Rove’s lawyer denied he was the key leaker in the case.
And from Newsweek:
The e-mails surrendered by Time Inc., which are largely between Cooper and his editors, show that one of Cooper's sources was White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, according to two lawyers who asked not to be identified because they are representing witnesses sympathetic to the White House.
… [A]ccording to [Robert] Luskin, Rove’s lawyer, Rove spoke to Cooper three or four days before Novak’s column appeared. Luskin told NEWSWEEK that Rove “never knowingly disclosed classified information” and that “he did not tell any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA.” Luskin declined, however, to discuss any other details. He did say that Rove himself had testified before the grand jury “two or three times” and signed a waiver authorizing reporters to testify about their conversations with him. “He has answered every question that has been put to him about his conversations with Cooper and anybody else,” Luskin said. But one of the two lawyers representing a witness sympathetic to the White House told NEWSWEEK that there was growing “concern” in the White House that [special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald] is interested in Rove.
In fact, Rove has been in the frame for well over a year. CNN reported back in March 2004 that the grand jury had subpoenaed a wide range of White House documents, including records of telephone calls from Air Force One and information relating to an internal working group dealing with Iraq:
Many of the documents … relate to the White House Iraq Group, a little-known task force. Newsweek reported that the group was created in August 2002.
The Newsweek report cites an earlier Washington Post article that lists senior political adviser Karl Rove, Bush advisers Karen Hughes and Mary Matalin, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and Vice President Dick Cheney among the group’s members.
If it was Rove, the key question now is whether he perjured himself before the grand jury. The special prosecutor may be thinking along the same lines. Fitzgerald has already said in court that he knows the identity of Judith Miller’s and Matthew Cooper’s White House source. So the only reason to keep up the pressure on Miller and Cooper is to get the two witnesses needed for a perjury conviction.
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