No, thinking about hiring a lawyer isn’t the same as admitting guilt, or even intending to obstruct the investigation, and I wish the DNC spokesgeek hadn’t tried to pretend otherwise.
But it does seems as if the special prosecutor thinks that Mr. Bush might be able to aid him in his inquiries, and that the White House Counsel doesn’t think it appropriate to advise the President on what to say. That’s unlikely to be good news for Mr. Bush. At minimum, it suggests that someone close to him is under suspicion.
(I’m not persuaded by the spin that every time Fitzgerald takes a bold investigative step — subpoenaing reportes, seeking to question the President — it’s merely his ritual due diligence before dismissing the grand jury without any indictments. That might be right, but it doesn’t seem to me like the least hypothesis.)
Another worrisome development for the President: if his consultation with his new lawyer leaked so promptly to the press, Mr. Bush needs either a new assistant or a new lawyer. My betting would be on the latter: the obscure counsellor the President consulted seems to have taken the opportunty to become somewhat less obscure.
Bad lawyer! Bad lawyer! No retainer!