Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Things Heat Up for Karl Rove (who fans the flames trying to keep it cool)

Caption from Austin American-Statesman:
Bush adviser Karl Rove, at a ceremony for the Indian prime minister Monday, was a source for a Time magazine story about a CIA operative.

Mikaela says:
Today's White House Briefing by Dan Froomkin of the Washington Post does a brilliant job parsing out the Bush Administration response to this snowballing story:

Look Over There!

The stonewall's not working so well. Neither is the legalistic parsing. The furor over who leaked a CIA operative's name shows no sign of abating.

Two options present themselves to the White House: Go public with all the facts -- or try to change the subject.

Signs are pointing toward the latter.

Today's news includes:
· A new poll showing that the public is increasingly skeptical that the White House is cooperating with the federal investigation into who leaked Valerie Plame's identity, and wants Karl Rove fired if it turns out to be him.

· A shifting stance by President Bush over what he considers a firing offense -- one that clashes with his vow to bring back high ethical standards to the White House.

· A new report that the classified State Department memo that may have played a role in the leak made clear that information identifying Plame was sensitive and shouldn't be shared.

· Word that President Bush is expediting his announcement of a Supreme Court nominee to deflect attention from the leak story.

It's worthwhile to read the transcript from yesterday's press briefing with the ever elusive Scott McLellan. The best exchange comes from a question by Helen Thomas after repeated efforts on Scottie's part to say that the administration doesn't have all the facts:

Q: "What is his [Bush's] problem? Two years, and he can't call Rove in and find out what the hell is going on? I mean, why is it so difficult to find out the facts? It costs thousands, millions of dollars, two years, it tied up how many lawyers? All he's got to do is call him in."

MR. McCLELLAN: You just heard from the President. He said he doesn't know all the facts. I don't know all the facts.

Q Why?

MR. McCLELLAN: We want to know what the facts are. Because --

Q Why doesn't he ask him?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'll tell you why, because there's an investigation that is continuing at this point, and the appropriate people to handle these issues are the ones who are overseeing that investigation. There is a special prosecutor that has been appointed. And it's important that we let all the facts come out. And then at that point, we'll be glad to talk about it, but we shouldn't be getting into --

Q You talked about it to reporters.

MR. McCLELLAN: We shouldn't be getting into prejudging the outcome.

And then, shockingly, Scott calls on someone else. You go, girl!