Just before bed, I read this curious paragraph in the New York Times about the “Plamegate” investigation:
Three days before the grand jury in the case expires and with the White House in a state of high anxiety, the special counsel, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, appeared still to be trying to determine whether Mr. Rove had been fully forthcoming about his contacts with Matthew Cooper of Time magazine and Robert D. Novak, the syndicated columnist, in July 2003, they said.
I call this paragraph curious because it seems kind of late in the game “still to be trying” to figure out whether a key witness in this case has told investigators all he knew about his contact with reporters.
Granted, unlike Mr. Fitzgerald, I don’t have access to all the facts in this case nor I have heard Mr. Rove’s testimony — or even read a transcript of that testimony. Since Mr. Cooper has been rather forthcoming about his testimony, we know that Rove’s contact with him on the topic was a “brief conversation” during which Rove merely warned Cooper not to “get too far out on Wilson.” To be sure, Rove did not mention this brief conversation in his initial appearance before the grand jury, but when his attorney alerted him to an e-mail he had written confirming the conversation, Rove voluntarily returned to testify.
In a thoughtful analysis of the discovery of that e-mail, the Anonymous Liberal shows how it came to pass that that neither Rove nor his attorneys discovered that e-mail at that outset of the investigation. (Hat tip: JustOneMinute.) Accepting that the White House may not have deliberately withheld this e-mail, this thoughtful liberal concludes:
The question that remains is whether Rove’s failure to mention his conversation with Cooper was the result of a genuine lapse of memory or a purposeful lack of candor. I suspect the latter, but ultimately it’s the opinions of the grand jurors that will matter.
Perhaps, the prosecutor, like this liberal, suspects Rove’s purposeful lack of candor. And that explains what he is still trying to determine at this late date. While I agree with Anonymous’s first sentence, I disagree with his second. As I blogged recently, I suspect Rove’s failure to testify about the conversation was due to a lapse of memory.
Or maybe the Prosecutor has reached a similar conclusion (to my own) and the paragraph in the Times represents wishful thinking on behalf of that paper’s editors and reporters. Or maybe there’s an attorney on the special prosecutor’s staff still trying to find something, anything, to pin on Karl Rove. And Rove’s initial failure to mention his conversation with Cooper is all that attorney has to go on.
The Times‘ curious statement suggests that there is not much to the investigation — at least at it pertains to Karl Rove. But, then again, Fitzgerald may have evidence of which I am not aware and his determination rests on those (as yet) undisclosed facts. With what we do know, it seems whatever case there is against Rove is built upon whether or not Rove has been completely forthcoming about two brief conversations with reporters. And not on attempts to smear an Administration critic.