Saturday, October 08, 2005

Did Rove lie to Bush?

The answer to that question would seem to be a resounding Yes.

Murray Waas has the story at National Journal:

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, according to legal sources with firsthand knowledge of the accounts that both Rove and Bush independently provided to federal prosecutors.

During the same conversation in the White House two years ago-occurring just days after the Justice Department launched a criminal probe into the unmasking of Plame as a covert agency operative-Rove also assured the president that he had not leaked any information to the media in an effort to discredit Plame's husband, former ambassador Joe Wilson. Rove also 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.

But some 22 months later, Cooper's testimony to the federal grand jury investigating the Plame leak has directly contradicted Rove's assertions to the president. Cooper has testified that Rove was the person who first told him that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA, although Rove did not name her. Cooper has also testified that Rove told him that Plame helped arrange for Wilson to make a fact-finding trip for the CIA to the African nation of Niger to investigate allegations that then-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was trying to buy uranium with which to build a nuclear bomb.

Oops.

There's more — make sure to read the whole thing: it's quite long, but it's one of the best pieces that's been published on The Plame Game (a.k.a., Rovegate) — but this is what it comes down to:

Sources close to the Fitzgerald investigation say that Rove's personal assurances to the president and his initial interview with the FBI are central to whether the grand jury might charge Rove with making false statements to investigators or with obstruction of justice.

When Bush took office in 2001, he claimed that he would restore integrity to the White House. Yet it was Rove who was the brains behind both of his presidential campaigns and who is now his deputy chief of staff. I suspect that this will ultimately lead to Rove's resignation, most likely at a time that somehow benefits his boss, but, regardless, Rove's conduct, if true, further taints a White House that can ill afford any more bad news.

Stay tuned.

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