Bush hires a moutpiece for the Plame grand jury

It appears the President is going to be asked some questions, and he is seeking professional advice about what answers to give.

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!

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com