OK, I give up

Four questions for those hugging themselves in anticipation of a Rove indictment based on Jason Leopold’s reporting.

Look, I’ve been hoping for a Karl Rove indictment since the summer of 2003. I have two bets out that he will in fact be indicted. No one would be happier than I if an indictment had been handed up.

But I can’t figure out plausible answers to any of four questions:

1. Who would have told Jason Leopold, but no reporter with a mass outlet, that Rove had been indicted?

2. If the rumors are flying around the White House, why does Leopold have a monopoly on hearing about them?

3. If Rove has been told that he has been indicted, why doesn’t he quit to spare Bush the embarrassment of having current, rather than a former, Assistant to the President mugged and booked? Even Clueless Claude Allen could figure out that much.

4. If Rove told Bolten that Rove has been indicted, why didn’t Bolten reply, “The President accepts your resignation to spend more time with your family with great regret and great admiration for your loyal service”?

So I’m not putting any champagne in the cooler right now.

Update Jason Leopold threatens to out his sources on the supposed Rove indictment if the story turns out to be false. He also says the story is “bulletproof.” Well, that puts it all on the line, though Leopold is now waffling on whether the announcement of the indictment will be this week. We’ll know soon enough.

Second update Rove’s flack tells the NY Sun Leopold is full of it. OK, that’s what I’d expect Rove’s guy to say, regardless of the truth of the matter.

But he adds a key detail: he claims that on Friday, when Leopold reports that Fitzgerald was in a marathon negotiating session with Rove’s lawyers, Fitzgerald was in fact in Chicago.

Of course Fitzgerald won’t comment on whether Rove has been indicted, or about anything else of substance. But nothing keeps him from answering the simple question, “Were you in Washington on Friday?” Some enterprising reporter will doubtless ask that question of Fitzgerald (or Fitzgerald’s spokesman) tomorrow morning.

Here are the possibilities as I see them:

1. Leopold is making things up, gambling that Rove will in fact be indicted and that Leopold will then look as if he scored a major newsbeat.

2. Leopold is fooling himself about what his sources told him.

3. He’s reporting his sources’ remarks accurately, and they’re playing him for a sucker. Perhaps his sources (“more than two,” he says), which by his account include people close to the White House, were hoping that the MSM would leap on the story and look silly when it was discredited. (Five will get you ten that’s what happened to Dan Rather, and that Rove was involved.) If and when Leopold carries out his threat to unmask them, they’ll just look around innocently and say “Jason Leopold? Who’s that?”

4. It’s all true, and Fitzmas comes in May.

As the croupier says, Mesdames et messieurs, faƮtes vos jeux. But, as my father used to say, keep carfare home.

Third update Jeralyn Merritt of TalkLeft reports on a long conversation with Leopold. She’s convinced he’s sincere, but thinks it wildly unlikely that Fitzgerald talked about a sealed indictment, as opposed to threatening an indictment in the course of plea negotiations.

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

15 thoughts on “OK, I give up”

  1. That seems to be only two questions, and not four.
    The second, why not resign if you're about to be indicted, seems pretty easy: that just isn't the way this bunch does things. Libby didn't do it, although he had to know he was likely to be indicted. DeLay didn't do it, and nobody tried to force him. Nobody in the House leadership is doing anything about Ney, who is obviously going to be indicted, and very probably before the election. But the GOP establishment in DC still didn't put up a candidate against him. One of the key officials in Bush's 2004 campaign was indicted over the 2002 NH phone jamming, but he was left in place until the indictment was made, although the RNC had to know that he was a target of the investigation.
    As for the first, maybe Leopold has some very good sources. Or maybe other reporters have this story but don't have it solid enough to go with. Leopold has more to gain from a scoop, and less to lose if he turns out to be wrong, than the big boys.
    The fact that Fitzgerald is still putting witnesses before the Grand Jury instead of just concentrating on Libby is a strong indication that he plans to seek more indictments.

  2. I had a chance encounter with Joe Wilson yesterday evening and he was gracious enough to talk with me for about 15 minutes. Based on several things he told me, I am inclined to think that Leopold may well have the guts of the story correct, and what may be going on is Rove trying to negotiate within the WH, and/or the possiblity olf analyzing how bad a poloitical hit they take if the president cuts off Fitz by preemptively issuing pardons before it goes beyond Rove, because right now the others in the upwardly tending foodchain clearly include Addington, Hadley and Cheney.

  3. If Rove and Luskin want to plea bargain a relatively light wrist slap, resignation before the fact doesn't help them or Bush.

  4. > 1. Who would have told Jason Leopold, but no
    > reporter with a mass outlet, that Rove had been
    > indicted?
    Mainstream media outlets have been complicit with the Bush administration over the last three years. Much of what was relevant to the American people went unreported. For example, this story is way over two years old, but you'd think it happened 6 months ago. Truthout were on this story from the get-go and consistently reported everything and anything relevant to the American people regarding the war, lies, corruption and profiteering. Whoever gave them the scoop, obviously trusts that they have no little secret deals and vested interest in the administration.
    > 2. If the rumors are flying around the White
    > House, why does Leopold have a monopoly on
    > hearing about them?
    Because he's one of the very few in the media who remained true.
    > 3. If Rove has been told that he has been
    > indicted, why doesn't he quit to spare Bush the
    > embarrassment…
    His duties were drastically cut down a couple of weeks ago, where he lost a lot of power and significant areas of responsibility.

  5. I don't think Rove has been told for certain that he will be indicted, because I don't think Fitzgerald will tell him until an hour or so before he files the indictment under seal. I can think of no reason why Fitzgerald would show Rove any courtesy or allow him time to make some graceful exit. I also do not think that Fitzgerald will be willing to negotiate any wrist-slap. If he thinks he has Rove on perjury and/or obstruction, he'll go after him on that and not plea-bargain it.
    I think Rove has come to believe (probably correctly) that he will be indicted, but since it hasn't happened yet, he will hang in there and not resign until it's a done deal. If Rove did, indeed, tell Bolten or others that he "will be indicted," I'm betting his statement is just a very educated guess and not based on notification.
    Save the president embarassment? Hardly. As Jonathan Turley noted in his article and on Keith Olbermann, this is an administration that seems attracted to people who either break the law or are willing to break the law to advance their agenda.

  6. My personal theory is that Leopold is relying on a source the MSM don't consider to be credible. Doubtlessly people from cnn, wapo, nyt, etc. have investigated this; the only reason I can see not to go with it is they couldn't get a credible source to confirm it.

  7. I, too, have been fascinated by the single source issue here. But I just cannot believe that Leopold would publish this without being 100% certain.

  8. How about another question?
    How is it some of us have nothing better to do on a Saturday night into Sunday morning than scan the internet for breaking stories & blog discussions concerning this guy's indictment?
    We really should know better by now. My take:
    With this administration, the real story will surely be choked by misinformation & misdirection but not successfuly smothered (incompetence does have an upside).
    Truth will eventually find the light – soon accompanied by Bushco accusations of aiding the enemy & further apologist spinning. When the truth is analyzed & sinks in it will shock (once again) even those of us who suspected "the worse" all along. IT's worser no doubt.
    Until then – regarding this story – may as well "foget-bout-it" & have a nice Mother's Day

  9. Regarding the indictment itself or lack thereof – we'll know this week whether Jason was on the ball or out to lunch. In the meantime, I'm going to assess whether my anxious "need to know" is truly helpful in any way to me personally or my political convictions.
    I'm just wondering what happens if Bush pre-empts Fitz from reaching the VP or perhaps further into the White House by pardoning everyone or firing Fitz. What happens if he doesn't – does Fitz go where ever the case leads?

  10. With regards to the first question:
    It's getting more dangerous to leak from the White House. If you want to leak, you're probably safer leaking to someone relatively unknown, working in a medium that isn't mainstream.
    The other questions ask "what would rational people do?" These people aren't rational. They don't think like us or act like us.
    I'm not putting any champagne in the cooler either, but that's because we always have some ready to hand!

  11. "if the president cuts off Fitz by preemptively issuing pardons before it goes beyond Rove,"…..
    if Bush does that, he will have effectivley said "America is now a dictatorship" and everything will rapidly start changing into a "police state." I don't think he will pardon just yet, only once he gets caught in the crosshairs.

  12. Rove and everyone else in this administration are fighting to the death… it's as simple as that.
    Fitzgerald pulled out of negotiations. how can we get him back?

  13. This whole scenario is an indictment not only of Rove and The White House but also of the MSM media and the American Public who complacently sit and watch their country go down the drain. goddammit!

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