Wednesday, April 23, 2008
-- but mostly the latter. It transpired this morning that:
In a bombshell disclosure before testimony began Wednesday morning in the Antoin "Tony" Rezko trial, a federal prosecutor said a former Rezko confidant was prepared to say that another friend of Rezko was trying to pull strings with White House political director Karl Rove to fire U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald and kill his investigation into Rezko.Mr. Fitzgerald, as you no doubt recall, was at the same time pursuing a grand jury investigation into Mr. Rove's role in the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame. The story continues:
Rove, a former deputy chief of staff to President Bush who is now a private consultant in Washington, said through his attorney that he didn't recall any such conversations and denied he ever sought Fitzgerald's firing.We are pleased to inform you that Mr. Rove's memory, or that of his mouthpiece, has since received a salubrious jog. As of 3:44 EDT, TPM correspondent Paul Kiel was reporting that:
"Karl has known Kjellander for many years but does not recall him or anyone else arguing for Fitzgerald's removal," Robert Luskin, Rove's attorney, said Wednesday.
"And [Rove] is very certain that he didn't take any steps to do that, or have any conversations with anyone in the White House—or in the Justice Department—about doing anything like that." Kjellander issued a statement, saying, "I never have discussed with Karl Rove or any other person on the White House staff the proposition that U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald should or could be removed from his office."
I spoke to Luskin just now, and he said that his statement ought to be qualified a bit: his statement on Kgellander stands as is, he said, but during the independent counsel investigation, he said, Rove was "frequently" approached about canning Fitzgerald: "a number of people approached Karl and suggested that Fitzgerald be removed because of the alleged politicization of the investigation, but he never took any follow-up steps except to say that I can't talk about that. He didn't want to do anything seen as compromising Fitzgerald's independence." Those approaches, Luskin said, came during fundraisers or other political events "in an unsolicited way.... Karl simply never responded and did not take any action."The selfless paragon Mr. Rove, as you know, was called before the grand jury on five separate occasions to revise and clarify his testimony in the Plame case. We will keep you posted on further "qualifications" as they occur.